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Michael Gove's been telling untruths again - says he's visited schools that don't exist

(16 Posts)
Abuelita Sun 27-Oct-13 08:48:21

Michael Gove said he'd visited schools where there were more than the average number of special needs pupils but where every child achieved above the national average in literacy and numeracy.

But a Freedom of Information request found no such schools exist.

To make it worse, the Department for Education changed the speech AFTER it had been made. The DfE admitted it had done it but that doesn't make it acceptable, does it?

How can we trust what Gove says when he misleads people like this?

For more information:

tethersend Sun 27-Oct-13 08:51:02

Just when you think he's given all he's got- the man dazzles us again.

BrigitBigKnickers Sun 27-Oct-13 08:57:56

He really needs to understand the difference between expected achievement and expected progress.

Many of my pupils ( all statemented for a specific area of SN ) achieve expected progress- 2 levels during the KS2- but that doesn't mean they are at an age appropriate level.

In fact if her read the government guidance document given to ofsted inspectors on the progress and achievement of SEN children he would know that and that NC data is not to be the only benchmark for realising the progress of these groups of children.

lade Sun 27-Oct-13 08:59:18

He really needs to go.... Ruining our educational system hmm.

scarevola Sun 27-Oct-13 09:02:17

It's the difference between 'above average' in SATS (what would that be - all level 5?) or achieving above the typical national performance, which it seems they did.

The original version is, as noted here and in the links, not pedant-proof.

The serious point - that schools with high levels of additional needs can produce high results - appears correct.

Abuelita Sun 27-Oct-13 09:24:17

scarevola - you're right that schools with high SEN numbers can give their pupils a good level of education (which isn't always measured by raw results - the Education Endowment Foundation a couple of years ago found that many "below-floor" schools were still rated highly by Ofsted for the quality of education).

But that's not what Gove said. He said he'd visited many, many schools where EVERY child scored above-average in literacy and numeracy and where there were more SEN children registered than the national average.

But no such school exists.

So the next time he says he's visited primary schools where every ten-year-old is discussing "tyranny and legitimacy in Julius Caesar and Macbeth", can we really believe him? And when he says free schools outperform other schools, does the evidence back him up? (No is the answer to that).

ParsingFright Sun 27-Oct-13 09:26:13

What do you mean by "typical national performance", *scarevola"?

Neither the original speech, nor the DfE's amendment, says that (and I'm not sure what it would mean anyway).

Gove's actual speech says: "But every child – regardless of the challenges they face – achieves far above the national average in numeracy and literacy."

The amendment reads: "But the vast majority of children – regardless of the challenges they face – achieved at or above the expected level in numeracy and literacy."

Expected levels for those children may be very, very different from national average or typical national performance (whatever that is).

Not pedantry at all, but a substantial difference in meaning.

straggle Sun 27-Oct-13 10:10:21

And there is still ambiguity in that amendment between level attained (4? 4B?) and number of levels of progress made since KS1. The government is using floor targets for attainment (crudely 65% at Level 4) NOT progress levels in order to force schools into academy chains. It doesn't even appear to take into account mobility in a school as half the class may have joined in Y5 in some areas but all are entered for SATs.

In terms of levels of progress, some schools and chains are deliberately trying to game that measure by undermarking at KS1 then overmarking at KS2 to show better progress. Progress is still not a very refined benchmark yet. But with constant changes to the curriculum and levels, the aching desire of Gove to reintroduce norm referencing and abolish levels, how can we even rely on progress measures?

stillenacht Sun 27-Oct-13 10:13:50

Lying twatconfusedconfused

scarevola Sun 27-Oct-13 10:18:12

Well, the critique puts it in terms of every single child getting above average SATS.

Neither Gove nor DofE specifies, but it appears to say the school is getting more than typical performance. Now, as level 4 is meant to be what every child should attain, that could mean all level 4 or better; or if there is some other measure of acceptable proportion below level 4 (which I think there is) it could mean that.

Gove isn't the first, and won't be the last, minister to use hyperbole and other rhetorical devices. It's no more a reflection on his credibility than it is on any of the others (all Parties).

straggle Sun 27-Oct-13 10:21:49

And one other very obvious point - SEN is a very broad term. There are twice as many pupils on free school meals with SEN as those not in that category. But the nature of their special needs is also different - much more likely to be severe emotional and behavioural problems and severe learning difficulties than moderate learning difficulties or physical/medical conditions.

If Gove had visited schools where both SEN and FSM were well above national average yet every single one achieved Level 4 or above - and he didn't because they don't exist - it is unlikely that one would have been a sponsored academy because forced academisation of primaries has only been happening in the last two years.

edam Sun 27-Oct-13 10:22:31

Given Gove is apparently perfectly content for his cherished free schools to fabricate invoices, to pay the vice chairman of the Tory party hundreds of pounds of taxpayers' money every year, employ the headteacher's family at taxpayers' expense without going through any recruitment process, and to be ridden with 'financial mismanagement' I'm not surprised he's also capable of telling porkies.

Abuelita Sun 27-Oct-13 12:19:29

straggle - I should have been more clear. SEN in this context are those pupils with a statement of special education needs and those on what is called School Action Plus. The Schools Performance Tables on the DfE website let researchers discover the proportion of these pupils in each school in, say, the East Midlands which can then be compared with the national average (ie 11% for primary schools). Here's the East Midlands example sorted in descending order from the highest proportion of pupils SEN/School Action Plus:

straggle Sun 27-Oct-13 18:28:58

My point is that SEN could be mild or it could be severe. I'm just trawling through the 18 pages of results of primary schools in England which achieve 100% Level 4 and I'm struck by the number of Church of England and Catholic schools which would be socially selective. Some have 0% SEN, most are below average, a few as high as 33%. But they are likely to be small schools so the percentage could swing wildly from one year to the next.

I'm thinking of the Discovery New School Ofsted report which suggested far too many had been labelled SEN when they weren't. Not entirely sure how statementing works.

Talkinpeace Sun 27-Oct-13 19:28:31

Gove is a lying shit.
End of.
Fingers Crossed the Labour have finally found somebody bright enough to discomboulate him (see the Economist to understand why I chose that word)

statistically SEN are the bottom 20% by academic ability, ranging from minor adjustments in teaching through to unfunded statements, through to funded statements, through to kids for whom main stream school is not appropriate.
Statements are around 1% of pupils and separate schools take about 1/3 of them

nennypops Mon 28-Oct-13 00:26:21

Gove is so bloody arrogant that he thinks it's his right to tell lies, and that we poor dumb voters should be so grateful for his existence that we should just roll over and accept it.

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