Here is a link to Dominic Cummings recent paper ‘Some thoughts on education and political priorities’
“A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.”
Bertrand Russell in ‘A History of Western Philosophy’
Oh dear! I may well have translated Dominic Cummings’ unwieldy ‘Some thoughts on education and political priorities’ into something I can understand. His paper, as it turns out, is largely unrelated to developing a high quality education system for all which is a pity because a lot of people, past and present have spent a lot of time thinking about this issue; but when the DfE insists on ignoring practically all of this we are left with plenty of room for pretentious bores to fill the vacuum. I haven’t read all of it. Life’s too short. What follows is not a disciplined analysis of all 237 pages. This is because, unlike Mr Cummings, I am very interested in what it might take to develop a high quality education system for all.
My son’s school recently had to undergo an Ofsted inspection. The school ended up being given a ‘3’ which translates as ‘in need of improvement’ (aren’t we all). Here is the letter I sent to the headteacher. It was photocopied for all teachers in the school and a copy now takes pride of place on the wall of my son’s classroom. I hope that it might inspire other parents to write similar letters of support in the same circumstances.
Here is a diagram that illustrates the links between Michael Gove and his privatisation chums (click on it to enlarge it). Francis Gilbert made this, he is one of the founders of the Local Schools Network.
This diagram is very similar to the picture I had in my own head after reading the following story (not written by Francis Gilbert but on an unrelated website):
There is a recently posted, lengthy, very thorough and highly critical article about Michael Gove here:
Here is my own artistic response to all this:
Gove the imposter
Policy makers “…often know what they do; they frequently know why they do what they do; but what they don’t know is what what they do does.” Michel Foucault
Here is a letter published in the Metro free newspaper on 15th October. It is from a ‘Disgruntled Teacher’ (not me!) Well done Metro for printing it and well done Disgruntled Teacher for sending it. I know just how you feel.
Readers have been blaming teachers for the below-average level of young people’s literacy and numeracy. I would like to point out that teachers are under constant scrutiny and pressure to drive pupil attainment higher. As a primary school teacher, I must ensure my seven and eight-year-olds reach specific attainment levels by the end of the year and I am subject to termly moderations to make sure they are all on track. I am wholly accountable for their progress.
My problem is that this increased pressure on children to perform and make progress means opportunities for exploration and enjoyment of learning are pushed aside as there is ‘no time’. We are creating classrooms of robots who lack self expression and interest. As teachers, we are under such strict time constraints on what must be covered that it is having an adverse affect on education. So they may be able to write a perfectly formed letter at seven but at what cost?
Disgruntled Teacher via email
Here is a link to the ‘education’ section of a website called ‘Films for Action’. There are a lot of films here (95) and there’s even one film made as a direct riposte to the horrid film ‘Waiting for Superman’. It’s an interesting selection of shorts and feature length pieces, most of them made within the last ten years.