I’m probably alone in this but it is with mixed feelings that I say goodbye to Mr Gove. It’s true, I’m not a fan but I also don’t think he should have been vilified in quite the way he has been.
Just in case there’s anyone left who doesn’t know, Mr Gove is no longer Education Secretary. He was replaced by @NickyMorgan01 in a major reshuffle on Tues. Michael has been Ed Sec for 4 years and has introduced many changes in his time in power. Some good, some not so good. Most have attracted controversy in one way or another. Here’s a list of some of the things he achieved.
Introduction of a new National Curriculum, some subjects are excellent while others such as History have been criticised for being too pro British.
Removal of levels on National Curriculum. This has allegedly done teachers a favour as we can now create our own systems for assessment. I’m sure I don’t need to point out the flaws in this system.
‘Phonics only’ approach to reading. I’m a fan, some teachers aren’t. Introduction of Year 1 phonics test. This one courted controversy from the outset.
Introduction of Performance Related Pay for teachers. This was very unpopular! Our pay would now be linked to children’s success with no account of the area taught in, the starting points of the children or any other criteria.
At the same time as PRP was introduced unqualified teachers were also announced. No targets for them! So qualified teachers have to reach targets to be paid while others don’t even need qualifications.
Free schools. Very unpopular and expensive idea.
Academisation of schools. This one, despite being unpopular initially could be here to stay.
Attacked the unions and recently began making noises about possibly removing the mandate for strike action.
Promised more freedom but actually introduced more accountability than ever before.
Accused of micro managing the English set texts. Personally, I think Michael was used as a scapegoat for this. He must be too busy to decree what books can be taught. I think he expressed his opinion on the matter which is entirely different. He was certainly seen as a villain for this one.
So Nicky is in! As we know she’s only been in politics for 4 years so it’s too early to say how she’ll shape up. What I will say is that I believe David Cameron has been very clever in moving Michael from his post. He was very unpopular with the teachers. That doesn’t matter a tiny bit. To be honest would we teachers really take any politician to our hearts? I don’t believe we would. Teachers want an educationalist to be in charge of education. We want education and politics separating. We would like children to stop being used to score political points, so whoever is in charge wouldn’t please us. I think David has been clever because the parents and public had turned against Michael Gove. Many of them need to work and the teachers have been striking. Some have had to take time off work and this does not sit well with the parents struggling to find baby sitters. The General Election is looming and education is becoming a bit of a talking point. I don’t believe the parents have much sympathy with us teachers but I do believe they’d rather have us in work than out of work.
As I say we don’t know much about Nicky yet. That’s the reason for my mixed feelings. But from everything I’ve read I have every reason to think that things will stay the same. She seems to like Michael’s policies so I can’t see any surprises ahead for us teachers. Again, I think David Cameron has been clever here. Negotiations with teachers will surely need to begin again. Surely teachers will give the new girl a chance. Meanwhile all of Gove’s changes carry on without him. I could be being too cynical here though.
If there is any chance that @NickyMorgan01 reads this I would like to give her a quick message. Please put some trust and faith in the teaching profession. Trust is a key word in teaching and we need you to put your trust in us. We’re trained, let us teach please. I’ll watch the next 10 months with interest.