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?

1 - because he is a twat
2 - because he is a twat

Because he is changing things based on his personal opinions/preferences and not because the changes are justified through established Best Practice and evidence.


LastButOneSplash Thu 23-May-13 10:21:57

There's a few lots of threads that might help you work out the answer to this all by yourself. Failure to carry out sufficient independent research before asking questions will be marked down.

Littleturkish Thu 23-May-13 10:22:08

Because he uses unreliable and questionable research to push through changes to the curriculum (see History).

Because the focus on data demands progress every 20min of a lesson for it to be outstanding, which ignores the importance of consolidation.

Because of the absurd suggestion of longer school days and shorter holidays will burn out children. Anyone who knows about children will know how exhausted they are at the end of term- they need a decent break. I value family time AND education, longer days for children won't facilitate that.

Littleturkish Thu 23-May-13 10:22:34

Oh splash I like it

HabbaDabba Thu 23-May-13 10:52:07

Little - are your children really that delicate?

HabbaDabba Thu 23-May-13 10:52:51

OP - apparently the answer is that he is because he is.

Littleturkish Thu 23-May-13 11:08:29

Habba the 11-18 year olds I teach are. My 10 week old baby girl- well, she's ever so delicate- but I don't think that's what you mean.

I assume you are equating 'delicate' to an inability to function properly doing 10 week or more terms. Do you have any idea how draining it is being a teenager now? They work them hard. Five hours a day of solid learning. Demanding 100% attention. Changing subjects every hour, requiring different skills, knowledge and learning styles each time.

I challenge you to go into a school before a half term or end of term and find a fresh, enthusiastic child. They're shattered. Teachers are shattered. And there is marking to be done! That's what holidays are for, recharging batteries and getting the planning and marking done for the term ahead.

HabbaDabba Thu 23-May-13 11:24:28

Thank you for the challenge. I obviously have no children of my own going to a highly academic school so I of course have no idea what its like <rolls eyes in an exaggerated manner>

Littleturkish Thu 23-May-13 11:26:36

Thumbs up, Habba- excellent parody of a teenager there. Made me chuckle.

HabbaDabba Thu 23-May-13 11:38:50

Thanks Little. It's nice to know that my wit is appreciated.

HabbaDabba Thu 23-May-13 11:39:09


ShadeofViolet Thu 23-May-13 11:48:11

Because he is privatising our education system while all the while pretending that he isnt.

My own personal problem is that academies can set their own entry criteria and will not have to take children with SEN if they dont want to.

noblegiraffe Thu 23-May-13 12:15:40

Because he accuses people who think his ideas are shit of being Marxists instead of actually trying to understand their objections.

Because he is obsessed with a classical academic education when that type of education is not suitable for all, nor indeed would it be a good thing for everyone to have it when the country needs people with practical skills and training too.

Because he thinks that having the majority of children sitting the same exam is a good idea, ignoring the effect it will have on the lower end who are unable to access most of it. He also thinks its acceptable for 20% of the student population to not sit any exam and merely get a certificate saying they attended school instead of qualifications. (Thank heavens that idea was scrapped).

Because he flag flies his latest wheezes through the media, stirring up support among the Daily Mail crowd before actually checking with people who know what they're talking about who might try to dissuade him, presumably hoping that public opinion will push through his ideas.

Because of the amount of money that has been wasted on unnecessary Free Schools.

Because schools are being forced to become academies despite not wanting to, despite teachers, heads and parents being opposed to the idea (in both failing and outstanding schools), and Gove spinning this as 'schools queuing up to take advantage of the freedoms being an academy offers them'.

Because he is constantly tinkering with GCSEs, making them progressively harder year on year but in a way that is not transparent making it very difficult to compare achievements of students between years. Students applying for jobs in the future will have lower grades than people older than them who are just as able as them.

Because he wrote the foreword to his King James Bible himself. An astonishing piece of arrogance.

Because he thinks performance related pay or regional pay for teachers is achievable in a fair way.

Because he wants to rush through changes as quickly as possible because of election timings rather than it being a sensible idea.

WouldBeHarrietVane Thu 23-May-13 12:20:08

1. Don't know about others but assume it's the same as me and therefore as per 2.

2. I'm upset because there has been way too much interference with education already over the last 25 years and Gove is continuing this. I hate the idea of longer school terms. I loathe the random judgmental 'facts' based on shaky 'research' as shown by the MNetter's foi request. I don't understand what is happening with the early years changes either sad

WouldBeHarrietVane Thu 23-May-13 12:20:48

Oh and just FYI I am not a teacher, just a cheeses off parent.

mummytime Thu 23-May-13 12:31:00

1) Because he doesn't listen to anyone (schools, teachers, employers, educationalists, universities), he just tries to recreate his idea of some "golden age" of Education. His free schools and academies are really just ways for him to wrestle control into his own hands, not to hand power to schools (although it may back-fire).
2) Because it is my children's lives he is wrecking. He wasn't even educated in England (I believe Robert Gordon's did Highers etc. when he was there).

HabbaDabba Thu 23-May-13 13:31:21

Various studies have shown that in many parts of this country kids leave school barely literate. Now, you can blame Grove for your DC getting a D instead of a C or even a B. You can perhaps blame him for the lack of SEN resources. But come on people, you can't blame Gove for the fact that some schools turn out illiterate children.

Hamishbear Thu 23-May-13 13:43:04

I think some of his intentions seem noble, he wants to raise standards?

I was interested in this new/reintroduced (?) Level 6 test. Only one child in our (outstanding) Primary got a level 6 for English last year. I was sent some sample questions for the level 6 (SPaG) test. As I understand it this is only for the exceptionally able child (at 11)?

This is a taster.

Ok these are the spellings:


To test these a sentence is given and a child must fill in the blanks when they hear the word. For example:

It was --- to wear a coat on such a hot day


Insert a colon in the appropriate place in the sentence below:

I have three pets a hamster (called Frankie), a goldfish and a cat.

Insert a pair of commas to clarify each sentence below:

My friend who is very fit won the 100-metre race

Rewrite the sentence below, changing the verbs to the past tense:

The boy thinks carefully and makes up his mind

Write a example of each type of noun in the boxes below:

Abstract noun

Collective noun

Common noun

Proper noun

Circle the correct form of the verb in each set of brackets

The brother and sister (attend/attends) different clubs.

Everybody (has/have) the same opinion about uniform.

Each of you (is/are) welcome to state your point of view.

These are just tasters.

Please note these are only for the exceptionally able 11 year old (?)

What were the expectations and the standards before?

niminypiminy Thu 23-May-13 14:47:52

Hamishbear, I'll share with you one thing my life as a university lecturer has taught me:

People massively overestimate what they were able to do at a young age. When they look back to themselves at 6, 11, 18 or whatever, they give themselves credit for wide reading, massive general knowledge and advanced language skills they actually acquired later.

Would you have been able to answer those questions correctly at 11? Can you actually remember what you could or couldn't do at 11?

throckenholt Thu 23-May-13 14:59:45

Because he thinks one size fits all - one simple solution - without any concept of the real world is like. But at the same time he is making one set of rules for one group of schools, and another for a different group.
Because he has not got the knack of tacking the people involved with him.
Because he is opinionated and blinkered.
Because he doesn't seem to realise there is more to education than jumping through a given hoop on a given day.

Hamishbear Thu 23-May-13 15:02:57

I know you're right. I have all my books from primary school and frequently howl with laughter and cringe at my work but I am not most people smile.

Something I can tell you is that my contemporaries at the Prep that 'took the exam for grammar & Independent schools a year early and found them extremely easy' (as some quoted at the time) knew all I quoted like the back of their hands.

I'll stick my head out and say it's not that difficult for an ordinary 11 year to be taught and grasp the above and similar let alone the extraordinary. Simple commas and words like 'accident' are these really only the preserve of the extraordinary able at 11?

HabbaDabba Thu 23-May-13 15:11:09

"Because he thinks that one size fits all'

Fucked if you do, fucked if you don't. Poor Gove.

Academies allow schools to function as separate entities and to make decisions that reflect their specific needs as opposed to that of their LEA.

For all I know, this could be a terrible idea. But people are complaining about him using one size fits all solutions and at the same time complaining that he is letting loose academies to do what they want. You can't have it both ways.

noblegiraffe Thu 23-May-13 15:16:53

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.

TwasBrillig Thu 23-May-13 15:22:57

Is Mrs Grove back again?

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>

deadsimple Thu 23-May-13 18:27:42

Okay. So I missed the comments where teachers and schools took some blame. Sorry, still can't find them.

noblegiraffe Thu 23-May-13 18:29:27

This thread is about Gove, and why people are upset with him. Why are you looking for comments not related to the OP?

HabbaDabba Thu 23-May-13 18:35:42

RE Gove's proposals for History, according to the BBC website 15 notable historians including Professor David Starkey and Niall Ferguson signed a letter to the Times supporting Gove's proposals.

I have absolutely no idea who these people are but if the BBC consider them to be 'notable' then that is good enough for me smile

So when posters go on about how all historians think Gove's plans are ill thought out you were stretching the truth a bit. So what else are you stretching?

HariboAndWine Thu 23-May-13 18:39:05

Teachers and schools are not perfect and nobody on this thread has claimed they are. Unfortunately, children and families are in increasing crisis in many areas and in my experience, schools are expected to ensure all children experience the same success without being given the resources needed to provide for those who are disadvantaged. This is not a gove thing or even a conservative thing. It is a failing of consecutive governments

BoneyBackJefferson Thu 23-May-13 18:47:33


Would those history propsals be the ones where his facts where incorrect and had to be re-written?

Feenie Thu 23-May-13 18:48:00

Typical attitude these days - to pay more credence to celebrity historians than The Historical Association, who might actually know something about teaching aswell as history.

exoticfruits Thu 23-May-13 18:48:16

He won't listen to teachers. Last week a primary head explained that one of his pupils missed the SATs and instead of being worried about one of his vulnerable pupils his first thought was that his results would be 2% down, Gove said that this wouldn't happen and had to have his own rules pointed out to him.

noblegiraffe Thu 23-May-13 18:49:54

I can't see anywhere on this thread where posters claim all historians are against the curriculum proposals confused

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 23-May-13 18:50:53

His 'Mr Man' speech sums it up for me: it was a piece of complete bullshit, based on spurious anecdotes, designed to undermine and to show off at the same time, and the source from which he got it completely undermines everything he was trying to say.

Feenie Thu 23-May-13 18:57:09

I can't see anywhere on this thread where posters claim all historians are against the curriculum proposals

More selective reading!

Short on actual evidence - much like Mr Gove himself.

ipadquietly Thu 23-May-13 18:57:15

On to pay...

From next year, individual schools are setting their own pay differentials based on performance management. The positive thing about this is that the efforts of some hard-working teachers can be recognised by senior management, without having to rely on annual, national increments.

The negatives (I'm sure there are more!):
1) In September, every school will have to have its own criteria for pay progression. This means that the 'school down the road' may be paying less for the same job. I believe this will lead to stagnation.
2) Maintained schools' budgets are suffering, and these schools will not be able to match salaries paid by an academy. (This has already been reported to be happening by the media.)
3) The system is open to abuse by HTs, governors and senior managers.
4) There is little accountability regarding performance management targets, and these may very significantly between schools.

deadsimple Thu 23-May-13 19:04:00

I'm upset that Gove is taking so long to sort out under performing schools and poorly performing teachers.

BoneyBackJefferson Thu 23-May-13 19:12:20


So you approve of turning underp[erforming schools into selective academies?

LynetteScavo Thu 23-May-13 19:14:23

Last week a primary head explained that one of his pupils missed the SATs and instead of being worried about one of his vulnerable pupils his first thought was that his results would be 2% down

How sad is that? sad

Copthallresident Thu 23-May-13 19:15:06

Habba I actually said 4% of Historical Association members, thought the changes were positive and linked to the HA's analysis of the results of their consultation. Then gave my views. Seems like a reasonable presentation of the evidence. Not sure even Niall would have been in the 4% though.

He is a respected right wing historian who does actually engage in the debate we should be having about how we develop and improve the History Curriculum and move forward, obviously there are different views and different perspectives and one would hope that the final product would take those into account. He would be the first to accept his is just one perspective on History and the key thing is to enable our children to reach their own conclusions. The problem is that Gove parted company even from the Historians that supported him. Quote from Niall "The new national curriculum is not flawless, to be sure. It runs counter to the advice I gave Gove by being much too prescriptive. The 34 topics to be covered by pupils between the ages of seven and 14 already read a bit like chapter titles and, if there is one thing I hope we avoid, it is an official history textbook (even if it's written by Simon Schama)". www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/15/history-teaching-curriculum-gove-right Others have also come out to criticise "Steven Mastin, head of history at a Cambridge school, who worked alongside historian Simon Schama as an adviser to Gove on the curriculum, said the end product bore "no resemblance" to drafts he worked on as late as last month. Mastin, a fan of Gove's aim for greater rigour, said the proposed version that emerged from the education department tragically failed to offer children the broad and balanced education the education secretary had promised. Something had gone terribly wrong. "Between January and the publication of this document – which no one involved in the consultation had seen – someone has typed it up and I have no idea who that is," said Mastin, who stood for the Tories at the last general election. "As far as I am aware, we will be the only jurisdiction in the western world that won't teach world history." www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/feb/16/historians-gove-curriculum

Andrew Starkey is a right wing historian who is reasonably sound on the facts of the Tudors, beyond that ...............

