Gove’s view of education? Needs to try harder.

Coalition education policy often leaves me shouting at the television. When it is Michael Gove speaking the chances are that swearing will follow.

I work as a lecturer at an FE/HE college and have some idea about the importance of education.

IT’s not that I think Gove is stupid, he’s obviously not.  He is, however, a rabid believer in a system of education that is out of date and doesn’t deliver improvements in universal education.

It reinforces elitism or privilege not based on ability but predominantly based on money.

Diverting resources from the state sector to fund free schools is a disgraceful reallocation of around £800m.

The Libdem’s fantasise about the impact of the pupil premium but need to get a grip of their Tory brothers and stop this return to 50’s style education.

Anything that drives up standards is a good thing.  Good teachers, good schools and good discipline.  so on that front we agree.

However, it is how this is delivered that upsets me.  Deregulating education is no more likely to bring the benefits we expect than deregulation of the financial markets or deregulating the energy markets or even deregulating public transport did.

Mr Gove, Neo-liberal views of markets in education or health do not work.  They are effective for products but abysmal for public goods.  The profit motive has no place in their delivery (Care of the elderly keeps on proving my point).

I always feel that throwing the baby out with the bath water approaches cause as many issues as they solve.  Mr Gove your ‘Radical’ approach to education is reckless.  Education is a long-term strategy with very few worthwhile early gains.  Long not short-term measures needed.

So Good Schools (Labour improved the school building stock massively) are needed invest in these.  (stimulates the economy too. Gove response to axe the program, why not just fix the levels of bureaucracy that were the problem?  Simples)

Good teachers, improve the standard of teachers by attracting the best to the sector. (How?  Make the salary attractive enough to attract the best.  Set a minimum standard of degree to be eligible.)  BTW I think the standards of teaching are mostly very high, but there are no sacred cows, but we can all improve in the right culture.

Good Discipline isn’t like the Rowan Atkinson sketch Fatal Beatings (  There is no need to beat kids up in a coercive environment.  Respect is earned and discipline follows with consistency and a passion to teach.  Solved with a supportive environment and better teachers.  Blame based management structures can massively demoralise staff and it transmits to the students.

Expectations of excellence and success are vital to help young kids develop.  Manage expectations, it works.

A 1950’s style master and beatings doesn’t work, never worked and just perpetuated the problems that we have to deal with today.


Education is the solution to many of our societal problems and we deserve better from those at the helm.  Understanding and a higher vision for all our talents, not just a return to the playing fields of Eton, Fettes et al.

Mr Gove, pause, touch and engage.  Don’t rush, there is time to get it right but first your mindset needs to be right.




Posted on October 28, 2011, in Political matters and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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