Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Michael Gove - The Educational Car Crash Waiting To Happen.

Michael Gove
It was leaked to the press yesterday that the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, is planning to make free schools and academies 'profit-making businesses' using venture capitalists and hedge funds. With this news, I'd like to make an arguably accurate guess that a good majority of teachers working in state education have lost all confidence and faith in this man. I'm no teacher (obviously) but even I can see the fairly obvious problems in his proposals - class inequality being the most important. It's common sense that if a school or academy is not, or never will make profit then businesses and venture capitalists will not invest, because why would you waste your money on a project that will give you nothing in return? Therefore schools from deprived areas, that attract fewer high performing students, will NOT get adequate funding and will thus continue to fail. It appears to many that the interest of a child's education is now less important than the profit generated through investment.

It's not the first time Gove has proposed policies that have lacked public backing. Previously, he suggested that school days should be longer (opening at 8:30am and finishing at 4:30pm) and school holidays should be shorter (approximately 4 weeks long) saying it would benefit working families. However if you look at other European countries like Germany, who's school days are significantly shorter, there is no evidence to suggest a negative impact on the child's education because of this. Independent schools who also have more term holidays than state school said that this change is completely unnecessary and pointless as there is again no evidence to prove that making school days longer and holidays shorter will benefit a pupil's education. The problem I have with this proposal is the teachers. There have already been talks of increasing their retirement age to their late 60s, cutting pensions and implementing a 1% pay rise limit, and now Michael Gove is trying to increase their working hours and cut their holiday time. These teachers devote time and effort into hundreds of students who are the next generation of workers and all they get is cut after cut after cut. To make matters worse the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority have recommended a potential £10,000 pay rise for MPs while the rest of the public sector feel the full force of George Osbourne's 2013 budget.
An NUT Protest

Whilst I admire Gove for not sitting on his backside and agree when some say at least he's trying to reform the education system, his ideas are wrong. Rather than encouraging progression and modernisation, Gove seems fixated on resurrecting previous systems that were a success in his mind. The fact that there have been three votes of no confidence against him must scream out to the cabinet that his proposals are simply unwelcome. As for making certain schools into businesses, I think it's ridiculous. It's wrong to treat something as precious as a child's education as a money-making scheme for investors because there will always be some that get less funding that others - in most cases it'll be the working-class children who are at an instant disadvantage. If this goes ahead, it could be a very slippery slope and I can't see it being a risk worth taking.


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