Great to see that Michael Gove’s plans to improve the educational outcomes of our young people by transforming the way schools are run, are going swimmingly!
In the last few weeks I have seen a number of worrying reports. Near me, the first ‘free’ school in Derby is, according to the BBC, being investigated for alleged financial irregularities by the government’s Education Funding Agency (the trust running the school refutes the charges). The report prompted me to go and have a look at the school’s website and I was surprised to see that, a year on from its opening, the ‘school’ is still housed temporarily in parts of an office building. Can’t help wondering if our children don’t deserve better.
Meanwhile, a selective grammar school in Kent, just the sort of thing Mr Gove likes, has been judged inadequate by OFSTED. This was Chatham Grammar School. Not far away, in Bromley, there’s trouble at Ravens Wood School, an academy, according to today’s Observer. EdExel are investigating allegations that coursework marks for a BTec in ICT were falsified, whilst, at the same time, the school has made a formal complaint about its OFSTED inspection in June, which explains why the report still hasn’t been published. Ravens Wood is overseen by its “visionary” (M. Gove) executive principal, Professor Sir George Berwick CBE, knighted earlier this year for ‘services to education’. But not for much longer. Apparently he’s reached retirement age and parents have just been informed he’s retiring officially on 10 October (YOU think what you like – I couldn’t possibly comment!)
I genuinely take no pleasure in seeing schools judged below par or teachers and schools being put under pressure for alleged malpractice of any sort. The thing uppermost in my mind is: why is no-one from Labour, the official opposition, (or the Lib-Dems, for that matter) speaking up against the demented and headlong rush to break up and, effectively, privatise our school system? Where is the evidence that this is serving the interests of our children or the intellectual and economic well-being of our society?