Saturday, 6 July 2013

Gove: A Wheeze a Minute

Oh he is a card isn’t he? One of the few to stand up for Rupert Murdoch at Leveson. Not really surprising as he did very well out of his former boss. Undoubtedly quick-witted and reported (by some) to be charming, he is a bag of ideas fizzing away in the Dept for Education. Thanks to a succession of stooges in the role there are now more powers for an Education Minister than ever before. Just in time for someone like Gove who relishes getting his little paws on all the levers of power and promoting his latest wheeze. Because he is omniscient you see. 

Only in the last couple of weeks have we heard about the following:
  • Re-drawing the landscape of History - had to be revised again following complaints from numerous eminent critics.
  • GCSE’s revisited and re-named following many twists and turns. At a time when the school leaving age is rising and GCSE - type exams are obsolete.
  • Revolving doors for advisers - if they come up with stuff he likes they may get a mention - if they do not they are persona non grata very quickly.
  • Abolishing the six week summer holiday and allowing schools to set their own dates. This was quickly rubbished by most parents with children at more than one school, never mind teachers with families attending schools in different authorities to where they teach. 
  • Schools to become profit-making businesses.
  • Civil servants at the Dfe have to use a grammar text book to ensure what they write or say is good english.
  • The collapse of a major company in Sweden who ran free schools over there does not seem to have impacted on the omniscient one.

Gove is so omniscient and so wise he has little need to listen to education experts. As Michael Rosen (not a fan) commented:

“It turns out that bevvies of people have been working in an office near you, thinking that they were "national curriculum expert subject advisory groups". On the other hand, one of your spokespeople thinks "these expert groups were not set up to advise on the curriculum".
Of course, if these national curriculum advisers (who are not advising on the curriculum) happened to agree with every word you said, then I'm sure you would conjure them up as wise men in support of your latest harebrained scheme. Instead, they think what's going on is chaotic, that things aren't thought through.
They think what you propose lacks consistency and academic rigour (O unkindest cut of all, adopting your buzz word rigour and directing it back at you).
As they're just highly experienced teachers and academics, I'm sure you can discount their views and push them through the revolving DfE doors asap.” Michael Rosen Guardian 2/7/13

This was followed swiftly by news that Gove wants to make education profitable. Forget service, forget developing the nation’s young, forget opening minds to the wonders around them. He sees them as yet more cash cows to be milked by his chums, the hedge funds, financiers and bankers. 

Academies and free schools should become profit-making businesses using hedge funds and venture capitalists to raise money, according to private plans being drawn up by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove.
Details of discussions on the proposed redesign of academy regulations were leaked to The Independent by Department for Education insiders who are concerned that Mr Gove is going too fast and too far in his ambition to convert all 30,000 schools in England to academies.
They are worried that the new setup will divert cash from classrooms, limit the availability of "expensive" subjects such as music and science and end the public service vocation of teachers. They want to see an end to the secrecy over the proposed reforms, which have not been publicly announced.” Independent 3/7/13

What next. How about selling off all the school playing fields to private developers? Oh. They are already on to that. Forget any ‘Olympic Legacy.’

One thing about Gove, he never lets inconvenient facts or arguments interrupt his policy diarrhea.

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