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Gove on Question Time

(133 Posts)
ipadquietly Fri 22-Mar-13 20:17:47

What a disappointment on so many levels:
1. The panel was totally ignorant about the details of the new curriculum, and, because of this, could only play lip service to Gove.
2. No-one in the audience made any points to challenge Gove. Indeed the only teacher to make a comment happened to work in an independent school which didn't have to follow the curriculum.
3. The challenges from the panel were anecdotal - Horowitz harping on about the parlous state of literacy; one of the women (?) harping on about being a school governor but seemingly knowing nothing about the new curriculum and the labour woman spouting anecdotes about her children (I mean.... politician on Question Time spouting anecdotes about her children shock) with zero political argument.

It gave the slimy little toad a chance to speak crap and get an almost standing ovation.

I could have screamed.

muminlondon Fri 22-Mar-13 21:09:17

I'm glad you have started this thread and you are absolutely right with all your comments. Emily Thornberry for Labour was poor - kept interrupting but without any new point to make. The Green Party spokeswoman (Natalie Bennett, had to look that up) was good but not given much opportunity to speak. Gove was not challenged at all - the unworkable nature of the curriculum, too much packed in at inappropriate ages, history taught in chronological order from aged 7 never to be repeated. He was so rude and dismissive. And then everyone clapped like penguins when he waffled on about the English language being a 'wonderful instrument'.

Elibean Fri 22-Mar-13 21:27:40

Oh how I wish I had the chance to ask him one or two questions myself angry

grovel Fri 22-Mar-13 23:11:00

I think that Gove may well be wrong but I admire him for having a vision of a well-educated child of whatever ability. I've got no sense of that from the unions. They know what they want for themselves - I've got no clue what they want for children (apart from the meaningless and self-serving platitudes on their websites).

ipadquietly Fri 22-Mar-13 23:23:19

But how do you 'teach' a child if they are unable to absorb that knowledge? The draft curriculum assumes that every child will be able to access the (unrepeated) curriculum. There are children in my Y2 class who have trouble understanding words like 'island' and 'machine' and we have to 'preteach' topics because of their lack of vocabulary. What are they going to make of democracy, peasantry, heptarchy, crusades...... ideas totally outside their (very narrow) frame of reference?

The whole idea is a produce of an arrogant upper middle class, which is totally ignorant of the problems in primary schools - lack of vocabulary, social problems, neglect, EAL, etc.

Sometimes, we have enough trouble trying to decide what day it is (and I do repeat the exercise...time and time again).

muminlondon Sat 23-Mar-13 00:19:10

That's really well put. Learning is a spiral - it gets wider and broader each time you pass the same familiar signposts and suddenly more of it clicks into place. With this curriculum, you get what one historian described as 'a seven-year-old understanding of the Saxons, a 10-year-old understanding of the Middle Ages and a 14-year-old understanding of the industrial revolution'. What happens to those kids who just don't get it the first time, get ill, whose parents lose their house because of benefit cuts, who is dyslexic or as switched off as the majority of the population by the 'heptarchy'?

Gove isn't listening to historians, academics, or teachers - the people who know children, who know how to do the job and what works. He's just writing the curriculum himself based on his own memories of school. It's just so weird and insanely arrogant. Teachers in private schools are in the same unions as those in state schools - so that they can get a pension and liability insurance. And that's radical?

I trust teachers - Gove meanwhile is on another planet.

feelokaboutit Sun 24-Mar-13 23:51:59

Yes I agree OP, why wasn't he challenged on Question Time? My kids' primary school is in the process of being forced to become an academy... (

Some of us had tweeted Natalie Bennett asking her to challenge him on forced academies (the Green Party is the only party to have publicly come out against this, though individual members of the other parties are opposed) but she didn't. Of course she must have had hundreds of tweets and isn't necessarily going to do what each one says but I gather that the most oppositional thing she said to him (according to h, I was sleeping unfortunately) was that he should "listen" more.

Considering that there are so many issues which he could have been challenged upon (and yes, the curriculum is up there at the top), I too am cross that he wasn't, and to hear about the ovation he got when talking about the English language - that's just angryangryangry.

feelokaboutit Sun 24-Mar-13 23:52:55

Sorry, the school website is:

feelokaboutit Sun 24-Mar-13 23:56:13

The whole idea is a produce of an arrogant upper middle class, which is totally ignorant of the problems in primary schools - lack of vocabulary, social problems, neglect, EAL, etc.

Totally agree with this.

tethersend Mon 25-Mar-13 00:08:15

What irked me was that the panel seemed to agree with his spurious assertion that creativity is only possible when a base of academic knowledge has been acquired.

The entire EYFS says that it's the other way around.

Hamishbear Mon 25-Mar-13 02:36:33

I think that's right to a degree though, learn the science before the art & agree with this statement I heard:

'Rote learning is the trellis the free thinker can climb'.

