I have not come across anyone involved in education who had any respect for Michael Gove. Or the effect he’s had on education. No teachers, no tutors, not even a parent – but maybe that just means I’m mixing in the wrong circles! But it says something about the policies people make if people in the profession don’t feel they are valuable. Most teachers I’ve met over the years positively groan at his name.
As with many ministers, Gove was so completely out of touch with the majority of people at street level; their lives, their families, their homes and their educational opportunities, it was difficult to see how he could make informed and useful decisions about what was right for them.
Will it be any different? And what would we wish from an education minister?
As a parent, ex-teacher and home educator I want a minister that can connect with real lives and real backgrounds and real needs, not someone who has been raised and educated in such an exclusive enclave they are ignorant of real street lives.
I want a minister who understands that most people are completely different from them, come from completely different backgrounds – many quite impoverished, who therefore start out from a baseline they have no concept of. I want ministers to familiarise themselves with this concept and ask what do these kids need?
Therefore I want a minister who is concerned only about children and learning and not using education as a means to further their career.
I’d also want a minister who has had experience at the coal face of education, in the classroom, so they know what they’re talking about. As do the teachers who do the job – not that politicians listen to them.
I want schools to shift from being robot producing, exam machines, governed by politics and testable data that’s of no use to kids, to be inspirational centres where children are so ignited by their learning experience truancy dies out.
I want a minister who will cease from making policies and paperwork that so overburdens teachers they have no time for the kids any more, who will respect and trust that teachers know what they are doing and don’t require the ridiculous sham of monitoring them as is OFSTED.
A minister who is focussed on providing not a testable education necessarily but a humane and relevant experience for our kids that has them gagging to go to school and parents happy to send them.
Doubt I’m going to get it!
What would you want from an education minister?
What do you want from education?