Thursday, 26 April 2012


Micheal Gove should redo his GCSEs. If he did GCSE Sciences now he would learn some important concepts about how to look at data both in the media and from other sources. He has noticed that there is a correlation between low academic achievement and 'risky behaviour' or what a normal person might call having unprotected sex1.

He has made the classic mistake that GCSE science students have learned not to make, and jumped from correlation to cause. Fertilisation of an egg is the cause of teenage pregnancy, not, doing badly in class. He has then made the leap that if everyone did well in acagemic subjects there would be no need for sex education. This is yet another example of the retrograde education policy of the tory governemnt2.

When Gove dreams up policy is he just reminiscing?
"When I was at school the Queen had a boat = we need to buy the Queen a boat"
"When I was at school everyone did Latin = We are bringing back Latin"
"When I was at school there was no sex education = We are scrapping sex education"
"When I was at school we all stood up when the an adult came in to the room = we need a policy on standing (The lib dems could do with a policy on standing at council elections)

An education secretary must be capable of thinking in the future and not just in the past. It is one of the most important ministerial positions; ineptitude is a disservice to the next generation.

Education in the UK is not as content heavy as in some nations which are held up as 'overtaking' us. This, in some ways is no bad thing. Knowledge is easy to access but an understanding of how we find out the things we know is more important for students if they are going to break new ground. The progress made in fostering skills development, particularly in Science education, is progress that we cannot afford to reverse.

 The academic rigour of some subjects needs to be looked at, but unless a holistic approch is taken, we risk providing an education to our students that would equip them well for life in 1950s Britain, but leave them floundering in a rapidly changing world.


1 comment:

Syzygy said...

I love you saying 'Knowledge is easy to access but an understanding of how we find out the things we know is more important for students if they are going to break new ground.'

To me, it identifies the most significant difference between state and private education, and underpins the fact that state school students achieve better degrees relative to their A-level results than their privately educated counterparts.

I want an education system that facilitates independent thinking, capable of evaluating the established mantras. However, it could be argued that such scepticism might not be desirable in the slippery world of the free-market!