Both Starkey and Ferguson do lots of popular History programmes on the BBC.

noblegiraffe Thu 23-May-13 19:19:14

Wasn't David Starkey awful on Jamie's Dream School?

Feenie Thu 23-May-13 19:21:39

Yes - told a pupil he was 'fat', as I remember....

deadsimple Thu 23-May-13 20:07:55

No Boney under performing schools appear to remain under performing academies, particularly once they have been taken over by chain groups. Those that flourish tend to do so under their own steam without the support of the chain group.

Talkinpeace Thu 23-May-13 20:11:55

Why am I upset with Mr Gove?
Because he does not make use of evidence based decision making

There is no evidence that the changes he has underway will "improve" education.
There is no evidence that the UKs education system needed root and branch review.
There IS evidence that constantly changing targets lead to falls in performance.
There IS evidence that retrospective changes are never successful.

pointythings Thu 23-May-13 20:39:13

There is no evidence that the UKs education system needed root and branch review.


I have two DDs in the school system in the UK. I grew up in the Netherlands in the 70s and 80s and I was considered very able. My DDs are learning things I was not even touching on at their age - algebra, geometry and statistics from Yr5 in maths, genre writing/non fiction writing/letter writing at the same age, photosynthesis and electrical circuits in science also from yr5. They are far more advanced than I was at that age. They can spell too.

ipadquietly Thu 23-May-13 20:40:29

He is about to introduce a 'national' curriculum to raise standards of education in this country, so England is top of the global league tables blah blah blah.

Except the academies and free schools (the flagship Govian schools; the schools he is citing to be the visions of achievement) don't have to follow this 'national' curriculum.

Perhaps he made a little slip-up, and typed an 'a' instead of an 'o' when he was scribbling that idea on the back of his fag packet?

Copthallresident Thu 23-May-13 21:11:38

David Starkey, not Andrew! On TV now talking about something he does know something about.....smile

creamteas Thu 23-May-13 21:25:43

Oh and not only am I angry about the destruction of our education system, I am also angry at the way he is destroying areas of child protection (sorry for the non-education topic- but it is part of my anger).

Gove wants to introduce 'fostering to adoption' . This means that any child that goes into care could be adopted. So for example, if the well-cared-for child of a single-mother needs foster-care whilst she is in hospital, in theory the child might never come home.

He also want to speed-up adoption and introduce a statutory length of time to process adoptions. This is likely to fundamentally contravene the principles of the Children's Act which says the child's welfare is paramount. There will be no time to either work with birth families properly or ensure the potential adoptive parents are a good match.

Adoption breakdown is a major issue and rushing adoptions will make this worse. Can you imagine what it is like for a child to be taken away from your birth parents, rushed through foster care to a new 'forever' family who the reject you?

On adoption, just like education, he refuses to engage with either the evidence or professionals.

Between this and education, he is threatening the future of a whole generation.

BoneyBackJefferson Thu 23-May-13 21:56:43


Do you have any support to support that?

Talkinpeace Thu 23-May-13 22:00:51

My impresseion is that deadsimple should have written "despite" rather than particularly.
There are schools whose systemic problems run so deep that nothing will improve them without masses of intervention in the families in their catchments.
It is facile to expect otherwise of head teachers.
Especially now that mass exclusions have been stopped.

Gove does not recognise this because like all of our current political "class" they have never worked in the real world or interacted with people from normal state schools.

LadyLech Fri 24-May-13 07:55:48

Surely his failed exam reforms are all we need to know he's a pile of crock.

He wanted to ditch GCSEs for his bacc programme. Except, the teachers, the head teachers and the association of businesses in GB opposed it. He dismissed this as a bunch of whiners. 21 university lecturers and specialists in education wrote an open letter explaining why his plans were wrong. He dismissed them out of hand. Didn't he also refuse to admit that the head of OFQUAL opposed his changes at a select committee, if I recall correctly. Then the head of OFQUAL published the lettter, highlighting very grave concerns about his plans, and so finally once he was faced with the fact that teacher, schools, businesses, professors in education and the examination authorities all said publicly and repeatedly he was wrong did he finally back down.

Now he is wanting to ditch the AS level, despite the universities and the teachers saying no, that they work. Oxford and Cambridge have both publicly condemned his reforms (that he claims will improve education) as detrimental and a backwards step.

Why do I hate Gove? Because he comes up with ill thought through ideas and refuses to listen to those who do actually know what they're talking about!

noblegiraffe Fri 24-May-13 08:23:33

Oh God, I wrote a huge list upthread of reasons he'd annoyed me and there's still more. He scrapped January modules at A-level, ostensibly to limit resits, instead of just limiting resits. Now we have lost a very useful marker of progress, especially in Y12 when some students are on unsuitable courses.

He also, despite apparently being in favour of schools choosing their curriculum as best suits their students, has scrapped the early entry opportunity for maths and English in November (now that session can only be used for resits). While I know the arguments against early entry, it actually benefits some students (usually those who may lose the plot in Y11) and we're now stuck wondering what to do with them.

deadsimple Fri 24-May-13 11:24:24

boney See link. Also personal experience.


BoneyBackJefferson Sat 25-May-13 19:29:59

Thanks deadsimple

Good to see some research has taken place, Its a shame that gove will ignore it.

Phineyj Sat 25-May-13 19:40:19

I think he's a handy hate figure. It saves having a more detailed debate when you've got someone ideally placed to throw darts at, so to speak. I doubt he'd still be in post if the PM/his colleagues all disagreed with what he's doing.

(Some) people also greatly dislike a focus on high academic standards because by implication that means their own standards were/are lower.

Disclaimer: I don't imagine my definition of 'high academic standards' is the same as his, however.

I don't think his looks help

creamteas Sat 25-May-13 20:20:03

(Some) people also greatly dislike a focus on high academic standards

But part of the problem is that he although he states that his aim is to raise standards, his policies are not designed to do this.

So either he is so stupid he actually believes his own rhetoric, or he is deliberately undermining the education system.

The first is possible. He does think all schools can be above average after all hmm

But I actually think it is the latter ad he is doing so in order to be seen as strong leader and thus further his own political career. The fact that this is destroying thousands of lives to get their just shows how arrogant and callous he is. angry

Oh and most of us do read the detail, so we know exactly why we hate him.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Sat 25-May-13 20:46:18

He bangs on about standards and rigour to please the Daily Mail crowd.

He ignores expert advice.

He is a liar. I don't like liars.

His history curriculum will make history shitter than it was in the 80's.

He genuinely doesn't seem to know the difference between being educated and passing tests.

He meddles.

He is repeatedly told his policies are disastrous but ploughs ahead regardless. If I was of a suspicious nature I would say he was trying to ensure that the oiks stay uneducated and poor.

HabbaDabba Sat 25-May-13 21:09:03

Phineyj - I totally agree with your 'handy hate figure' remark.

Teachers leaving the profession in droves has always been a reoccurring news story. Except up to a few years ago the stated causes has been violence against teachers, abusive parents, better paid alternative careers etc. Many idealistic teachers trained to become teachers so that they could inspire a generation of low performing pupils only to find that many of these pupils didn't want to be inspired. Consequently many left the profession within 5 years of qualifying.

These days teachers are still leaving in droves but this time it's because of Gove. hmm

noblegiraffe Sat 25-May-13 21:38:01

I imagine that teachers who have hung on through poor behaviour, abusive parents and low pay are finally being tipped over the edge by a government that hates them and an education secretary who thinks that they're all shit at their jobs.

Feenie Sat 25-May-13 23:51:42

Teachers leaving the profession in droves has always been a reoccurring news story. Except up to a few years ago the stated causes has been violence against teachers, abusive parents, better paid alternative careers etc. Many idealistic teachers trained to become teachers so that they could inspire a generation of low performing pupils only to find that many of these pupils didn't want to be inspired. Consequently many left the profession within 5 years of qualifying.

Actually - the facts state that 50% of teachers leave within 5 years citing workload.

Just to be clear.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 26-May-13 07:41:40


I'm fairly sure that habbadabba isn't interested in facts.

Feenie Sun 26-May-13 10:25:46

Yes - was getting that!

edam Sun 26-May-13 10:34:14

Because his new history curriculum is such a joke it starts with the dinosaurs, FGS. According to ds's teachers. Which is bizarre - dinosaurs aren't history! Apparently it all has to be taught in chronological order. What tedious amount of drivel. And this from a government which claims to believe in localism and freeing schools from over-bureaucratic control.

A cynic might think he's doing this to piss teachers off so much they all leap for privatisation into academies... or that the people who wrote the curriculum went for nonsense to show Gove up.

Oh, and because he's such a tosser he slagged off school governors. The largest group of volunteers in the country, who give up their time to try to help schools and ensure they are well-run. I assume the slagging off is again designed to push schools into becoming academies - can't think why else.

Talkinpeace Sun 26-May-13 19:21:11

The high turnover of teachers in many schools is because ANY private sector employer who changed targets and demeaned their employees in the way that the DfE does would also have high turnover.

Retrospective changes, constant slagging off in public, ever increasing paperwork and frozen salaries.
Find me a Private Company that keeps staff if it behaved like that.

edam Sun 26-May-13 19:35:54

There are plenty of bad employers in the private sector, Talkin, and plenty of industries where people have had to accept pay freezes or even cuts. But I agree with you, Gove is a bully who never seems to pause for breath when it comes to slagging off teachers (and has even extended that nasty attitude to school governors).

Talkinpeace Sun 26-May-13 19:45:41

Private sector bosses can be bar stewards, but they tend not to have televised press conferences demeaning their staff.

The government talks about "localism" and then Gove thinks he knows better than somebody with a Physics degree how to teach Years 7's about particles.
He says teachers should be professional and then insults their academic and professional knowledge.
He rants about the Curriculum, while forgetting that he's exempting more and more schools from it.
And yes, the fact that he wants all schools to be "above average" proves he's an ignorant twit.

CatherineofMumbles Sun 26-May-13 19:59:35

'People' are upset with Mr Gove?
Teachers are upset with Mr Gove. Because he is challenging their complacency.
As a parent, I think he talks sense, and cares about children's education, and if that upsets teachers - tough!
For too long schools have been about keeping teachers happy so they remain the profession - which is crazy - schools should be about children learning, and enjoying learning.
With academies, and the recent push to get people into the profession who have had jobs in the real world, Gove is pushing the agenda that parents want, and that children need. Good on him.

Talkinpeace Sun 26-May-13 20:04:04

I am not a teacher.

I am the parent of children who have no idea what criteria their grades will be based upon as they are already taking their courses.
I can also see the tremendous damage that the Academy programme is already doing to oversight and transparency in education provision.

recent push to get people into the profession who have had jobs in the real world
sorry, where is that Gove's idea? and why will it make better teachers?

CatherineofMumbles Sun 26-May-13 20:13:12

Locally we have a school that was left to rot by the LA. Since it became an academy it has flourished. Okay, this is 'anecdotal', but for us locals it is all we have, and we are relieved, because we do not exist in a theoretical ideology, we exist in a suburb where our children were being ignored, and now have hope, and a reasonable expectation of a decent education. The academy got rid of the coasting staff, and there are now genuinely enthusiastic , inspiring teachers. The LA could have done this, but didn't. The academy did. So my DD has a much better chance of getting the grades top go to Uni. Okay, maybe not the 'Oxbridge' that MN seems to be obsessed with, but at least Uni, which is better than before. So I would be grateful if you would not diss a Uni aspiration that is not Oxbridge. For us this is a real possibility now, and DD is working hard for that.

creamteas Sun 26-May-13 20:32:30

Catherine I'm pleased that your local school is improving, but the majority of academies are either the same or worse than they were before. Don't take my word for it, there is plenty of evidence to support this if you look.

All the schools local to me have deteriorated since becoming academies. Some have achieved 'better' results by expanding equivalent qualifications, which was pushing them up the leagues tables, but left the DC without any good options for future employment or study.

I presume your DC are not involved in public examinations yet? If they were you would know how unfair and damaging the changes he has made are. Anyone who even thinks about education should be able to work out that the curriculum and assessment are interlinked. Thus changing one without changing the other leads to a dysfunctional course.

