Another embarrassing day for Michael Gove

This is another embarrassing day for Michael Gove. While 700,000 children are starting the new term in schools that will no longer be rebuilt, he is trumpeting a plan that will see just a dozen new free schools open next year.

The idea that just 16 free schools exceed Michael Gove’s expectations is laughable given just a few weeks ago he was talking about 700 new free schools and a year ago he was promising thousands.

His idea of an English Baccalaureate is a hastily cobbled together announcement to distract attention from the failure of his free schools policy. From the limited detail he has set out today it seems to be just an extra certificate for those doing well in academic subjects.

Together with his plan to exclude vocational qualifications from comparisons of schools performance and scrap Diplomas, this looks like another attempt to undermine vocational learning and create a two-tier education system in our country.

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Posted September 6th, 2010 by Ed

6 Responses to “Another embarrassing day for Michael Gove”

  1. Daniel Mayhew says:

    His ideas that to increase people taking science subjects is to create another certificate, that will work.
    As a chemistry undergraduate is sickens that the first time I get proper experiment training and experience is at uni when 30 odd years ago it was at o level and gce, making schools have proper insurance to preform experiments at younger age’s will inspirer a new generation.

  2. Martin Campbell says:

    The main motivation for Stour Valley free school was to overturn a rational decision about the location of future schools made by democratically accountable local councillors as part of a bigger plan. The new free school can only damage the future of schools in Haverhill and Sudbury by undermining that plan.

    This is not innovation in pupil place planning, it is anarchy in pupil place planning.

  3. Nick Barnett says:

    As a teacher (and Labour Party member), I’m sorry to say that I agree with Gove’s plans to exclude vocational qualifications from comparison tables. Why? Not because they are vocational, but because they are in no way equivalent to GCSEs and help schools paint a very distorted picture.

    For example, a DiDA Level 2 Pass is supposedly equivalent to 4 GCSE grade Cs and counts as such when league tables are produced. Having taught both, I think I’m more qualified than most to say that this is laughable.

  4. Loic Menzies says:

    Thanks for this Ed- was at the announcement, see my blog “Evidence Ping-Pong and the Three Pillars of School Reform” for more on it!

  5. Loic Menzies says:

    BTW – I did a Twitter feed from the speech if anyone’s interested- @LKMco

  6. Gary Clawson says:

    There is a distortion in League tables around DiDA and OCR Nationals in ICT being worth multiple GCSEs but to remove these is throwing out the baby with the bathwater for the simple reason that they provide a level of practical experience in the use of ICT as a vocational skill. It’s just the points score that is the issue.

    Unfortunately with Gove reducing ICT funding IN YEAR, there will be a dramatic reduction in ICT facilities in schools which is crazy as replacing these courses with History lessons may be more economical to deliver but there are only so many jobs where history as a subject is relevant to the employer.

    Gove is very vulnerable on free schools and academies numbers. In particular the lack of data around free schools but also the detail of some of these schools being faith schools or schools already funded (the ARK schools?) will make good headlines and attract attention again to the low numbers.

    Pressure needs to be kept on Gove to leave, he would be a significant scalp as many Liberals are upset about current education policies and are only keeping quiet because they think pupil premium will be good, it won’t of course, it will be a re-hash of funding, “take two away and give one back” approach and needs to be disected when details emerge.

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