OK today’s post is going to be a bit on the controversial side.
Recently, Michael Gove MP has certainly been making a name for himself for a number of reasons, and I’m going to offer my viewpoint on each of these events.
Firstly, Mr Gove decided to criticise Russel Tarr about his strategy for teaching about Hitler using Mr Men, stating that “I’m not familiar with Roger Hargreaves’ work, but I am not sure he ever got round to producing Mr Anti-Semitic Dictator, Mr Junker General or Mr Dutch Communist Scapegoat.” While this is obviously true, it is important that when teaching children, it’s important to consider what the children are interested in so that the children will take an interest. From personal experience, I never enjoyed history at school because I found it rather dull and boring. When I studied Hitler, we had to write diary entries, which comes into another subject I didn’t enjoy. If I had the opportunity to design a Mr Men character I might have enjoyed it a bit. It is also important to know that not every school uses this approach to teaching History, so quite why Mr Gove felt compelled to attack the creator is beyond me.
Secondly, Mr Gove answered questions about the possibility of adjusting the GCSE structure and grading from 2015. Mr Gove was asked about a proposed idea of a tiering system, where instead of all children taking the same paper, pupils will be entered for exams that are targeted to their individual abilities. This for me makes no sense at all for a number of reasons. The biggest of these is how do you judge what paper the child should be on? It makes it very easy for children to be labelled as low ability, potentially causing social conflict. There is also the hassle for examiners to make several test papers for different abilities, and we all know already that examiners are not particularly good at setting questions for the 2 papers (Higher and Foundation) that we have now. Mr Gove did imply that he would prefer to move away from tiering, but will not rule it out. Mr Gove did however suggested that instead of having the current A*, A, B etc, he would alter it to 1,2,3,4 etc. I only have 1 word to say to this: Why?
Third comes an issue that has been around for a long time, and will probably never go away. It is no secret that the Education Sector is underpaid, in my opinion the most underpaid profession in the world. The NUT and NASUWT have been compiling a checklist to help their members negotiate a new pay structure, which comes into force in maintained schools in England and Wales from September. This framework has been attacked by Mr Gove and the DfE, who claim that the unions are trying to break up the national pay framework and are in fact acting unlawfully, by trying to progress from the main pay range to the upper pay range. I would question the foundations of this argument and where they got the idea that the unions were trying to break up the national pay framework, as it is clear that all the unions want is their profession to be rewarded with the pay they deserve. It is important to know that without teachers, there would be no politicians or doctors or lawyers, so why are the paid so much? Mr Gove, don’t bully schools just to get what you want, do your job properly would be nice.
The fourth and final straw for me is this proposal of fast-tracking graduate social workers into jobs where they manage caseloads having had 5 weeks of intensive training. This is effectively playing games with the social work industry, by getting young graduates with little experience into jobs that require a lot of delicate attention. My Nan recently retired from social work after a long service in the industry, and she is probably still mad about this as we speak. It is not a game to spot abuse, we’ve seen how this can fail with the cases of Baby P and Victoria Climbie in recent years. So Mr Gove’s idea: let’s bring in a load of youngsters into social work who have little experience and training. Mr Gove, if you have a brain, use it. This idea is stupid. With all the high profile failures that we’ve seen, do you honestly think this is the way forward. It’s children’s lives at stake here. All these young graduates will more likely increase the risk of these failures rather than reduce them.
For me, after considering all four of these issues, I personally think it’s time for Mr Gove to go bye-bye. I don’t want to see my job being governed by someone who has clearly no foundation to his arguments, and is arrogant beyond belief.
What do you all think? Should Michael Gove lose his job? Feel free to comment