That is what he has done, and our DC are going to have to live with for the rest of their lives.

noblegiraffe Sun 26-May-13 20:33:08

Catherine, if you have a failing school that was converted to a sponsored academy, that was actually down to Labour, not Gove. Gove is behind turning outstanding schools into unsponsored academies.

LadyLech Sun 26-May-13 20:57:58


"'People' are upset with Mr Gove?
Teachers are upset with Mr Gove. Because he is challenging their complacency.
As a parent, I think he talks sense, and cares about children's education, and if that upsets teachers - tough!"

You might like what he has to say, but believe me the experts in education absolutely do not agree with you.

The exams authority OFQUAL rejected Gove's plans as 'unworkable':

22 University Professors in Education rejected Gove's plans:

The Education Select committee rejected Gove's plans:

Oh and if you're still convinced its just a few teachers who disapprove of Gove because of their complacency, then I suggest you look at this link...

LadyLech Sun 26-May-13 20:59:28

BTW, I only picked one issue to focus on. I could have chosen so many more, but I think you get my point!!

Talkinpeace Sun 26-May-13 21:00:43

I'm really pleased that you now hope that your DD will go to a good University (and utterly agree that Oxbridge is irrelevant for many degrees)

I have to hope for her sake that by the time she gets to doing her A levels, Gove will have stopped messing about with the exam structure and curriculum so that her teachers (these good new ones) are able to teach her the way that suits her rather than the way that suits Mr Gove.

mummytime Sun 26-May-13 21:05:25

Catherine I would say that becoming an academy has made no real difference at any of my local schools. Other measures have made big differences on some schools, such as federation (although not even flying in a super successful head always works).

I am a fairly well informed parent, but even someone woking on he check-out at Sainsburys has complained about Mr Gove to me. And I live reasonably lose to Mr Gove's own constituency.

I am very stressed about the effect on my children's education.

cory Mon 27-May-13 10:06:33

" '(Some) people also greatly dislike a focus on high academic standards'

But part of the problem is that he although he states that his aim is to raise standards, his policies are not designed to do this."

As a university lecturer I can't think of anything more desirable than seeing new students arrive with high academic standards implanted by the secondary school system. I can see nothing either in Gove's track record or in his current plans for the curriculum that is at all likely to ensure this.

The universities are not defending themselves against any attacks by Gove on their own supposed "complacency". They oppose his plans simply because they will undermine academic standards. And we do care about those.

edam Mon 27-May-13 10:13:51

Takin - I think the NHS also suffers from ministers holding press conferences to slag staff off.

Yes, Gove is an ignorant bastard, and as a school governor I object to him inflicting his stupid excuses for policies off, as well as holding press conferences to slag off both schools and we volunteers. I just think your comment about this being unique to schools, or that private sector employers who acted like shits would go under, was not entirely accurate.

Talkinpeace Mon 27-May-13 10:59:54

I did not mean it to be unique to schools : the joys of trying to nuance typing!
My work is with Local Government : I deal with P-P-Pickles pronouncements every week shock

But I do assert that any private sector employer who treated their staff with as much disdain as ministers treat the public sector staff would be rip for takeover in a matter of months.

Yorkshirepuddingy Mon 27-May-13 11:30:18

I haven't read every post, but looking at some, I'd say a few of the anti- Govites are making rather feeble arguments at times.

1. It is patronising to dismiss the 'Daily Mail' crowd- they represent a large proportion of decent middle England, so why dismiss their views any more than , say, Guardian readers?

2. Children are burnt out at the end of term- hmm. Are they? Really? So why do most parents complain that school holidays are too long? Far more parents say this than parents clamouring for shorter school days or terms.

3. 'Exams are getting harder, children will have lower grades, employers will be confused.' ( to paraphrase something said by Noblegiraffe.) To counteract this, what about employers knowing that in 2014, the exam system changed, just the same as over the last 20 years exam grades have become inflated- leaving employers perhaps much more confused as to the value of those grades.

Many independent school have scrapped GCSEs anyway due to their limited value.

I began teaching in the 1970s. I retired not long ago, having taught in both private and state schools. On the whole, I feel that Gove is doing quite a lot of stuff that makes sense. I have despaired at how subjects have been dumbed down over the last 35 years- especially my own subject- English- so much that I was glad to leave the profession which bore no resemblance to when I entered it in terms of intellectual vigour. The 'rot' IMO began in the early 80s when the GCSE was introduced, and an academic curriculum was watered down so every student could take the exam, and no one could 'fail'. Then we have coursework which students could re-hash until it met an expected grade, then we had texts which were allowed into the exam room- annotated!.

The entire marking scheme has changed with less emphasis on grammar and spelling, and the texts studied have become easier- and in addition students rarely study an entire serious , lengthy novel.

Anything which turns back the clock and reinstates some intellectual challenges is IMO for the better.

noblegiraffe Mon 27-May-13 11:35:12

So why do most parents complain that school holidays are too long

Usually because it is inconvenient for them to have to arrange childcare.

Yorkshirepuddingy Mon 27-May-13 11:39:09

Are schools just a baby minding service for parents?

No- most parents complain because their child becomes bored.

Feenie Mon 27-May-13 11:44:33

And that is my problem because.....?

noblegiraffe Mon 27-May-13 11:45:20

That comes up too on the MN thread I've read about it. But others would argue that it's good for kids to be bored. Back in my day we'd be chucked out of the house with nothing but a reminder to be back for dinner etc etc. Nowadays parents feel obliged to entertain their kids.

Gove seems to think that parents are actually a bad influence on their kids and that as little time should be spent with them as possible.

Feenie Mon 27-May-13 11:46:09

Come and visit any primary classroom before the end of term, YP - learning is much more fast-paced and intensive than in ever was when I was a child. Children work incredibly hard, and have had enough after 6 weeks.

Wuldric Mon 27-May-13 11:58:38

1. I think other people are upset because he is making changes and all changes create upset as education professionals have a vested interest in the status quo. It is however unfortunate that his changes are in many cases changes for the worse, which has doubled and trebled the amount of noise. He doesn't seem to have a coherent strategy.

2. I'm not remotely upset. It hasn't really affected me. The DCs are doing a mix of IGCSEs and straight GCSEs. The straight GCSEs are frankly laughable, excerpt based learning for English is an abomination, but hopefully they will get exposed to more rigorous academic stuff via the IGCSE and later on at school - at A/S and A Level

Maria33 Mon 27-May-13 12:12:37

1. SPAG is the most insignificant measure of level 6 writing. Anyone who is focussing on that has no idea about how literacy is assessed. SPaG is the easy bit. Level six writing is sophisticated as is level 6 comprehension. I would refer you to the national standards agency but it no longer exists. I would post examples of level 6 marking but in between marking 33 2000 word essays analyzing how Browning and Shakespeare's convey emotion in language I'd like to see my children.

2. Schools are forced to convert to academy status whether they like it or not because once a number of schools in any given LA has converted, the services offered by the LA are so underfunded, that academy status is the only way if accessing funding.

3. Privatizing schools means that schools will now be paying for a curriculum they previously paid nothing for. It means that there is no joined up thinking between schools actually making the curriculum much less transparent for parents. Buying in services from profit making companies is going yo lower standards and be financially wasteful as it will not be properly regulated. There will also be no transparency or accountability as it is not being built in.

4. There are shit teachers but there are excellent practitioners working hard to raise levels if literacy despite the shit storm. They want to raise standards, they work in teaching because they care, they are well qualified in both their subject specialisms and teaching but Gove and people like hubba still think they know better.

5. Do your fucking research, spend done time working in schools and soup using your own paltry anecdotal experience as some kind of basis for knowing best. There is so much ignorance about what us actually happening. It's terrifying.

Maria33 Mon 27-May-13 12:18:17

Yeah yeah typos, missing commas etc . Phone typing. Big thumbs, small screen.

Maria33 Mon 27-May-13 12:23:30

Oh and for the record. I abhor excerpt based teaching if it means not reading the whole text. However, literature has always been 'excerpt based' to some extent as unless you are writing a 10,000 word thesis, you have to focus on excerpts...

Maria33 Mon 27-May-13 12:27:15

Or maybe we just want to go back to focussing on the story rather than language.. That is easier and what O-level English essentially did...

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 12:31:09

I think Michael Gove is great, but I suppose that isn't what you asked.

Skinnywhippet Mon 27-May-13 12:34:26

He wants to remove universities from teacher training. Mistake.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 12:38:32

"the experts in education absolutely do not agree with you"

LadyLech I think you posted this. I saw your "experts in education" recently described as "the blob", complacent, left-wing, resistant to a more demanding curriculum, defensive of their own status, happy to see disadvantaged children suffer so long as their ideas remain unchallenged. No education secretary has managed to dislodge its control, hence herewith after many years, we have the standards bemoaned by employers and universities. Gove has a fight on his hands, I hope he wins.

mummytime Mon 27-May-13 12:43:35

All the independent schools near me study for iGCSEs and GCSEs.
The state school my DC go to does not teach from "excerpts", I don't know one that does except from the news media or primary schools.
All children I know are exhausted at the endof term.
I never complain the holidays are too long, apart from the first few days when my DC try to kill each other they are too short. They certainly seem much shorter than when I was a child. Private schools have longer holidays.

Raising the end of education age offered a real chance to change the education system. Unfortunately Mr Gove was not the right person to do this, and he seems to have no real knowledge or care for what education is really about.

noblegiraffe Mon 27-May-13 12:47:38

I saw your "experts in education" recently described as "the blob"

Yes, by Gove, who also whinged in a paranoid fashion about Marxists. The article in the Daily Mail in which he did this was truly bizarre.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 12:56:15

Maybe it was by Gove. I thought it was Melanie Phillips. More power to both of them I say.

Maria33 Mon 27-May-13 13:00:54


Comments like yours make me furious. Like many teachers, I work with disadvantaged kids everyday. They are not some faceless statistic: they are individuals with hopes, aspirations, needs, their own stories and issues that they tell me about. I work hard to build their self belief, make them believe that learning spellings, paragraphing, varying sentence structure and using commas correctly is meaningful to them. I engage them in Macbeth and Marvell despite their initial suspicion and fear. I know I do it well because they let me know and they get the results.

I work in state education because I want to do something meaningful to help raise children's aspirations. I passionately believe that education is directly linked to social mobility as does all the research.

Most teachers work hard and care deeply about the kids they teach. Most teachers will never be properly remunerated for their time or properly thanked by the ministers in charge for doing a fantastic jobs but we're not really doing it for that. You see, we're not blazing a trail to No 10, we just want to educate kids so that they have some sort of autonomy in their lives. This is what motivates us. Not money (clearly), not an easy life(obviously) and not national headlines. You could not really survive I'm teaching if you didn't care. A few don't but most do.

Your comment is offensive and if Gove gave a flying shit about education, he would have been in education not journalism.

He's a cynical fool and anyone who swallows his hype is just a fool.

Feenie Mon 27-May-13 13:01:34

Yes - because we definitely need more childish, playground name-calling by government ministers in the press.


Copthallresident Mon 27-May-13 13:01:38

Sorry YP but having been educated at a direct grant grammar and sat O levels and A levels in the seventies and with two teenage (actually one now post teenage) DCs I am at a loss to understand what great advantages my education had over my DCs, in fact I think it was a good deal less demanding and a far worse preparation for further study / demonstration of abilities relevant to the real world.

O levels were just an exercise in regurgitation, I certainly did my own version of excerpt learning for English, I learnt it all from Cole's notes, never did read the books and plays. A level was approaching what GCSE is now with a requirement to start introducing some structure and argument but really for A level English very little in the way of the skills in literary criticism that my DDs had to demonstrate for GCSE (a friend who has taught in the Asian and US systems says that the UK English Literature syllabus at GCSE/ IGCSE and A level require far more advanced skills in literary criticism than those of any other country she has taught in, and it is certainly my experience that undergrads coming from Asian countries face a steep learning curve in terms of acquiring the level of skills in literary skills shown by UK students.

In common with my A level subjects my DD has just sat AS English and History as well as two other subjects and the amount she had to learn and the depth to which she had to learn and understand it was far greater than was required of me. I arrived at uni with only the most basic skills in constructing an evidence based argument. Students arrive at my university with far superior skills in analysing sources and constructing an evidenced argument based on their own analysis of the issues. Above all they arrive with enthusiasm / passion, call it what you will for their subject, having already had a chance to engage with the fascination of in depth study. My passion for my subject was developed through Henry Treece and Jean Plaidy and was in spite of the boring irrelevant story that was crammed into me at school. The proposed History Curriculum with it's emphasis on His Story is in particular very poor preparation for further study of History in our universities.

