Prepare yourselves for a rant...
OK I know this isn’t really within the remit of ‘Mummysquared - the baby blog’, but as a parent to a prospective school student, and as a teacher, I can’t help but add a short post expressing my horror at the changes to our fine education system. And please excuse my writing - my spelling, punctuation and grammar goes all out of the window when I am wound up (perhaps it is a reflection on my poor schooling?!)
So Gove is proposing the following things: changing the standards which mean that a school can be deemed ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ so that no matter what teachers are actually doing in the classroom, if the exam results aren’t there, the school will receive a poor or failing judgement; league tables will rely on students taking 5 subject - English, Maths, a language, a science and a humanity; ex-services personnel will be given better incentives than anyone else to train as teachers; there will be a greater focus on spelling, grammar and punctuation; modular learning will be stripped out with a return to an O-level style exam. And these are just a few... don’t get me started on blazers and ties.
So here is a typical school day under Gove: oh-nine-hundred-hours the siren sounds and the young recruits (lets not call them students any more, it’s too goddamned namby-pamby) are marched out into the yard for exercise. As they march, they recite aloud their spellings; “I don’t know but I can see, beautiful is spelt with a B”. These are obviously the lucky recruits who made it this far - the ones who are not capable of taking the prized baseline of 5 academic subjects are right now in the classrooms cleaning, sweeping and mopping so that the lucky blazer wearing chosen few can learn in pristine surroundings. The chosen scholars have to be able to focus properly so that they can cram all that they will need to know for that final exam.
Are you getting the picture?
I am so proud of my profession - teaching has come so far since I was at school. Teachers are mentors, they are facilitators (cheesy but true) and the good ones will change lives. Given the right opportunities.
Mr Gove and his Etonian Chums want to limit that. These changes will force schools to ignore those students who are anything other than the most academic, they will crush creativity, and stifle the best teaching.
So I am going to mount a protest... a one woman (and perhaps baby, unless I can get a sitter) march on Whitehall! I am going to get in there and take Gove down single handed - possibly even beating him round the head with the schemes of work I have written for the new modular English curriculum that he proposes to dismantle. Bitter? Perhaps... Enraged? Definitely. And I can spell it correctly.