#NoGoveZone – A legacy of lasting harm

Michael Gove is a man who it is hard not to have opinion about and here at Parliament Street, opinions are certainly divided. So for this Monday’s watercooler debate, we are discussing whether Mr. Gove is the standout talent of this government or whether he is simply too clever for his own good.

In this article our Head of Policy, Cllr. Dr. Peter Hill argues that Mr. Gove gets poor marks for his time in office and must not be allowed to graduate to greater office, where he could sow the seeds of even more chaos.

 

When it comes to being critical of Michael Gove it’s surprisingly hard knowing where to start, but as someone who works in education it only seems right.

The underlying problem was that Michael Gove believed he was an expert in education.  Is he a qualified professional teacher?…No. Has he taught in a schools?….No.  He’s a journalist and read English at University…  His knowledge of education is so fictional that somebody has ghost-written a book by Michael Gove called ‘Everything I know about Teaching’ – 90 blank pages of Gove’s teaching wisdom.  But what’s the consequence of Gove’s ignorance on education in the UK?

First was his cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future.  Although there were issues with the way most of the programmes were funded through PFI, the cancellation of the programme left children in 715 schools across the country stuck in outdated and often unhealthy school buildings.  The decision to cancel Building Schools for the Future was also subject to judicial review and found to be unlawful as Gove failed to consult before imposing the cuts.

Secondly, Gove has repeatedly undermined teachers.  From constantly moving the goalposts, changing targets, manipulating education statistics so that no school could be labelled as “satisfactory” but would instead be “Requires improvement” according to Ofsted Ratings, and of course by pushing for more unqualified teachers in schools (because they’re cheaper, and hey, any idiot can teach your child right?!). So bad was his treatment of teachers that in 2013 the three main teaching unions, the NUT, NASUWT and ATL all passed votes of no confidence in Gove as Secretary of State for Education.

The final nail in the coffin is Gove’s education reforms is the new GCSE system.  By undermining vocational education, changing the traditional grading system from A* – C to a 9 – 1 (with 9 being the highest…because that makes sense…).  Thankfully Gove’s attempts to return to the O-Level were stopped but sadly many children have had their education and futures ruined.

Given this lasting damage to our education system, could we really trust this man with any other high office?

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