Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Michael Gove's war on schools: all schools are second class?

The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has launched a blistering attack on opponents of his drive to transform schools into academies. We have remarked on why schools should not become academies before here.

Today, Gove says of his opponents that "Let's hold their prejudices up to the light. What are they saying? If you're poor, if you're Turkish, if you're Somali, then we don't expect you to succeed. You will always be second class and it's no surprise your schools are second class. I utterly reject that attitude." Gove appears to clearly link study in a non-academy school with a "second class" education.

This is an outrageous attack on the UK's successful education system. School standards are high and there is no glut of schools receiving "outstanding" status: indeed, only 6% of primary schools are found "outstanding". (There will be no direct comparison possible for academies because they will not be subject to Ofsted inspections.)

So let's hold Gove's prejudices up to the light: he appears to claim that all schools in the UK are second class. If you desire a first class education or to exercise your full potential, it's academies or bust. This is untrue and has no basis in fact. This is an astonishing allegation to make without supporting evidence (echoing John Reid's comments about the Home Office being unfit). These comments will do nothing to improve education standards, the education experience or improve morale amongst teachers in schools or academies.

Moreover, it is further remarkable that little attention until recently has been given to ensuring that academies will satisfy any standards as they will all be beyond Ofsted control. This may suggest that Gove is driven by ideological zeal -- in his drive to disrupt collective action by teachers -- and not by evidence nor standards.

Gove's war on schools appears to be in full swing.

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