Remember O levels were done away with by a Conservative because they weren't fit for purpose in the 80s, let alone the 21st century.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 13:05:23

I wouldn't get too upset about an internet forum Maria. My comment isn't offensive, it's different to your view, but I'm sure you don't believe in silencing different views, simply on the spurious accusation of "offensive".

He does care - you don't have a monopoly on that. He's seen too many children let down by child led "learning", play centred "learning", degrading of transmission of information and knowledge as a valuable principle.

noblegiraffe Mon 27-May-13 13:14:28

I've just reread Gove's DM ramblings.

"That’s why it’s such a pity that, this week, Labour’s education spokesman Stephen Twigg chose to side with the Marxists and failed to condemn the unions who want to close successful schools"

What the hell is he talking about? For someone who argues that children should be able to write coherent essays, he's not exactly practising what he preaches.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 13:26:01

Is he talking about union opposition to academies and independent schools? I don't think it's quite a "what the hell" question. If you're a teacher and involved in education then you could say for example: actually that's wrong, unions don't ever want successful schools closed. You could deny it. But it's not exactly "what the hell?"

Stephen Twigg claimed there was a teacher shortage because of Mr Gove's policies. That's not even true, surely.

MajorBumsore Mon 27-May-13 13:26:30

For Hamishbear- I've not read the whole thread, so apologies if your erroneous understanding of the L6 English paper for yr 6 has already been debunked.
For a child to achieve level 6, they have to pass not only the SPAG test at L6 (which I and the 10 students I put forward his year for the level 6 test all agreed was easy) but also an extended writing task (30 mins) plus a reading comprehension paper (focusing mainly on use of language).
If you wish to see examples of the papers, please do so via the DES site, where you will find sample papers for the literacy and the maths.

CatherineofMumbles Mon 27-May-13 13:34:06

I saw your "experts in education" recently described as "the blob", complacent, left-wing, resistant to a more demanding curriculum, defensive of their own status, happy to see disadvantaged children suffer so long as their ideas remain unchallenged. No education secretary has managed to dislodge its control, hence herewith after many years, we have the standards bemoaned by employers and universities. Gove has a fight on his hands, I hope he wins.
CrumbledWalnuts well said.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 13:36:51

Thanks smile I think the Blob is quite a well used term among educational reformers.


BoffinMum Mon 27-May-13 13:39:02

That's crap, Catherine. Teachers are as diverse a crowd as the rest of the middle classes, constituting 10% of the graduate population. The idea that they have formed a left wing fundamentalist regime hell bent on low achievement groupthink at all costs is totally bonkers. Listen to yourself! Just because the Blob article sells copies of magazines does not mean there's any truth or even sense in it.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 13:43:54

"Teachers are as diverse a crowd as the rest of the middle classes"

You wouldn't think so. Also don't forget many of them have been taught at an impressionable age about the "child led "philosophy at universities so probably bought in without question. Many too will have been victims of a poor primary education themselves and don't see anything wrong with it, just think it's normal.

BoffinMum Mon 27-May-13 13:44:13

While I am at it, can I just say that the Enemies of Promise quotation was taken completely out of context and was originally intended pretty much the opposite to what Gove indicated. Another piece of journalist folderoy from a former leader writer who is a better polemicist than he is cabinet minister.

ipadquietly Mon 27-May-13 13:45:01

copthall I was just about to make the same observations about my O levels. In my 7 years at a girls' grammar school, we remained blithely ignorant of colons, semi-colons and ellipsis, along with all the structural aspects of the English language!

As you so rightly said, it was all about regurgitation of dictated notes. I even did calculus in my physics A level, even though I'd not done it in maths - I just copied down the nice patterns! It was a memory test - fabulous for those of us with good short term memories. Pub quiz education at its best.

There was no discussion or debate, which left many of us at a complete disadvantage when we arrived at university.

ipadquietly Mon 27-May-13 13:51:00

What 'child-led' philosophy would that be crumbled?

BoffinMum Mon 27-May-13 13:55:10

Do you even know what child centred means, Crumbed? Or the origins of this as a theory?

It actually was developed a century or so ago as a way of bringing order and structure into the lives and education of the deprived working classes. The middle and upper classes later appropriated it as a more humane system of learning than memorisation twinned with physical punishment. It was also a force behind the initiative to train people who worked with children, for the first time, led in time to educational equality for boys and girls, and led to a more modern system of education that lends itself pretty well to an economy not focused around most people working in factories etc engaged in repetitive tasks whilst being strictly timed and controlled.

Most learning in schools has now embedded the equality/creativity aspects of this approach, but moved on from the rest of it. Learning now focuses on different theoretical basis, namely deep vs surface learning.

If people are going to slag off education like this, at least define your terms properly instead if just spouting poorly informed bigots. Otherwise you are just being intellectually negligent.

BoffinMum Mon 27-May-13 14:04:04

Plus if this country spent as much searching for and supporting scientific and mathematical talent as it did dubious creative/sleb talent via X Factor and Big Brother and Britschools and so on, we'd all be a lot better off. But oh no, we blame the teachers. Even though they are just about the only people in this country bothering to nurture any of the nation's academic talent at the moment.


ipadquietly Mon 27-May-13 14:13:47

Hear, hear boffin.

Gove and DM journos often quote (with derision) the 'child-led approach to learning' that we all so ardently follow, and the country recoils in horror.

The power of the media, eh?

BoffinMum Mon 27-May-13 14:16:04

Give me child led over journalist led education any day.

noblegiraffe Mon 27-May-13 14:18:01

Is he talking about union opposition to academies and independent schools?

Who knows, because it sure as hell isn't clear from his article.

BoffinMum Mon 27-May-13 14:21:26

Also Crumbed, it is immensely fashionable to slag off experts of all persuasions at the moment. But just think for a minute. Why do you think they a) bother to become experts, and b) get consulted by others on a regular basis, if the expert is effectively surplus to requirements?

BoffinMum Mon 27-May-13 14:22:56

Unions are against adverse selection as well as slashing their members' pay and benefits.

Interestingly MPs are known to play this game quite regularly in their own interests as well.

BoffinMum Mon 27-May-13 14:24:34

Crumbed's gone quiet. Perhaps she's actually doing her homework on this.

Feenie Mon 27-May-13 14:45:16

From our school's Ofsted inspection last week, I can tell you that theiy are extremely keen on child-led education, and want more - more child led enquiry, less teacher input.

Feenie Mon 27-May-13 14:48:08


Copthallresident Mon 27-May-13 14:51:25

I would just like to add that all these supposed Marxists are doing a really poor job of indoctrinating our youth. We have to lay on special seminars to educate our Master's students in what Marxism actually is, before they embark on studying a country run by actual Marxists. Actually one of the country's whose education system Gove admires grin

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 15:06:50

Gosh, I didn't post for an hour, shoot me now.

Funny how teachers always bemoan "blaming the teachers". I see teachers blaming everything for dropping standards - change, cuts, society, bad upbringing, parents, children themselves, changing statistics, lack of resources (during all that time money was pumped in under Labour and nothing improved?) Never - what we teach and how we teach it.

Is it fashionable, Boffin, I had no idea. Mind you as a teacher I would have thought you approve of people thinking for themselves. Hoist-petard and all that.

ipadquietly Mon 27-May-13 15:07:02

I think the phrase 'child-led learning' is used by Govey and journos deliberately to mislead. People assume that it means that there is no teaching taking place, and that children are just choosing what to do each day. There is no mention of 'deep vs surface learning', which, as boffin explained so well, evolved from child-led learning.

I actually remember doing 'real' child-led learning in the late 60s at primary school. My friend and I were given a triangle and were told to find out things about it. it took weeks, and we had a little special folder to keep the triangle and all our triangle-related discoveries in. Needless to say, it was a very empty folder (apart from our triangle, of course). We received no teacher input for weeks. I have a vague memory of it being Nuffield maths?

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 15:07:30

Perhaps you aren't a teacher Boffin, but I won't call it "doing you a disservice". Because I don't think it is.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 15:18:48

Thought I should point out that Gove's half-baked ideas are as much hated amongst right wing independent school teachers and parents as they are amongst 'the blob'.

Feenie Mon 27-May-13 15:19:16

I see teachers blaming everything for dropping standards - change, cuts, society, bad upbringing, parents, children themselves, changing statistics, lack of resources (during all that time money was pumped in under Labour and nothing improved?) Never - what we teach and how we teach it.

KS2 test results in 1997 (when Labour were elected):
English 63% Maths 62%

KS2 results (after all that time under Labour when money was pumped in):
English 80% Maths 79%

Not very accurate to say nothing improved then, is it?

I realise that good teaching could never be the reason for the improvement, of course not.

I am not particularly a Labour supporter, btw - just bored of even more lazy pontificatiing which is, as usual, short on facts.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 15:28:08

fFive candles - not quite true.

Feenie - that all depends on whether you think things really did improve or whether they were just made to look like they improved.

The facts as you see them may not actually be the facts.

ipadquietly Mon 27-May-13 15:31:33

'The facts as you see them may not actually be the facts.'

confused Can you explain what the facts are then, crumbled?

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 15:32:37

Also there seems to be some idea that people just think the way I do because of "fashion" or the media.

I can't speak for everyone, but only for me. After seeing what goes on in schools I've thought this way for a long time - nothing to do with some kind of trend. It's why I was happy the Tories got in and why it was such a relief when Mr Gove voiced exactly my thoughts (and those of so many mothers I'd had this conversation with).

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 15:33:33

Ipad: you've probably heard them explained before: about how results don't reflect substantive achievement and knowledge acquired.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 15:33:54

don't necessarily

Feenie Mon 27-May-13 15:38:14

You can't have it both ways - you said nothing improved.

Presumably, the extra 5% and 4% improvements under Gove are also 'made to look like they improved', yes?

Be consistent, now.

An education professional can see the facts extremely clearly, btw - threshold boundaries which may be cynically moved, particularly when close to an election year, against genuine improvement. I am able to look at a 1997 reading paper and a 2013 one and can accurately assess whether the questions are more or less difficult. I know how carefully performance is measured, and how hard children now work compared to 20 years ago.

All the public can do is listen to the media full of soundbites but short on fact, use anecdotal evidence from their child's experience, or listen to an Education Secretary who refuses to listen to anyone.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 15:40:32

It is true Crumbled. Even Oxford university thinks decisions like scrapping AS exams are a retrograde step. Gove's only fans are people who assume (wrongly) that his policies will somehow raise standards and don't fully understand the implications.

For example, there is no evidence that making exams harder improves standards. It's likely to be counterproductive as more kids will simply give up plus either grade boundaries will go down to ensure results don't dip or this government will be the first to have to take responsibility for worsening exam results which is unlikely to be seen as a good thing by anybody.

ipadquietly Mon 27-May-13 15:47:02

'Mr Gove voiced exactly my thoughts'

What were your thoughts, crumbled? What is it that you agree so wholeheartedly with?

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 16:04:05

Well no, Feenie, because his efforts towards improvement acknowledge the problems of degrading in the past.

I'm not having it both ways - roughly speaking - I said things didn't improve - you said they did and quoted stats - I said you can't trust the stats.

Do you know what it means to say "having it both ways?" It means saying two things that contradict each other. Someone who did that would be inconsistent. That's quite a different thing but I guess you could get it mixed up either accidentally or on purpose.

You're really missing the mark with me by referring me to educational experts and educational professionals. I think you might read my posts above and you'd realise it quite quickly!

Ipad: that children were learning less, that more rigour was needed, that standards were dropping, teachers were not motivating children, schools were pandering to disadvantage and that some children were working a lot harder to learn a lot less.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 16:07:02

Crumbled, what is your response to my post above.

Making exams harder does not improve standards.

If exams get harder there are two options:

a) grade boundaries are set lower so the same number of pupils achieve A, B, C etc

b) fewer children achieve A, B, C etc and the government is the first government to have to take responsibility for what will appear to be a FALL in standards.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 16:13:03

If you make exams harder you have to teach children more "stuff" to help them pass the exams.

If you teach children exactly the same "stuff" and make the exams harder then grades will fall. The education of the children won't be any different. They will still know the same amount of "stuff". I don't think it's a good idea to elide the importance of grades and the importance of the "stuff" learned.

You say:
b) fewer children achieve A, B, C etc and the government is the first government to have to take responsibility for what will appear to be a FALL in standards.

Standards would be the same, as you acknowledge. So unless the curriculum is changed, or teachers change, there would be a fall in grades. But not a fall in standards. But Mr Gove also wants to change the curriculum, improve the rigour and widen the "stuff".

The point of making exams harder is to improve the preparation of the children for the exams, that is, teach them more "stuff". Grades aren't an end in themselves. It would be a mistake to think that; unfortunately a mistake made by Labour to very devastating effect.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 16:19:07

Hmm...you don't really know much about education do you Crumbled? Education is not just about teaching 'stuff' and making exams harder or improving rigour is definitely not about increasing the amount of 'stuff' being taught.

