Why are people so upset with Mr Gove?

(296 Posts)
nlondondad Thu 23-May-13 10:12:56

An invitation to people to give an explanation as we can take it as given that people ARE upset.

Note: Two kinds of possible answers to this question.

1. Why you think other people are upset

2. Why you are upset...

Answers which do not give reasons, will be marked down.

Now to go away for a bit, I wonder what will happen while I am gone?

LondonMother Thu 23-May-13 15:26:51

I'd like to see the whole test, Hamishbear. Were those perhaps the warm up questions? It's a very, very long time since I was 11 but I am about as sure as I can be that I could have got more or less full marks on that test at that age and I went to a bog standard state primary school. My son is now 19 and also went to a community primary school. He could have done it too. I know this because he was doing stuff like that in his independent school entrance exams, which he found very straightforward (no private tuition involved, he had picked it all up at school and the odd extra detail from his dad).

HabbaDabba Thu 23-May-13 15:40:31

noble - so you want Ofsted to leave academies alone?

neolara Thu 23-May-13 15:40:42

Because the system of taking academies out of local authority control means that government is handing over huge amounts of money to schools without having a sufficiently rigorous process for ensuring schools are accountable for how they spend that money.

Because the reality is that lots of schools became academies because they thought it would get them more money. Now they are relialising that this not the case, they no longer have the support they previously did and some are unable to cope.

Because introducing Free Schools has been a flawed exercise. One of the main ideals behind free schools was that they were local schools provided by local people. It was a way of removing central controls. However, the reality has been that some people setting up free schools, never having run a school before, they have absolutely no idea what they are doing. Previously support for running schools was given by local authorities. They had whole networks established to do this. But because free schools are outside of local authority control, there was no one to provide the support to free schools. So central government has had to step in to do this, at vast expense as they had to set up their provision from scratch. So instead of having a system where schools are more local, they now have a system where schools are more centralised. Which was diametrically opposite to what they originally wanted to do. Additionally, the huge amount of money that has been spent of free schools has left less money to be spent on schools with local authority control.

Also, as others have mentioned, Gove introduced major and hugely controlversial changes to the history curriculum based on research by UKGold and Prememier Inn. It would be funny if it wasn't actually so appalling that decisions are taken on a whim, political ideology and a misunderstanding of fact.

Hamishbear Thu 23-May-13 15:42:24

Entrance school exams are a whole lot tougher in their expectations than the SPaG tests I've got for L6. Seriously I think if that's what we expect from the top 2% or so things are worse than I thought. There are a few tougher questions but nothing that I would hope would tax an able and well taught seven or eight year old if I am perfectly honest.

Justfornowitwilldo Thu 23-May-13 15:42:42

Just for HabbaDabba.

I think he has made a catalogue of errors. He is making permanent changes to our education system without sufficient knowledge or expertise. His free schools are creating unnecessary school places in areas that are well provided for rather than targeting areas with a shortfall of places. He hasn't done research into the best way to improve our education system but rather decided from the beginning what he wanted to do and tried to justify it with the flimsiest of 'evidence'.

It is no accident that more private companies will be running multiple schools. It is policy. Privatisation of our education provision. By the time people realise what has happened it will be too late to change it.

Children need leisure time. Their needs are not our needs. 9 to 5 child care is not the business of schools.

I like biscuits.

HabbaDabba Thu 23-May-13 15:43:46

neolara - ok, schools became academies thinking that they would get more money but have found out that its not the case. Sounds like the schools made a bad choice. Why is that Gove's fault?

noblegiraffe Thu 23-May-13 15:45:18

Habba, I'm saying that you can't claim that Gove has given academies the freedom to do what they want. While what they do continues to be scrutinised by Ofsted, your claim is simply bobbins.

niminypiminy Thu 23-May-13 15:46:08

Academies can't do what they want. Academies are still inspected by Ofsted, and Ofsted have very clear ideas of what they expect to see in schools.

