After Education, Education, Education comes Gove. Blair’s Education turned out to be about Academies and the start of interfering with State Education as we knew it. Not perfect by any means, but a coherent system, once much prized, where Local Authorities had control and everyone knew where to go to take up issues, such as their local councillors. Parents had representatives on Governing Bodies. Gove had a head start in dismantling the whole edifice handing over all state (our paid for) assets to any crackpot in town.
This week Free Schools have been in the news. Twice I have noticed headlines. Today the Guardian reports a head teacher standing down. She was appointed to a primary school in London with no teaching qualifications and no experience of running a school. Mind you she had great ideas and backers not a million miles from Gove himself. The world incestuous comes to mind.
“Annaliese Briggs was appointed principal of Pimlico primary in central London in March by a charity set up by a government minister. She had no teaching qualifications and little experience in running a school. The new free school is sponsored by the Future Academies charity set up by Lord Nash, a junior schools minister and one of Michael Gove’s closest allies.”
This report comes days after threats to close an Islamic Free School in Derby for reasons which have still to become clear. While Labour is asking questions it is doubtful where the battle lines will be drawn, even under supposedly “red” Ed Miliband. There is no evidence they are about to abandon a free market approach to education, health, prisons et al. Presumably the lobby and revolving door system we have behind an unaccountable (to us) parliament rules the day irrespective of parliamentary party.
While divided countries/territories suffer divided education, Gove and partners move apace to install a chaotic world of madness. Northern Ireland wants to educate its warring factions together. In Israel/Palestine schools can only teach so that conflict is endless leaving those like the late Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim to try to heal the rift.
We meed a coherent national education system of high quality because it is the entitlement of all citizens, not a postcode lottery. While numeracy and literacy skills have been the focus of moral panic and hysteria, measures put in place have been counterproductive. Testing children to destruction and league tables do not amount to education. Young children are demotivated. Where in the world are young children subjected to formal learning before 6 or 7? They learn more effectively through imaginative play. So this is the predictable outcome of political meddling in matters our political masters don’t begin to understand.