Some subjects such as English are almost entirely skills-based and making them about teaching and getting kids to regurgitate stuff would, in fact, make them easier.

However, put that to one side, I'm interested in what you, and others, might see as the advantage of fewer students achieving high grades.

One consequence might be that fewer kids go on to university. Maybe you see that as an advantage but I wonder where you think they will go instead?

ipadquietly Mon 27-May-13 16:20:49

Rigour: the quality of being extremely thorough and careful

So more 'rigour' is needed.
All the academies and free schools can devise their own curricula (that's around 2,055 different curricula, as of February 2013).
All maintained schools have to follow the 'national curriculum' (that's one curriculum).
Is that a reliable way to track and raise standards? How can progress in each school be compared? What will happen when children move schools? How will it impact on forces children?

How can you say 'teachers were not motivating children'? That's a bland and generalised statement with no basis on fact at all.

How can children work harder to learn a lot less? That doesn't make sense.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 16:22:00

Under the old O Level system fewer people achieved high grades but there is no evidence that 'standards' were higher. More kids were put off education and more kids went into manual work.

You cannot turn back the clock in education when the social and economic context is so different.

This is what is so stupid about Gove's policies. They seem entirely motivated by his personal experience of education and turning the clock back to a golden age that never really existed or was only 'golden' for the very few, who like Gove, were privileged enough to access it.

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 27-May-13 16:22:39

"He's seen too many children let down by child led "learning""

If gove considers child led learning to be bad why is it such a major requirement for an ofsted outstanding lesson?

"But Mr Gove also wants to change the curriculum, improve the rigour and widen the "stuff"."

but he doesn't want to widen the curriculum. He wants an academic curriculum taught by rote and a vocational curriculum.

It didn't work 50 odd years ago and it won't work now.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 16:22:51

"Hmm...you don't really know much about education do you Crumbled?"

Hmm that looks like a smear. Don't you like debate?

You assume that by "stuff" I mean "facts". That would be a mistake

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 16:23:56

And I repeat that you are very mistaken if you think that independent school teachers and right wing teachers and educators are in favour of Gove's policies. Anybody who understands them realizes they are absolute nonsense. I work in an independent school where Gove is as despised as the state school where I used to work.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 16:25:47

There should be a full stop after mistake.

By stuff I mean all the component parts of a rounded and full education. Anyone who assumes I mean facts would need to manage their own prejudice.

Care to respond to my post now that I've clarified that for you?

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 16:26:30

What exactly do you mean by teaching 'more stuff' then Crumbled because for all the world you sound like Gradgrind in Hard Times:

' such terms, no doubt, substituting the words 'boys and girls', for 'sir', Thomas Gradgrind now presented Thomas Gradgrind to the little pitchers before him, who were to be filled so full of facts.

Indeed, as he eagerly sparkled at them from the cellarage before mentioned, he seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts, and prepared to blow them clean out of the regions of childhood at one discharge. He seemed a galvanizing apparatus, too, charged with a grim mechanical substitute for the tender young imaginations that were to be stormed away.'

Sound familiar?

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 16:26:53

Fivecandles: I have my own anecdotes. Are we talking anecdotes?

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 16:28:21

'By stuff I mean all the component parts of a rounded and full education'

Exactly which of these 'component parts' have been missing, Crumbled?

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 16:29:33

Fivecandlesl: x post: I refer you to my post above and to my use of the work prejudice.

I am over-familiar with Dickens' works, thanks, and about the requirements of English Language and Literature. I'm an English graduate. I wouldn't have got too far without either rote learning or analytical skills.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 16:30:07

Are you going to respond to my post about the gradings any time?

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 16:31:19

Not an anecdote, no, that was a direct quotation from Chapter Two of Hard Times by Charles Dickens. I've been teaching Dickens for the last 15 years so he's obviously not one of the 'component parts' even though he must have been absent from your own education.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 16:31:42

X post again:

Exactly which of these 'component parts' have been missing, Crumbled?

Judging by your Dickens reference you yourself don't seem to have a very high opinion of facts, for a start. I've seen that in the classroom before.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 16:32:39

I work in an independent school where Gove is as despised as the state school where I used to work.

I know what a direct quote is - do you know what an anecdote is?

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 16:34:09

I don't think you responded to my post about gradings. You have not explained the advantage of fewer kids getting higher grades. Clearly, that would not provide evidence of standards improving would it?

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 16:37:15

I have no idea what you're talking about Crumbled and I'm not sure you do either. You responded to my quotation about Gradgrind (which sounds scarily like your own attitude towards education) by asking me if I was dealing with 'anecdotes'? I explained quite patiently that it wasn't an anecdote but a quotation so I'm left wondering why on earth you're still going on about anecdotes.


Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 16:38:09

Here is my response to your post about gradings. You didn't miss it as you tried to make it about the word "stuff" rather than the substantive point about how grades are less important than the "stuff" learned.

*If you make exams harder you have to teach children more "stuff" to help them pass the exams.

If you teach children exactly the same "stuff" and make the exams harder then grades will fall. The education of the children won't be any different. They will still know the same amount of "stuff". I don't think it's a good idea to elide the importance of grades and the importance of the "stuff" learned.

You say:
b) fewer children achieve A, B, C etc and the government is the first government to have to take responsibility for what will appear to be a FALL in standards.

Standards would be the same, as you acknowledge. So unless the curriculum is changed, or teachers change, there would be a fall in grades. But not a fall in standards. But Mr Gove also wants to change the curriculum, improve the rigour and widen the "stuff".

The point of making exams harder is to improve the preparation of the children for the exams, that is, teach them more "stuff". Grades aren't an end in themselves. It would be a mistake to think that; unfortunately a mistake made by Labour to very devastating effect.*

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 16:40:20

And if you are going to insist that standards in education have been missing you really must support that assertion by explaining what exactly the 'component parts of a rounded and full education' are that have been missing.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 16:44:16

FGS crumbled, even Gove has not suggested that the problem with education is the lack of 'stuff' being taught. That's your own very particular take on the debate.

And you have yet to explain what stuff you feel has been absent

Teaching more stuff does not mean that kids are going to learn the stuff or that standards would improve.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 16:45:46

If 'stuff' does not mean 'facts' then what does it mean?

What 'stuff', for example, has not been taught in English or Maths which has meant that in your view there has been a lack of rigour in education and standards have deteriorated.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 16:53:42

Dodgy internet connection.

Don't try to smear me with your lack of understanding - we cross posted a couple of time so you probably lost track.

Gove has not suggested that the problem with education is the lack of 'stuff' being taught.

Again with the stuff comment. It may be an easy approach for you, but I think you know exactly what I meant, as I explained it above, and you are a teacher, so you should understand the meaning of the words "all the components of a full and rounded education".

I see a really sad obsession with grades. What makes you think Michael Gove shares it?

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 16:55:33

All the evidence is that he doesn't. He's obsessed with standards. Indeed, he's willing to sacrifice himself to poor grade PR (with maintained standards) in the long term hope of improving real substantive standards. (My child is a victim of this at the moment. I only hope that employers and universities realise that lower grades this year don't mean lower standards.)

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 16:56:01

And now you can respond to my post about gradings: I've repeated it.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 16:57:19

'so you should understand the meaning of the words "all the components of a full and rounded education".'


That statement may mean something to you but it means nothing at all to me or probably anybody else.

If you assert that there have been things missing from the curriculum that have meant our kids have not been receiving 'a full and rounded education', that have resulted in a lack of rigour and standards deteriorating then you must explain what these things are.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 17:00:48

Crumbled, I don't think you've understood my point at all.

Suppose Gove does add this mysterious 'stuff' to the curriculum, where is your evidence that this will improve standards and rigour?

If there are many kids that struggle to get their heads around the curriculum as it is then adding to it is going to mean there is more things for them to struggle with isn't it?

So, either grade boundaries go down or grades do.

Either way standards have not gone up.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 17:01:17

I'm bored now. If you're a teacher and you don't have any idea at all what that might mean it's not worth the convo. Bye.

CatherineofMumbles Mon 27-May-13 17:04:07

'WTF' says Fivecandles.
From an English teacher/ Nice. hmm

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 17:04:22

Some people argue that O Levels were harder than GCSEs and yet there is no evidence that standards were any higher then or that there was any more rigour.

And the context was different. More people went into unskilled or partially skilled work rather than staying on in education but society and the economy has changed even if Gove doesn't recognize that and doesn't recognize that we need a modern education system for a modern society and turning back edcuation to the 1950s is not going to help our economy or society as it is now.

ipadquietly Mon 27-May-13 17:06:01

And then there are those 2,055+1 (and counting) curricula to deal with. I daresay some will have 'stuff', and some won't.
And who will know? confused

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 17:07:05

'I'm bored now'

Meaning that you have absolutely nothing to add to the debate except hot air.

You've asserted that there is a lack of 'stuff' in the curriculum which is preventing a full and rounded education and getting in the way of rigour and leading to a decline in standards.

But you are absolutely unable to suggest one thing that is missing.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 17:08:47

'If you're a teacher and you don't have any idea at all what that might mean'

How on earth am I supposed to know what you think is missing if you don't tell me??

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 17:11:14

NO fivecandles - meaning I'm bored by your deliberate misunderstanding and misinterpretation and swearing and exclamatory tone.

I really hope it's deliberate. If you really, really don't know what "all the components of a full and rounded education" might be, and you're not just pretending for the sake of awkwardness, then that is very worrying, coming from a teacher.

Copthallresident Mon 27-May-13 17:11:40

Crumbled From Head of one of country's most selective indies "History as narrative was set aside by the National Curriculum and GCSE reforms of the 1980s as lacking in rigour and as an unappealing exercise, in the regurgitation of dates and facts. It is now being posited as the central pillar of the new curriculum. While narrative history has its place, particularly when dealing with the broad sweeps of history, so do other approaches, and no attempt at reform should be allowed to place the analytical skills history is so good at imparting in jeopardy." In their judgement, and mine as an academic historian, Gove's reforms will achieve the opposite of greater rigour. "Stuff" is exactly what Gove is proposed that children will be taught, one bit of it after another, as opposed to analytical skills, the ability to develop an argument and to reach an opinion based on a balanced appraisal of the issues and evidence.....oh and that History in all it's dimensions is fascinating.

LoopyLooplaHoop Mon 27-May-13 17:16:46

Gove is making the British education system the laughing stock of the international education world.

Until very recently, private and international schools chose the UK NC, along with GCSEs and A levels, as a trustworthy and rigorous qualification structure. It is so unstable now, with Gove at the helm, that the IB and IGCSE are being taken on by more and more previously British-curriculum international schools.

In a few short years, our country's status as providers of a robust and rigorous curriculum will be decimated.

As a British teacher in an international school in Asia, I find his campaign frankly embarrassing.

He talks of trying to emulate Asian teaching methods, when in actual fact the Asian elite were (until recently) choosing a British education for their kids. Now the preferred option is IB. Asian schools across the continent, both state and private, are moving away from rote learning towards the active and pupil enquiry-led methods that Gove dislikes so much.

I don't fully understand Gove's motives, but I suspect it has a lot more to do with ego and legacy than it does with proper academic improvement. He certainly is hell-bent on making significant changes, and it worries me that, not only is he continuing to ignore most proper advice from specialists, but he is being supported by his fellow cabinet members in this endeavour.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 17:19:34

That quote doesn't at all say history as a narrative doesn't have a place. It just says it should go with analytical skills. And?

By the way, you're making the same mistake with "stuff" as fivecandles - a mistake I'm bored by.

Your sentence should say

""Stuff" - or all the components of a full and rounded history education- is exactly what Gove is proposing that children will be taught."

That's something I happen to agree with. But I'm really bored by the idea that facts are the work of the devil. Really, really bored by it. Thank goodness for Michael Gove.

Feenie Mon 27-May-13 17:21:48

'WTF' says Fivecandles.
From an English teacher/ Nice. hmm

That remark is beyond ridiculous, Catherine. If you do have some ludicrous notion that teachers in posting on an adult forum should not use sweary acronyms, then bloody well keep it to yourself fgs.

nlondondad Mon 27-May-13 17:26:29

by the way, I am not a teacher and so would be really interested to know what the phrase

"all the components of a full and rounded education" actually means. Could Crumbled walnuts please explain?

LoopyLooplaHoop Mon 27-May-13 17:27:09

Or FFS perhaps? wink

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 17:32:55

NorthLondon, I share your interest in what teachers think it means. At least one here seems to have no clue at all.

Facts, the ability to analyse them; any diversity of opinions and the ability to critically analyse those; the ability to use knowledge to arrive at new conclusions; to devise experiments and studies across fields and analyse the results. One could write pages about the different subjects.

LoopyLooplaHoop Mon 27-May-13 17:38:28

^ ^ this is the problem with Goveism.