Actually I was looking at performance tables for primary schools last night, and it is very clear that very few primary academies have had Ofsted inspections -- fewer than 1 in 10. They are not receiving the intense interest from Ofsted that many maintained schools are.

noblegiraffe Thu 23-May-13 15:57:30

Academies are inspected on the same cycle as state schools according to their category.

If primary academies don't have an Ofsted report, that'll be because they recently converted to an academy and their Ofsted reports will be under the old school name.

HabbaDabba Thu 23-May-13 15:57:44

noble - do you think that academies should no longer be inspected by Ofsted?

niminypiminy Thu 23-May-13 16:04:51

Yeah -- in theory. I think I would want to do a detailed search to find out how strictly Ofsted kept to that timetable, and whether any additional leeway is being given to academies before I could wholeheartedly agree with you.

neolara Thu 23-May-13 16:05:25

Habba - ok, schools became academies thinking that they would get more money but have found out that its not the case. Sounds like the schools made a bad choice. Why is that Gove's fault?

I sort of think that's exactly the point. Some schools did make bad choices because they were being asked to take responsibility for things that they are not sufficiently knowledgeable about. To effectively manage the budget and operational side of even a primary academy requires a level of financial knowledge that most teachers do not have. Of course schools can recruit business managers, but many schools simply do not have the money to recruit someone who is pretty much doing the same role as a CFO in a business.

Additionally, initially schools were offered additional money to become academies. Some schools budgets are really quite shockingly tight. An extra £50,000 could have been a massive draw. Short-sighted but understandable for some.

And of course now lots of schools now aren't being given any choice about converting. They have just been told to do it whether they want to or not.

noblegiraffe Thu 23-May-13 16:05:37

Habba, why are you asking me that rather odd question?

Given that many academies are failing schools it would be a bit strange to argue that they shouldn't come under any scrutiny.

Whether Ofsted is any good at its job is another thread entirely.

HabbaDabba Thu 23-May-13 16:29:10

noble - I asked the question because the tone of your post suggested that you though that Gove hadn't gone far enough in cutting loose schools from interference from outside bodies

HabbaDabba Thu 23-May-13 16:29:54

.. you thought...

noblegiraffe Thu 23-May-13 16:50:30

Hadn't gone far enough? He has increased interference from outside bodies. Mostly bodies by the name of Gove and Wilshaw.

He has given schools the freedom to choose their curriculum, right? But he has changed the league tables (Ebacc and downgrading vocational qualifications) to ensure that they choose what he wants them to.

Outstanding schools were able to choose to become an academy. Slashed budgets, financial incentives and a strong sense that if you didn't leap now you'd be pushed later ensured that many schools made that choice despite their reluctance.

You can run your academy how you like but Ofsted's deep interest in tracking data and 'expected progress' makes it very difficult to have a school that is little more than a sausage factory of assessments and conformity.

HabbaDabba Thu 23-May-13 16:57:39

<makes copious notes for the next 'why did you choose to go private?' thread>

Startail Thu 23-May-13 17:14:16

1) Because he announces policies without engaging brain (or listening to advice)
Because he is selling education to faceless academy chains.

2) Because I have a Y10 and a Y7 both of who's GCSE exams have, are and will be messed about with.
Because I'm lucky enough to be a SAHM, longer days and shorter holidays sounds like hell.
Because Ofsted have put the DDs school, unnecessarily in SM. Loosing us a nice HT, a dedicated chair of governors and demoralising the teachers. Loosing us good pupils and generally upsetting everyone.

Most of all Gove doesn't give a fuck about giving my children a childhood or a future so long as he is getting his power trip.

Copthallresident Thu 23-May-13 17:45:52

I am going to attempt question 2 as no one else has, just to illustrate how thoroughly he has upset various groups of people.

