I couldn’t make this last for more than two parts, you’ll be relieved to hear, unlike the makers of some films. Anyway, where were we? Oh, Yes…
Gove will have a much tougher battle on his hands with the EBACC. His aim for this new-style examination — a step back in time — has already met with opposition. OFQUAL (as I’ve shown in my post of 16 December) has politely told him he’s living in cloud-cuckoo land if he thinks one exam can be designed to do all the things he wants it to do. He can ignore them, of course, but harder to overlook will be former Education Secretary under Thatcher, Kenneth (now Lord) Baker who has described Gove’s proposals as ‘a huge mistake’. Oddly, his main gripe is that the EBACC certificate proposals downgrade technical and vocational education which Baker is peddling through his Baker-Dearing Eduction Trust and its University-sponsored schools (of which more in a future post). This time Labour has got its act together (sort of) and is also championing the technical and vocational angle with its ‘Technical Baccalaureate” so we could see an unholy alliance of post-Blair Labour and old-style Thatcherite. From the liberal side, Gove’s proposals have been attacked for downgrading arts education in a searing letter recently from a swathe of academics from Goldsmiths College and of course the teacher unions are opposed because teachers are being ignored and the whole thing is going forward with indecent haste.
In the primary sector, teachers are gearing up for the new-style ‘grammar tests’ in the Summer in Year 6. One London-based education consultant cheerful told me recently she’d got 7 out of ten on a sample paper. The one I’ve seen (published in the Daily Telegraph) looked easy enough to me but whereas some are saying it’s too easy for ten-year-olds, others wonder what on earth is the point. Curry favour with the Daily Mail readership, perhaps?
What’s next from me? Well, I intend to tell you a little about the Freedom and Autonomy for Schools National Association (FASNA) and to explore the position and potential actions of the Teacher Unions, as well as keeping you as up to date as I can on the steady stream of criticism of Gove’s actions, coming sometimes from unexpected sources.