Pages and pages already exist on criteria for success and key learning points for each subject. We don't need to start all over again.

ipadquietly Mon 27-May-13 17:39:11

Are children not taught facts at the moment, crumbled?

Surely education these days is a mixture of facts, skills, debate, creative thinking, investigation, analysis and evaluation? It certainly is at my primary school.

When my ds did GCSE history he was certainly learning dates and facts. Maybe it's been dumbed down over the last 5 years... he also did some really interesting analysis of social history, which I would have loved to have done at school.

Feenie Mon 27-May-13 17:41:59

NorthLondon, I share your interest in what teachers think it means. At least one here seems to have no clue at all.

I think NorthLondonDad wanted to know what YOU thought it meant, crumbled - as did most people on the thread. Fivecandles knows perfectly well, but had also asked you several times what you thought it meant. Quite different.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 17:42:38

I was asked for that Loopy; apparently some people have no idea what an education is?

No, Ipad, many facts are not taught. Much of geography for example consists of social geography in which the facts are highly changeable, and the interpretations of which are difficult to master without a sound basic knowledge of borders and capitals (which is not taught, not in my children's experience).

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 17:45:27

Feenie: I'm not sure about that. Unless, after I'd explained, the misunderstanding and misrepresentation was entirely deliberate.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 17:45:52

Were entirely deliberate.

Copthallresident Mon 27-May-13 17:51:22

Crumbled The Head rightly points out that what Gove is proposing will actually go back to an approach discarded in the 80s as dry and lacking rigour. He is doing precisely what they suggest, imposing a chronological approach at the expense of the opportunity to analyse certain aspects of History in more depth. Have you looked at the curriculum? The sheer volume of factual information teachers will be required to impart, and remember that the first half of Gove's version of history will be taught by non specialist teachers in primary schools because obviously History got more complex and harder to understand as it went along hmm, precludes the opportunity that students currently have to explore certain aspects of History in greater detail and depth. Also let us not forget that the only other world governments who pick and choose which facts their children learn about History are actually Marxist, using History as a political tool is the antithesis of the liberal enlightened education Gove claims to champion.

That is why only 4% of the members of the Historical Association, which comprise teachers and university academics in every shade from red to blue, and every state of tweediness and enthusiasm for the study of the past, think his proposals are a positive change. And why even those who supported his proposals and were involved in the consultation have turned their backs on him. As I quoted upthread

"Steven Mastin, head of history at a school in Cambridge, who worked alongside historian Simon Schama as an adviser to Gove, said the curriculum bore "no resemblance" to the drafts he worked on as late as last month. Mastin said he approved of Gove's aims in revamping the curriculum, but the proposed version failed to offer children the broad and balanced education that had been promised.

Mastin, who stood for the Tories at the last general election, said: "Between January and the publication of this document – which no one involved in the consultation process had seen – someone has typed it up and I have no idea who that is. It would be scary if we become the only nation in the western world to not teach anything beyond our shores." "

If you think what Gove is proposing will deliver rigour and the components of a full and rounded history education then you are in a small minority, certainly of those who really understand and care about the study of History.

ipadquietly Mon 27-May-13 17:54:26

crumbled I'd actually agree with you about geography. I don't think applies to any other subject though.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 17:59:21

Copthall: it's obviously a strong reaction to what has gone before, and a radical attempt to forestall and remove the gaps and imbalance of history education for the last two decades. Teachers should have complained about that - the in depth study of some periods for which there was no context, no broad sweep, the ability to pick and choose modules bearing no relation to each other, leaving vast lakes of interconnecting knowledge untouched. And the taking and retaking of modules, not to acquire more knowledge but to achieve better grades by dint of key words, phrases, soures. Did you complain about that? Did you campaign? Those who didn't have no credibility for me when they complain about these changes.

Maybe it's been dumbed down over the last 5 years. The experiences of my children go back much longer than five years.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 18:00:21

Ipad, thanks, but there's no reason to think it doesn't. History, for a start.

Copthallresident Mon 27-May-13 18:01:40

ipad Just one of the two module of my daughters AS exams involved more events and dates than I learned for my final A level exams and certainly a good deal more understanding of the economic and social issues as well as the political. The History GCSE is notoriously demanding.

ipadquietly Mon 27-May-13 18:18:54

Ds certainly learnt 'facts' for GCSE history, and covered more than I did for O level. I remember sitting down making a complicated flow chart with him to work out what was happening. What fun we had. hmm

He also did AS geography. That was 'stuffed' with facts. However, I think it would have been useful for him to get some basic knowledge of where places / counties are at primary school.

Copthallresident Mon 27-May-13 18:19:03

I am happy to defend the current curriculum, chronology is useful for studying broad sweeps of history but it really is overrated, timelines are not rocket science. I gained a good appreciation of the broad sweep of British and World History by reading a few Ladybird books. However what I didn't gain from my education was the fascination that my girls have developed about the past, through for instance the chance to understand the role women played in the past or the chance to understand the history of other cultures, something I was ill equipped to do when I went to live in one (and many more of our DCs will need those skills in the global marketplaces of the future). Noone says a curriculum shouldn't change and develop. I am quite prepared to for instance to concede Niall Ferguson's point that we should introduce a little more balance into the appraisal of the history of Empire for instance, even the Chinese can concede Mao was a mixture of good and bad. But throw the baby out with the bathwater? If there is one thing History teaches us it's that swinging to extremes never works out well.

However when it comes to the shoddy marking of exams via ticksheets that fail to allow room for well argued and evidenced essays that diverge from the template then yes there does need to be change.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 18:23:23

That's a more interesting and thoughtful post and I appreciate the tone - I also see value in what you've written about.

Copthallresident Mon 27-May-13 18:26:53

ditto the fun learning the 10 page tables of country timelines for the Scramble for Africa hmm

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 27-May-13 18:30:46

"Those who didn't have no credibility for me when they complain about these changes"

So your arguement has no basis. Very much like gove 'i am right and everyone else is wrong'.

It is also very telling that you throw buzzwords around and don't explain yourself, and avoid telling people what you think they mean by belittling other posters for not knowing your thoughts on the subject.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 18:33:39

Some "facts" are useful without a great deal of analysis and critical thought, and I think it's wrong to imagine that a curriculum should be weighed down by analysis once the facts are under the belt. The facts, for example, about which African, Asian and South American countries were occupied by which European governments. A simple "recall" knowledge of this would help hugely with understanding of many subsequent events, conflicts and political developments. This can be taught without an entire module on the imperialistic efforts of every individual nation, the internal problems it caused, or even how they came to acquire independence. This is the sort of thing denounced as Gradgrindism. I think it's valuable.

Talkinpeace Mon 27-May-13 18:35:52

Grade boundaries : O Levels and A levels used to be graded according to the Normal distribution. Personally I'd like to see a return to that.
Because if you got an A it would mean you were in the top 10% nationally in that subject.
Gettng grade B would mean you were in the top 25%
and, yes, there are statistical variations between cohorts but they are tiny compared with the grade inflation that resulted in over half of Chemistry A level students getting Grade A or above last year

and yes, the current system attempts to even out the academic rigour of subjects (far more A grades are awarded in pure sciences than Media Studies) but the public perception is that it has failed.

Child Centred Learning : in laymans terms it means trying to explain the lesson in such a way that the pupils actually understand what they have been taught rather than just being able to parrot it back (as is the system in China for example) without comprehension.
Child centred learning leads to analytical development - which is why the UK turns out the best design engineers in the world, bar none.

Curriculum design : I'm sorry but Ministers should get their greasy little paws out of it - full stop. Private schools do not let them : and UK private schools are the most successful in the world - go figure

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 18:37:45

So your arguement has no basis.

No, Boneyback; I think they were wrong then so I have a reason, a basis, for believing their judgement is flawed. That's an evidence based decision. A lot of people agree with me about those sorts of problems too, so I'm not the only on who thinks that judgement was flawed.

It is also very telling that you throw buzzwords around and don't explain yourself, and avoid telling people what you think they mean by belittling other posters for not knowing your thoughts on the subject.

You're mixing me up with people who've not read my explanations (perhaps you're one of them?) and with the people who've tried to deliberately misunderstand those explanations, and occasionally belittle me. That was one of the reasons I got bored, but it's just getting a bit more interesting now so I'm not going to bother with side-sniping (though feel free to carry on - I just won't respond)

BoffinMum Mon 27-May-13 18:39:43
fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 18:44:02

'f you really, really don't know what "all the components of a full and rounded education" '

Crumbled, it means different things to different people. I would like to know what it means to YOU. As in, what SPECIFICALLY is missing that you think is missing.

I'm not quite sure why you think I should or could guess what is in your mind. How peculiar.

And why on earth why don't you just tell us since you feel so strongly about it.

ipadquietly Mon 27-May-13 18:44:49

But ministers are keeping their greasy little paws out of curriculum design in academies and free schools.

Maybe (if what you say about private schools is true, talkingpeace), Gove is introducing a rubbish 'national' curriculum so that the maintained schools will fail and he will force them to become academies? grin

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 18:46:05

Fivecandles I did, have a look (bored).

Talkinpeace Mon 27-May-13 18:46:44

that was filmed at Haberdashers Askes : holy crap, if he bores them : and they knew they were being filmed : it says it all

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 27-May-13 18:48:42


Your arguement has no basis as your mind is closed to any response that does not fit your understanding of the situation.

You're mixing me up with people who've not read my explanations (perhaps you're one of them?) and with the people who've tried to deliberately misunderstand those explanations, and occasionally belittle me. That was one of the reasons I got bored, but it's just getting a bit more interesting now so I'm not going to bother with side-sniping (though feel free to carry on - I just won't respond)"

So that is my second point proven.

"side-sniping " - "(perhaps you're one of them?)" pot and kettle.

and you still haven't defined "stuff".

Talkinpeace Mon 27-May-13 18:49:54

But ministers are keeping their greasy little paws out of curriculum design in academies and free schools
sadly not : because Sponsored Academies are starting to topple over after bad Ofsted inspections
And non sponsored Academies are being set up to fail.

Academies are still "maintained" : if you live in the catchment of an academy and are in the 93% of the population who cannot afford private school, the Academy will have to take you in eventually

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 18:51:49

Crumbled, you mentioned one thing about Geography. I'm assuming you think, that, in itself, would not provide a 'full and rounded education'.

So, what would?

If you believe so strongly that those are missing, then you should tell us what needs adding to the current curriculum.

What about English and Maths for example?

I'm not quite sure why you find it boring to defend your strongly held beliefs. It's you who made the assertion in the first place.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 18:54:43

'Maybe (if what you say about private schools is true, talkingpeace), Gove is introducing a rubbish 'national' curriculum so that the maintained schools will fail and he will force them to become academies?'

One interesting thing I'm noticing at the moment is that schools, including state schools, are abandoning the GCSE in droves in favour of the IGCSE which was once seen as more rigorous than GCSE but now isn't.

The changes afoot in GCSE English are going to make it so universally unpopular that it might end up untenable since so many are defecting to IGCSE.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 18:57:20

It's boring because it's not a proper conversation - it's the misunderstanding and not reading things (not by me), and various other phrases used. I thought it had gone away, but it hasn't, and it's just such a waste of time.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 18:58:42

Also, people, like crumbled, assume that Gove is including 'more stuff' in the curriculum but, as he is getting rid of things like coursework, the opposite will be true because it is simply not possible to assess everything via terminal exam.

It's just one more example of where Gove's assumption that a return to the 1950s necessarily equals more 'rigour' without understanding that the reverse is true or the enormity of the implications.

Same with getting rid of AS. Gove's assumption again, is more rigour, but as Oxford university has pointed out, it will mean less social mobility as universities will no longer be able to identify gifted students from humble backgrounds via their AS results.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 19:01:15

Fivecandles: again with the deliberate misunderstanding of "stuff", after I've explained several times. This would probably happen, whatever I posted in answer to your questions. Whatever is the point in trying to answer them? The same thing will only happen again.

noblegiraffe Mon 27-May-13 19:01:20

I can tell you what maths gcse needs - to be replaced with a double award. Like Carol Vorderman recommended in her Gove-commissioned report into maths education. But Gove seems to be dragging his heels over it. Why? There's a pilot study which has been going on for some time now...but it was started by Labour. Is that why he's hesitating?

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 19:01:23

Crumbled, there is no misunderstanding. It's a simple question:

What do YOU think is missing in the curriculum that would lead to a more full and rounded education?

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 19:02:50

Oh yes, there's deliberate misunderstanding, and after your penultimate post shows, no doubt there'll be more. There's no point and it's boring boring boring. Just think what you think, and I'll think what I think. So what?

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 19:03:28

We wouldn't 'misunderstand' you if you explained what you mean.