I am upset as a parent of a pupil sitting AS levels because he ensured that DD2 and her peers achieved GCSE results last year that were around 10% lower than DD1 and her peers irrespective of ability, motivation etc. This affected them most particularly in English Literature where the results were 40% lower. This in one the most selective independent girls' schools in the country. Another indie Head reported similar www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9497631/GCSE-results-university-places-at-risk-from-grades-drop.html Not only were there many pupils, state and private, coming out of school on that day tight lipped and holding back tears like many of DD's friends , the confidence in their ability built up by their teachers completely undermined, but also their ability to compete for jobs and university places has been affected inconsistently and unfairly. Now their teachers really have no idea where the goalposts are going to be for AS level and the pupils live in fear of what the results have in store for them.

I am upset as a parent of a child with SLDs because Gove having briefed Ofqual on another of his unevidenced prejudices ie that too many pupils were getting extra time, the exam boards have implemented a system which my DDs' Ed Psych regards as not based on the Psychology and a complete move away from the principle that we should be aiming to level the playing field and results in it being tipped in favour of those of lower ability. Now you will not get extra time unless your processing and working memory skills are below average even though many of high ability will be more disadvantaged by having only average processing and working memory skills, than those of less ability will by having lower than average, and that speed of reading and writing are relevant too. My DD and her peers were told with weeks to go to AS levels that they might lose the extra time that they have been entitled to and used to, and will get at university, though they may be disadvantaged in terms of their chance to achieve that. Luckily we have the resources to have got together all the evidence to support my DDs case but how many parents have the money and time and support from school in place to achieve that, and in the mean time, the pre exam anxiety experienced by DD and her peers was added to.

I am also upset as a parent because my DDs Head has commented that Gove is wasting an opportunity to develop a curriculum and exam system in collaboration with the Professionals and based on the evidence from sound research that meets the needs of the twenty first century in favour of one based on his own prejudices and viewing his own education through rose tinted specs. I have particular reason to know that he is blinkered by the way he constantly invokes the example of Singapore's education system conveniently ignoring the pressure I know their government are under to introduce a greater emphasis on critical reasoning, creativity and team skills and less on passing exams to enable their economy to compete more effectively in the 21st century. I have worked and studied with many of the products of Asian education systems and know they feel their education systems put them at a disadvantage in those areas.

I am upset by hearing from teachers I know about how he is devaluing their profession and making the conditions they work under so difficult that they no longer feel that they can enable children to fulfil their potential and are considering moving out of the profession.

I am upset as a Historian because his proposed curriculum is something brainstormed between him and his colleagues based on their knowledge of our "island story" and only 4% of those who actually teach or study History in our universities and schools think it is a positive change for all the reasons given here www.history.org.uk/news/news_1779.html I think it will switch children off History, making it as boring and irrelevant as it was when studied in my 70s Grammar School, and doubtless Gove's too

That really will do to be going on with Mr Gove......

HariboAndWine Thu 23-May-13 18:00:55

No habba I don't blame gove for children leaving school illiterate. I blame an education systen which fails to provide the resources needed to overcome the barriers to learning put in place by failing parents and families.

Copthallresident Thu 23-May-13 18:05:14

By the way there may be some Marxists in the History Association but there is also a great concentration of Tweed, and many who could outfogey Gove

deadsimple Thu 23-May-13 18:16:38

So do I read this thread correctly, all blame is with Gove, all teachers and schools are perfect. If children fail blame the parents and families. Now I understand.

noblegiraffe Thu 23-May-13 18:19:42

No, deadsimple, you have not read this thread correctly at all.

Feenie Thu 23-May-13 18:22:46

The SPAG test did not come into existence until this year, and is Gove's own special invention.

If you think level 6 isn't challenging, then he alone is to blame.

We just think it's a load of cobblers which doesn't teach the children anything much at all. Most teachers would rather make sure children can spell and actually use punctuation properly, as opposed to simply recognising it in a hastily scrabbled together multiple choice test.

Feenie Thu 23-May-13 18:25:16

So do I read this thread correctly, all blame is with Gove, all teachers and schools are perfect. If children fail blame the parents and families. Now I understand.

Show me where any poster, any poster at all, has said that teachers and schools are perfect and that families and parents are to blame if children 'fail'.

Go on then.

Waiting <whistles>

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