Mr Gove should be renamed ‘Mr Sloppy’

I’m loving the irony of this title, given the Mr Men argument Michael Gove had with Educator Russel Tarr over his Mr Men history programme. But why am I saying this? Well, a speech Michael Gove made last month, has had to be put right in its online version, meaning that something was wrong. Heaven forbid Gove get something wrong! Oh wait …

Michael Gove has made much of how his policies are “evidence-based,” but the Education Secretary has retrospectively had to go through a speech that he delivered to the Policy Exchange last month with a red pen.

“In schools like Woodpecker Hall Primary in Edmonton or Durand Academy in Lambeth, far more children than the national average are registered as having special educational needs,” he told the assembled gathering. “But every child – regardless of the challenges they face – achieves far above the national average in numeracy and literacy.”

It has since been changed in its online rendering to: “In schools like Cuckoo Hall Primary or Durand Academy, far more children than the national average are registered as having special educational needs. But the vast majority of children – regardless of the challenges they face – achieved at or above the expected level in numeracy and literacy.”

Gove’s spokesman reports: “Our website makes clear that the published version of the speech was corrected for accuracy. The Secretary of State mistakenly cited Woodpecker Hall, instead of Cuckoo Hall. Both Durand and Cuckoo Hall have far more children than the national average registered as having special educational needs and 90 per cent and 94 per cent respectively of their pupils achieved at or above the expected level in numeracy and literacy. Last year, there were 223 schools with far more children than the national average registered as having special educational needs, where every child – regardless of the challenges they face – achieved at or above the expected level in numeracy and literacy.”

Wow, I can’t believe Michael Gove even cited a school in the first place. That’s his first blunder. There is no excuse for naming schools individually, especially as what he said could be interpreted (which I did first time I read it) as those school children clearly don’t have special educational needs. What the report doesn’t say is what those needs are, baring in minded Gifted and Talented can and sometimes is classed as a special educational need.

Gove’s second blunder: if he is going to name a school, he should at least name the correct one! This is pretty shocking to say the least. He could potentially be shaming a school unfairly, putting a false impression on parents etc and potentially damaging the reputation of what is a highly performing school.

I’m not going to lie, I can think of quite a few names to rename Michael Gove, none that sing his praises. But we’ll go with ‘Mr Sloppy’. Roger Hargreaves sadly passed away in 1988, but I would have loved to have seen him write a book based on this title. Would probably fit Gove to a T …

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