What do you mean by the additional 'stuff'? What specfically would you have in the curriculum that isn't already taught?

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 19:04:30

There we are again. I have explained. In fact I've given a couple of examples. You've chosen not to read, or to deliberately misunderstand, and it's verging on goading. Not a game I really want to waste my time playing.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 19:04:59

But crumbled we don't know what you think because you won't tell us.

Saying it's 'boring' when asked to explain your position is extraordinarily childish.

It's the sort of thing my 6 year old might say when she knows she's in the wrong.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 19:05:25

You gave ONE example about Geography.

What about English and Maths?

What is missing?

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 19:06:54

You realize it would take no longer to explain what is missing than it would to write that you're wasting your time?

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 19:08:15

There we are again with the insults - is it really any wonder I've no interest in the conversation? Are you deliberately saying things to make it so unpleasant to take part in the conversation that you can then say - Oh, I'm right, she couldn't answer me so she went away?

I have, literally no interest in explaining anything more to you. Maybe if Copthall comes back I'll read more of what she (he?) has got to say.

Crumbledwalnuts Mon 27-May-13 19:09:25

Yes - I do - I just don't want to play a stupid game after the performance of deliberate misunderstanding and smears earlier on. I'm putting my trousers on to take the dog out smile I can do it one-handed.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 19:10:46

Crumbled, you're just avoiding the issue.

What is the stuff that you think is missing from the curriculum?

You said it, so explain.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 19:12:33

Crumbled, surely you can see how you appear to other posters. It would take no longer to write a couple of things that you think are missing in the curriculum as it would to write that you're taking the dog out.

Could it be that you can't actually think of anything?

BoffinMum Mon 27-May-13 19:15:23

Well, I know what's missing. Practical science, instrumental music lessons, elite professional sports coaching, proper cookery. All things it is expensive for schools to provide.

creamteas Mon 27-May-13 19:30:14

I did O levels and I as I was lucky enough to have a good memory, I memorized 'stuff' and regurgitated it. I had no real understanding of much of it, and even less ability to undertake critical analysis.

I did learn capital cities, countries, battle dates and biographies. Most of which is completely redundant (especially the geog facts as so many countries have change borders and names since then!).

In contrast my DC have been taught to understand history and geography as processes and to look for and analyze the evidence. And given they can access the 'facts' 24/7 on the internet, this is a lot more important.

I teach at a university. We assess by different methods including presentations, coursework and open book and seen question exams. Why? Because terminal unseen exams are not a good measure of intellectual understanding. Oh and good lecturers design their modules for student-centred learning ;)

Gove, thankfully, can't do much about this as we are BIS rather than DfE.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 19:38:46

Practical science IS part of the curriculum and always has been as is cookery although I agree there should probably be more of this. Music lessons and sports coaching have always been extra-curricular and I think that's probably right and proper.

fivecandles Mon 27-May-13 19:39:10

But offered routinely in schools which it usually is.

Talkinpeace Mon 27-May-13 19:57:42

as somebody who did GCE s at a gels private school in the 1970s and I still have my revision books from that time on my bookshelves, I can list what has moved from one curriculum to the other BUT the reasons for the moves are often based on the development of knowledge.

Please, challenge me
(all others are welcome to do the same).
Specify three things that are no longer in the curriculum that you think should be / Gove will bring back for:


and if you are truly right

(in that order by the way)

CatherineofMumbles Tue 28-May-13 09:18:31

Teachers would have more credibility of they were open to reasoned debate on specific issues, rather than just a simple knee-jerk reaction to anything that involves change, or letting the light in from the real world.
We have come to expect nonsense form the NUT conferences and the ridiculous Ms Blower, but when parents, and indeed non-parents, see HTs behaving in a juvenile way and simply taking an entrenched attitude towards an person or a government, all credibility is lost, and people are bound to wonder why they are so 'anti' everything, without positive suggestions (other than, inevitably, 'give us more money!' grin)

Feenie Tue 28-May-13 09:40:40

see HTs behaving in a juvenile way

I don't know what you mean - could you explain, please?

Again, your post is so short on actual facts that it simply looks as if you have swallowed a DM comments section. Could you explain any of the sweeping generalisations you just made - with specific examples, please?

BoffinMum Tue 28-May-13 09:41:15

Catherine, that is an extraordinary statement. If teachers were resistant to change they would still be caning dyslexics and promoting the cause of the 11+. Teachers change their professional practice all the time, to reflect the situation around them. It's completely disingenuous to argue otherwise.

In response to recent initiatives, the Head Teachers' Roundtable has put together a much more deeply thought through proposal for reforming credentialisation in UK schools, for example, which challenges the top 10% while supporting the bottom 10%. However Gove hasn't passed comment on this at all. Who is being contrary? Who is being arbitrary? Who is being wilfully obstructive? It ain't the head teachers, I can tell you that.

BoffinMum Tue 28-May-13 09:45:41

Head Teachers Roundtable Framework

Gove hasn't engaged with this initiative from the profession at all. He has not commented on its progress, not contributed in any useful way, not even acknowledged the existence of this group. Surely the NAHT conference gave him a golden opportunity to engage with Head Teachers about this very important matter? But he didn't take up the opportunity, because he would rather drone on at people like he did at Haberdashers', with refuseniks to his very particular brand of oratorial charm being branded Marxists.

exoticfruits Tue 28-May-13 09:48:19

Teachers have embraced change- what they get fed up about is the fact that it is changed again, before it has had long enough, and then changed again, and again, and again.
Gove doesn't even know his his own rules- a HT had to explain it to him!

BoffinMum Tue 28-May-13 09:52:22

Not only do teachers embrace change, sometimes they instigate it shock.

Dirty little presumptuous serfs.

BoffinMum Tue 28-May-13 10:02:02

This is actually Gove's manifesto stripped down, which is not unreasonable:

1. Improve people's spelling and grammar a bit so it's not as embarrassing for business.
2. Improve people's maths a bit so they are more use at work and in industry. Ditto computer coding.
3. Encourage people to keep learning modern foreign languages a year or two longer, to a slightly higher standard.
4. Make sure we don't forget the traditional side of education, as learning things like Shakespeare and about the Empire can develop children's thinking and appreciation of complex subjects in the context of daily life.
5. Don't forget that the top 10% of kids need pushing pretty hard so they make good leaders for the future.
6. Save money on education over the next 10-20 years because it's a massive slice of the public sector budget. Open public provision up to the private sector to run.

This is what we hear:

Enemies of Promise
Island story
George Elliot
Jade Goody

And this is why he comes across as rabid and irrational. But the first version doesn't get you elected does it? Unless you identify an 'enemy', you have to make more effort with the rationalism of the milder arguments, and if politicians started doing that, when would we all be? wink

fivecandles Tue 28-May-13 10:20:52

Good post, Boffin.

And I agree that teachers love change. Even when I was left to teach the same spec for more than a couple of years (which has been rare over the last decade and hasn't happened in the last 5 years) I was constantly looking at changing and improving the way in which we delivered it both as a classroom teacher and a manager. I haven't met a teacher who hasn't asked, 'How could I do this better?' during every lesson.

The problem with change from Gove is that it is entirely imposed on teachers without consultation, without an evidence base and often on a whim. Why can't teachers ever be allowed to be involved in leading the change?

The removal of AS exams is such an obviously retrograde step, for example.

In this case how can teachers be expected to embrace a change that is a 100% U turn on a change they embraced 10 years ago? Both changes can't be right as they're in opposition and yet teachers are expected to simply accept both changes with enthusiasm. That's very disillusioning.

BoffinMum Tue 28-May-13 10:35:11

Ah, but FiveCandles, you are forgetting that they don't want TEACHERS, they want complaint education delivery TECHNICIANS. If teachers just sat nicely in Room 101 and submitted to the inevitable, it would be a lot less painful all round. wink

Copthallresident Tue 28-May-13 12:10:04

Boffinmum But that list of soundbites is NOT what has upset me about what Gove is doing. Although his love of the Daily Mail pleasing soundbite does upset me because it influences the way he goes about things.

What has upset me, as I set out nearer the start of the thread is that as a result of his way of going about things, his soundbite politics, he has repeatedly placed unfair and unjustified hurdles in my 17 year old daughters way. Somehow I suspect if Catherine's DC had her life chances unfairly and inconsistently affected by all the kneejerk change going on in the exam system she might get a bit upset, along with the rest of us parents, too.

Instead of implementing a plan to tackle grade inflation (and few didn't think it needed tackling) that had a stated end state and a fair and consistent plan to get there signed up to and understood by all the stakeholders, teachers, employers, universities, he applied political pressure to Ofqual and exam boards who responded with a knee jerk reaction. The GCSE (and indeed AS and A2) results last year were a fiasco. Pupils were at the random end of inconsistent and unfairly applied attempts to deflate results, depending what board and subjects you sat you could be immune to it or your chances of a job or place at university could be seriously affected. It has completely undermined the hard work teachers had put into building their pupils faith in their abilities and this year they are at a loss to advise pupils where the goalpost are. At my DDs indie they are shopping around to find the qualifications and boards most likely to be immune to Gove's interference. It also left universities struggling to understand whether their applicants had genuinely missed their grades or were the victims of the random deflation.

He has done exactly the same again this year in terms of extra time provision (another favourite Daily Mail target). There is no evidence that there was widespread abuse of the system, some anecdotal evidence of a few rogue schools / ed psychs, but more that increasing numbers of pupils with genuine problems are being diagnosed though it remains an uphill battle for Specific Learning Difficulties to be recognised and addressed, especially if parents don't have the money or resources. However under more political pressure, aimed at creating soundbites, the exam boards have introduced a system that will not give extra time to pupils whose processing and working memory score are not below average, regardless of ability. This is complete at odds with the definition of a SpLDs and with the way it is assessed in universities. However the exam system now places a hurdle in the way of bright pupils which may prevent them ever getting to university, let alone the one their ability would enable them to access. As it happens my DD has got extra time but I am upset for all the others, and the needless last minute implementation which left pupils anxious, and in some cases, deprived of the extra time they were used to having with just weeks to go and little time to develop coping strategies

It isn't just the associations with Island Story that have upset Historians like me either but I have rattled on about that enough already smile.

fivecandles Tue 28-May-13 12:59:55

I totally agree Copthall and such seemingly ad hoc changes continue without consultation or preparation and without an apparent understanding of the ramifications. So, in English last year we had the widely documented and grossly unfair shifting of grade boundaries last year and next year the weighting of the exam vs controlled assessment has been shifted such that speaking and listening no longer counts at all towards the English GCSE (yet you still have to do it) and the exam is going to be worth 60% of the GCSE. Now, again, there may be some good reasons for such a change but to do it all at once in this manner such that there is no parity between the same exam from one year to the next is unfair. Another reason why people are jumping ship to IGCSE where speaking and listening still counts.

noblegiraffe Tue 28-May-13 13:00:50

Boffin, you forgot in your Goveifesto

7. Write off the less academic

What needs to be remembered about Gove is the whole Gove-level fiasco that really showed his true colours.

I remember waking up one morning to the headline that O-levels were to return. Gove's department had leaked the plans to the press (the Daily Mail to be precise), behind the back of his own party, and behind the back of the Lib Dems. Anyone with an interest in education was completely thrown and there were lots of questions flying around, which no one seemed to have the answers for. Totally unprofessional.

The proposals were for an entirely new qualification to replace GCSEs. This, in itself, isn't a bad idea. Draw a line in the sand etc.

Except they were only to be in certain academic subjects. Who knew what was going to happen to the rest of the curriculum, because Gove wasn't answering.

They were to be introduced in 2015, because it's election year. Anyone who knows anything about education knows this is a ridiculous timetable.

They weren't going to be piloted. Because introducing a new set of qualifications to the entire country's 16 year olds and potentially ruining their future if it turns out to be shit is a great idea.

All students who were capable of it were expected to sit the same exam with no tiers. Because getting the less able to sit for hours in front of an exam they can't access is just great for their self esteem.

The exam was thought to be beyond the reach of 20% of students. Instead of sitting any qualifications, they would leave school with an attendance certificate. Which would be essentially worthless.

Thank fuck he finally had to back down on this. It was utterly outrageous.

ipadquietly Tue 28-May-13 13:30:45

I hear they've also made payment for exam remarks obligatory (whether the score on the remark is higher or lower than the original grade). This is another nail in the coffin for the less well-off, as they won't be able to afford resubsmission (@£50 a paper??)
A friend's daughter just got a B grade remarked to A*. How can that happen?

muminlondon Tue 28-May-13 14:47:20

Great post Boffinmum - the Govifesto points 1-5 look pretty reasonable put like that. It's the execution which is so inept, confrontational and demoralising. He is clearly personally obsessed with history the battleground because he has already axed the D&T curriculum which was criticised for dumbing down.