India Knight has written a good article in the Times that touches on some of this, will come back and quite from it when I get time a bit later.

Hamishbear Mon 25-Mar-13 02:37:59

'Quote' from it I mean.

tethersend Mon 25-Mar-13 07:25:33

What about children's creative play?

It's widely acknowledged that children need to play creatively before acquiring academic skills.

That's not just my opinion- Check the EYFS.

Hamishbear Mon 25-Mar-13 07:56:36

I think there's a place for both.

As India Knight concluded in her article: School is school. You learn stuff and it’s hard work. And, yes, homework is a drag, but there you go. Do it and then you can play and draw and daydream. You can spend entire weekends pretending to be a pony, or Doctor Who, and canter about for the whole holidays.

But when you’re at school, you are being given the tools that, if you work hard and are lucky, may help you to end up doing something fantastic. The tools are about to improve dramatically. What kind of person would begrudge children that?

Engelsemama Mon 25-Mar-13 08:02:38

Did anyone read his article in the Mail this weekend? It's clear that he despises teachers and has no respect for them. We're all 'leftist Marxists' apparently.

It makes me very glad I'm not teaching in the UK anymore (not that the system here is perfect - far from it - but politicians don't seem to be able to make such sweeping changes with so little consultation).

Yellowtip Mon 25-Mar-13 08:09:12

wordfactory Mon 25-Mar-13 08:20:59

I'm not a fan of Mr Gove, but I must say I have some sympathy with what he is trying to do.

The primary curiculum in the UK has wandered to far away from rigour, in an effort to be engaging.

The gap between what and how prep schools teach is becoming a gulf, and that can't be right. That has to be looked out, rather than thoughtlessly defended.

Yellowtip Mon 25-Mar-13 08:29:15

So word, are you thoughtlessly dismissing what these academics have to say? Take History for example. Your comment?

wordfactory Mon 25-Mar-13 08:38:47

No I'm not yellow.

But nor do I think those academics (or indeed any of the academics I know and chat to each week) are defending the current curiculum wholesale.

Most of critical of certain aspects of it. Most think it needs a proper rethink.

There must be middle ground here, surely?

Hamishbear Mon 25-Mar-13 08:55:54

The gap between what and how prep schools teach is becoming a gulf, and that can't be right. Yes, Word.

From the Times yesterday: (Michael Wilshaw) He intervened after 100 professors of education wrote to newspapers yesterday calling the Education Secretary Michael Gove’s re-written curriculum “endless lists of spellings, facts and rules”. They said it would stifle critical thinking and creativity.
Sir Michael said children needed an element of rote learning, a grasp of basic facts and to master reading, writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar before they could learn at a higher level, and many prep and private schools used a similar approach.

“I am extremely upset and concerned that there should be this level of criticism for what I think is absolutely essential - more rigour in the national curriculum and a greater focus on basic skills,” Sir Michael said.

*A lot of this stuff patronises our youngsters, to say ‘all this is nonsense, they don’t need this level of knowledge, they don’t need these basic skills to be able to do that’.
“Of course they do. If you look at the private schools, what the prep schools do, there is an emphasis on acquiring those basic skills and that level of knowledge. And this sort of stuff does a huge amount of damage.”*

tethersend Mon 25-Mar-13 09:04:26

Sir Michael Wilshaw is an odious cunt has a certain agenda, IMO.

And forgive me if I take the word of educational experts over that of, err... India Knight (?) when it comes to children's learning.

tethersend Mon 25-Mar-13 09:07:11

The fact that independent schools are not obliged to teach the national curriculum should not be overlooked when comparing the outcomes against state schools.

That and the economic background of the cohort, which has a huge impact on educational achievement.

Hamishbear Mon 25-Mar-13 09:14:55

India Knight doesn't set herself up as an expert of course but her observations were interesting and on the money when she said:

These proposals are, to me, socialist in their intention, which is to equip every child with the sort of education that has traditionally been available to only a very few. How is that wrong? And what do left-leaning academics think they’re doing when they say, “Ooh, no, the children won’t understand any of it; it’s bad for them”? What? As bad as the fact that state-school students are still shamefully under-represented at our top universities?

Yellowtip Mon 25-Mar-13 09:20:06

So tell me word, what is the view of your resident academic Historian with regard to the current NC and what is his or her view of the draft NC? (I take History since it's first on the Guardian list). It's worth getting into the nitty gritty on this one because there are too many headlines flying about. Take any other subject if you prefer (since perhaps it's not Historians with whom you commune).

rabbitstew Mon 25-Mar-13 09:26:03

Well, I really don't think there is a place for 4-year olds to do huge amounts of rote learning. When is the new curriculum planning for this greater emphasis on rote learning to start? At a more appropriate age for formal education, I hope?

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