Category Archives: Education

Michael Gove’s solution to political meddling in A-levels? More political meddling

The Conservative party is continuing in its crusade to make Britain a place safe for Daily Express readers in the hope that turning the clock back will win David Cameron an overall majority at the next general election.

Into the EU wilderness

The prime minister’s promise on Wednesday of on in-or-out referendum threatened to make the recession permanent by leading the country out of the EU and into the economic wilderness.

The poor are fat

Then Anna Soubry, allegedly a health minister, claimed to be able to spot poor people because they tend to be overweight. But she still blamed the parents for filling up their children with bad food, while relying on voluntarism to achieve reductions in the fat, salt and sugar content of products made by members of the Food and Drink Federation.

Education policy based on prejudice

And Michael Gove announced that the solution to political meddling with A-level exams was more political meddling with A-level exams.

The education secretary never makes policy based on evidence when he can make it based on prejudice against the state system. He must believe in six impossible things before breakfast each day, and instruct his civil servants to implement them in our schools before the consequences have been considered. Of which just the latest is that headteachers and their staffs will be managing the introduction of the Ebacc for 16-year-olds at the same time as ripping up modular A-levels for a return to the memory test of exams at the end of two years and stand-alone AS-levels.

Full square behind him are the Russell Group of elite universities, fighting the corner for the traditional subjects they champion: mathematics and further mathematics, English literature, physics, biology, chemistry, geography, history and modern and classical languages.

His critics for this latest initiative to stifle creativity in our young people included the University of Cambridge, industrialists, the Association of School and College Leaders (who must clearly be worried about how schools and colleges will be able to find leaders in the future given their workload and burnout rates) and Labour – accused by Gove of the meddling that he cannot resist every hour he remains in office.

By the end of the day, Gove’s latest wheeze for a winning policy (to get him into No 10 in Cameron’s stead?) had slipped off the Daily Mail online front page, and was receiving a far from universal welcome from readers. Sadly, it was still carrying the mistyped headline: University chiefs will vet tougher new A-level that aims to end ‘resist culture’ that has led to dumbing down of qualification.

I couldn’t resist a smile at the error, but it’s a tragedy for sixth formers that their efforts are still being belittled by this government’s every pronouncement.