I watched Mr Gove’s performance on QT last Thursday with scorecard at the ready. I’m not a supporter of his, but must concede that I marked him down for a points win. He is a better orator than I had envisaged, or indeed remembered – but then again, Blair was brimming with charisma when placed before an audience and look where he sits in history now.
I haven’t read the whole proposed draft curriculum but I have delved into the history and geography sections to show willing for my humanities specialism as a student teacher. Of course, before giving it my BEd consideration, I looked at it through my eyes as a parent.
The content of this draft curriculum is, I believe, amongst many other things, a hot topic and source of controversy between the profession and Gove’s allies. As a parent, I don’t remember being consulted by either side on what things my children should be taught, and as both sides are in a position of public servitude, I find this disappointing. Perhaps we have been asked – in certain postcodal areas, but I didn’t get the memo.
As a parent, I would like to see Gove produce some evidence of why his plans will work in British schools – I’m sure Finnish education works wonderfully for the Finns, as Danish education does for the Danes, but what are you bringing to the table for my children and upon what evidence is it being brought?
Of the profession, I ask whether you think you can realistically win this war with Gove – a man whose office probably has only a little over two years life expectancy in it. He doesn’t have to worry too much about what happens between now and 2015 – in fact, having listened to him on QT, he may well be readying himself as a candidate for the next leader of the opposition. Before digging heels in on him for the next two years, the profession might want to consider that he might just dig his heels in too, creating a two year impasse that will do zilch for the children.
From my perspective as student teacher, I know what I like and I know what I don’t like, and won’t be coerced or seduced by either side through mere tribalism. For instance, in the new draft, I like the idea of teaching evolution in schools – high time that ‘where we came from’ was advanced beyond the supernatural. On the flip side, I’m saddened to see that World War II has been ripped from my grasp in both primary key stages. I see elements good and bad – so far, please note. I prefer to judge each different snippet on its merits. I kind of prefer to think of myself as apolitical, although I think we all feel a roar of some kind of inner partisan beast at some point or other, depending on which way the wind is blowing in relation to our personal circumstances at a given time. I am certainly no Conservative, and the complete mess Labour made last time is still fresh in my mind. The other guy, who managed to lose 5 seats and become Deputy Prime Minister will either defect or disappear in two years. As for the single policy fringe parties, nothing they say will tempt me to cross their papers either, and I don’t intend to waste my time at the church hall voting for who I think will be least damaging. It would, however, be interesting to see some of the action groups (perhaps like the one doing the rounds on Twitter at the moment) throwing their hats into the ring and putting their case before the wider public. Make your points – the people can then decide whether they want you to speak for them or not.
I haven’t blogged very much, but felt like saying some stuff today. I must go and do some ironing now.