Front page


We are Scylla. We are Charybdis.

24 Jan 12 | Re: Education policy syllabub

Good blog from Michael Rosen here. It is kind of counterintuitive that the government’s big idea to improve schools is to ‘free’ only some of them from government (well, local authority) ‘control’. We’ve been meddling with schools too much, they say, so we’ll set you free and leave you alone so that you can get on with running yourselves. Oh, except that we’re going to keep on meddling with most schools, the same as before. It’s a strange mix of doublethink, buck-passing to the LAs, resigned demoralisation and dogged bloody-mindedness.

I actually quite agree with some of the things they’re doing, but they certainly do need to work out whether they think things like the National Curriculum are helpful or not. If it is, shouldn’t it be applied to favoured as well as unfavoured schools? If not, why are these poor educationalists beavering away writing a new one? Or again, if the LAs are so useless, shouldn’t they be improved? Couldn’t they be improved? Or if not, why are they still running so many schools?

If academy status is so desirable, why do schools need to be given extra money to persuade them to convert to it? (This is the same wheeze that was pulled with specialist schools. Do you think it was the specialism itself that made specialist schools such a success, or the big bag of extra cash that came with it?)

The English Baccalaureate is another funny one. It’s designed, in part, to stop schools getting massive league table credit by pushing kids into doing dubious (easy) qualifications that are better value in the tables than they are in the real world. But as a group, the esteemed academies have been the arch-users of that particular fiddle; so shouldn’t they have had at least one year of newly unfixable league tables before deciding that the academies programme needed tenfold expansion?

Tricky questions to answer, these. What we need is Stephen Twigg. He’ll sort it all out. Especially if he has a nice, long talk with Michael Rosen first.

Posted by GONERIL at 22:05

[Back to main blog]

[Or dive into the blarchive...]

Take me home