On point 5 he has not had an honest debate about the hidden cost of creating a market out of an essential service and the impact on quality. He knows many of the Blair academies have failed but instead of addressing that failure he used that model to justify spending £1 billion to throw all the outstanding schools into the market. He's ignored reports like the evaluation of the City Challenge scheme which did have private companies working in school improvement or even managing education services on behalf of an LA without needing to take schools out of LA control.

deadsimple Tue 28-May-13 15:16:45

mum Yes, he knows many of the Blair academies have failed but instead of addressing that failure he used that model to justify spending£1 billion to throw all the outstanding schools into the market Other schools are being thrown at chain sponsors. Many of these chain groups, such as the AET haven't supported their existing academies, many have failed or are not showing significant improvement. This has become so much of a problem that even the DFE have been forced to take action and ban the AET from expanding further until they have improved the academies they already control.


muminlondon Tue 28-May-13 16:26:05

I meant he has been dishonest about point 6, by the way. Right wing thinktanks did not miss the opportunity to point out the use of equivalents by academies to game the system (see Civitas 2009) and as Gove co-founded the Policy Exchange he would know that very well. Rachel Wolf, Gove's former adviser and also of the Policy Exchange (which advocated profit-making), recently said to the public accounts committee that the quality bar for sponsors was higher for free schools than sponsored academies and she expected converter academies to act as sponsors. Well that's not even an option for forced academies - the brokers impose the chain preferred for that particular week.

The weirdest thing about this ferocious marketisation of education is that it has gone hand in hand with an expansion of religious influence over schools. So it is easier for LAs working with a diocese to create a new voluntary aided school without prior approval by the Secretary of State - but it's also the only way. Added to that you have the Catholic Church following the CofE's lead and getting geared up to take over converter academies as sponsor, and a large proportion of free schools with a religious character and/or restricted admissions (half of the first three waves, and 25% of the latest wave). So this time round you are getting e.g. new CofE schools near to where Muslim or Sikh schools were approved last year. So much for community cohesion - and little or no debate among elected representatives.

The fact is that many free schools have been set up in areas with either divisive religious schools or sponsored academies with a poor reputation. So Gove has cynically exploited existing tensions to create a new market without a democratic debate. We can look at what has been happening in Stockholm to see if more religious schools and profit-making has created social harmony there.

muminlondon Tue 28-May-13 17:47:42

Another example of Gove's lack of honesty - the success of community schools in Tower Hamlets in which schools are outperforming many affluent areas. This was an area helped by the City Challenge scheme which Michael Wishaw also praised. Not a mention from Gove because it runs counter to his privatising agenda. Instead, always the DfE spokesperson's dead-eyed mantra:

'We are clear but cannot give you any evidence for and are cagey about the reasons why the best way forward for an underperforming school is to become an academy with the support of a strong sponsor but we will impose one and not consult parents and are paying academy brokers £250,00 per year to force this to happen.'

Not just to headteachers and parents who vote against forced academisation and cannot see the benefit, but also to Conservative council leaders and Ofsted inspectors.

BoffinMum Tue 28-May-13 17:51:58

It's not £1b, that is just the overspend. He has spent £8.35b over two years on the academies programme. See this blog post, and then feel free to froth a bit. wink

How much? The cost of converting schools to academies

muminlondon Tue 28-May-13 19:03:08

Yes, I knew the £1 billion was 'just' overspend.

I had been thinking that Labour probably also wasted money on its academies - considering not all were successful. But in comparison with the money spent by Gove on schools that didn't need fixing it wasn't as bad as I had thought. Labour had spent 1.3 billion by 2006 for 46 schools and £5 billion by 2010 for 200 academies. That figure included full rebuilds, not just money wasted on insurance, websites, legal fees, etc.

And 1.7 billion has been spent as capital expenditure on 24,500 free school places, the equivalent of about 25 secondary schools, plus £200,000 extra in start-up costs per school. So Gove's new schools may have had more money spent on them in these recessionary times, many in areas of surplus capacity. And existing schools have had the most money wasted on them - because it is the cost of creating a 'market' to attract new profit-making operators when some converter and many existing sponsor-led academies are callously allowed to fail. For which Gove will blame Labour despite having set up the market and consequent market failure himself.

ipadquietly Tue 28-May-13 19:13:57

Meanwhile my school has a budget deficit. angry

noblegiraffe Wed 29-May-13 10:55:08

Mine too, 100k deficit meant we laid off a lot of teachers and TAs. Now we have bigger class sizes, less support for those struggling and fewer resources. My classroom has holes in the walls and the windows leak. But the government finds money for the Free School in Newham that never opened, or the one in Bradford that had to be put back a year at the last minute due to not enough interest, or the woefully undersubscribed one in Beccles.

bookluva Wed 29-May-13 17:11:29

LOL ! Interesting that he wants longer terms and shorter holidays, citing that the existing school calendar works around old- fashioned necessities of kids being needed at home in the summer weeks to help bring in the harvest. Does this mean that he's going to review MPs' long summer break, which is some might also view as an outmoded tradition?

bookluva Wed 29-May-13 17:16:47

Apologies, noblegiraffe, my LOL was in response to an earlier message where someone asked if the contributor was Mrs Gove.

It's interesting, isn't it? I wonder how many traditional Tory voters will no longer be voting for the Conservatives because of their strong anti- Gove sentiments...

BoffinMum Thu 30-May-13 23:48:22

Did you see his anti Milliband article in the Telegraph today? He was incredibly petty in it, and slightly unhinged.

ipadquietly Fri 31-May-13 00:22:55

Thank you boffin. It nearly brought tears to my eyes!

As regards the first bonkerooney paragraph: did no-one tell him that Mr Cameron is in Ibiza? Will he be the last to know?

Also loved the link to Simon Schama's talk at the Hay Festival about the new history curriculum! grin
Simon Schama on the new history curriculum!

muminlondon Fri 31-May-13 07:42:41

David Cameron in Ibiza and not in the UK 'making the NHS more efficient and compassionate' or 'freeing millions from dictatorship'.

Actually, I felt sorry for David Cameron, when Gove undermined him so blatantly on official European policy. In any case I doubt that UKIP supporters will run back to the party to embrace his brand of cronyism, lack of honesty and elitism. On Question Time last night the UKIP woman slammed most government policy including on the NHS.

BoffinMum Fri 31-May-13 07:58:58

Simon Schama in great form there.

Yes, the comments about Cameron read very strangely given that everyone knows he has been on holiday this week.

I think it's all imploding for Gove, frankly. I understand the party is pretty dismayed he has hacked off the head teachers, who are a reasonably moderate bunch.

noblegiraffe Fri 31-May-13 08:40:03

Much as I hate Gove, I do have to agree with him that Miliband is a complete non-event. He could win the next election for the Tories.

mrz Fri 31-May-13 08:53:51

I confess the idea of Mr Gove criticising anyone for being indecisive made me hmm

mrz Fri 31-May-13 12:43:38
CelticStorm Fri 31-May-13 18:30:14

I've seen Melody Hossaini saying that he's appearing at the Sunday Times Festival of Education and that she's got a number of students asking him questions after his speech. Will be interesting to see what he says!

CelticStorm Fri 31-May-13 18:31:29

Has any one been to the Sunday Times Festival of Education, am thinking of going to listen to Gove. Some of the talks aimed at parents look good.

Talkinpeace Fri 31-May-13 18:32:14

Millibrain is a disaster, Balls is worse, they have to pray that Broon and Bliar stay out of the limelight.

Cameroon is a weathervane, P-P-Pickles is as vindictive as Balls, Gove has his fingers in his ears shouting la-la-la

Clogg has so much fallout he's got the gieger counters clicking.

I favour the Belgian approach : after their election, no coalition could be formed so the civil service quietly plodded on with out "initiatives" or "announcements" or "directives" for over a year
and the country was just fine.

Lets just take a break from the politicians for a year or three shall we?

muminlondon Fri 31-May-13 19:39:58

But we need governments to bail out loss-making corporations like the banks and railways.

There's a bit more about the Swedish free school chain that's gone bankrupt as linked to by mrz in this research paper.

'In 2005 and 2006 the John Bauer schools made a profit of about 120 million SEK [£1.2 million] and 40 million of this annual profit went to the owner of the company. In October 2008, 90% of the John Bauer concern was sold to the Danish investment company Axcel. The Axcel Company was a venture capital company and had no experience in education. Involved in the business of selling and buying businesses, they showed particular interest in home styling and dog food.'

The CEO Anders Hultin, 'architect' of Swedish school reform, previously worked for Kunskapsskolan, GEMS and Pearson, all of which are involved or interested in academies and free schools in the UK ( some background about GEMS here).

BoffinMum Fri 31-May-13 22:18:13

Sunday Times Festival of Education is supposed to be really good.

Talkinpeace Fri 31-May-13 22:19:59

DH is at Cheltenham next week : I'll get him to eavesdrop in between his events ....

BoffinMum Sat 01-Jun-13 08:16:01

I think a year with no Government would be an excellent idea. It would save us a fortune, for a start.

creamteas Sat 01-Jun-13 17:35:23

I'd second that, the civil servants are not going to be chasing media sound bits and might actually look at the evidence before deciding on policy......

mrz Sat 01-Jun-13 17:40:57

and perhaps not spend hundreds of thousands on curriculum reviews that they are going to ignore

speedology Fri 05-Jul-13 19:50:57

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

exoticfruits Fri 05-Jul-13 20:03:59

I am surprised you have to ask. hmm
I am just thoroughly glad I am no longer teaching.

ipadquietly Sat 06-Jul-13 16:35:56

We're wondering how much the changes to HR computer systems will cost when the new pay 'agreement' comes into force. At the moment it must be very easy to enter 'M6' or 'U1' in a field for each teacher.
Next year, every teacher's pay will need to be entered as a numerical figure - I bet the software won't cope with that. Imagine the mess after pay awards have been given - all different increments from every school!

(We may be wrong with our assumptions of how things work at the moment, of course!)

Talkinpeace Sat 06-Jul-13 17:42:47

all payroll software uses an amount not a code : that will be the least of the problems

there is the significant issue with admin staff in academy schools being expected to be like a bursar without support or training.
two schools round here have taken on 4 extra admin staff to do what the LEA used to do .... so that's £120k (allowing for ers ni and pensions) taken out of the teaching budget

ipadquietly Sat 06-Jul-13 20:08:47

Phew! Thanks for clarifying talkingpeace

I can see that separate mini HR depts in each academy isn't exactly an economy of scale.

If a school is run by (say) Harris or Ark, do the parent companies deal with the HR, or does each school fend for itself?

Talkinpeace Sat 06-Jul-13 21:22:33

generally standalone academies will probably still subcontract HR back to the council / LEA

academy chains almost certainly have a centralised company that does it - and bills the charity handsomely for the pleasure : another way companies extract cash from the education system

nooka Sat 06-Jul-13 21:59:25

Reading this thread just makes me very very glad that my children aren't being educated in the UK. We are currently in Canada and thinking about moving to the Middle East, where I notice that currently the majority of international schools seem to teach British curriculum/exams. This just reinforces my view that we should only really look at school that teach either IB or Canadian curriculum.

The mess made of the new history curriculum is a perfect example of how to make an almighty cock up when there was no need or rationale to do so. Take a subject that is apparently well taught (good Ofsted ratings) and turn it inside out, whilst ignoring any experts who might disagree with you. Then act very surprised when there is a bit of an outcry and get forced to go back to the drawing board.

Apparently the proposed curriculum suggested that 5-7 year olds should be able to learn the concepts of "nation, civilisation, monarchy, parliament, democracy, war and peace", all do doubt as a part of the rhetoric of 'our island story'. Plus originally primary school classes were supposed to be able to understand the Civil War, the Reformation and other very complex periods of history taught by generalist teachers who may have little knowledge or interest in history. Just stupid.

Made me like Siman Sharma a bit more though, he was very damning about it:

He told history teachers at the Hay Festival: ”I’m sure Michael Gove did not actually want to give us 1066 and All That without the jokes, but that’s pretty much what we’ve ended up with. “This is a document written by people who have never sat and taught 12-year-olds in a classroom"

“None of you should sign up to it until we trap Michael Gove in a classroom and tell him to get on with it. The list of subjects seems to be essentially memories of A-levels circa 1965, embalmed in aspic and sprinkled with tokenism. Tokenism of the wrong kind.”

This sort of debacle should not be happening. Teaching our children is far too important to be so driven by the whims of a politician.

nlondondad Mon 08-Jul-13 08:40:33

Being the OP on this thread really does seem to have been a case of "light the blue touch paper...."

294 messages on all things Govine. A man who leaves few indifferent. As I was genuinely interested in what people had to say, I have not come in myself, since asking the original question. However lately I have had a particular reason for being a bit miffed with the chap on my own account. if you want to know more look here:


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