Stories + Views
Gove is the real enemy of promise
I have written my own piece on the subject of Gove’s O level plans in the Guardian today, explaining why he is the real “enemy of promise”. The Secretary of State likes use this term to damn his opponents but he is the one who yearns for a system from yesteryear that will entrench failure and cap aspirations. The international evidence he uses so selectively points in a completely different direction to the one he is now embracing and it is hard not to avoid the conclusion that he is motivated as much by his longer term political positioning than by what is best for most children. The possibility that David Cameron will fail to win an outright majority at the next election must be plaguing the Tory Party and the jostling for succession is now starting in earnest ( see Boris Johnson’s plans to take over ‘running’ London schools in this week’s Standard.)
Tragically he faces little real opposition to plans which often seem to be drawn up on the back on an envelope and were apparently leaked over a lunch with the Daily Mail. Labour needs to develop some big bold arguments in this policy area – one of which maybe that the future of our curriculum and qualifications system is too important to be left up to one individual politician and another that there is probably no longer a need for a ‘terminal’ exam at 16 since the majority of young people must now stay in education and training until they are 18.
Maybe this is time for Labour and the Liberal Democrats to make common cause to take on such reckless behaviour. Anyone who would use the last week of public exams, when thousands of pupils are still sweating over GCSE and A levels, to brazenly talk down the qualifications for which they are striving can’t really have the long term interests of our young people at heart.