EMA debate online

Janet Downs's picture
Mr Gove's contribution (and only his contribution) to yesterday's EMA debate is given on his webpage.

Mr Gove delivers unctious praise to Mr Burnham before pulling him up for making a comment about Mrs Gove's worries about her cleaner. He then launches into a series of rhetorical questions such as, "Does he back or oppose the growth in apprenticeships?".

After several of these he eventually allowed other members to speak. He then made an oily comment to Hazel Blears before launching into more rhetorical questions.

He began 'reminding' the House of the 'dire economic situation': 'The OECD said that in 2000, thanks to Conservative policies, the UK had one of the best structural fiscal positions in the world, but by 2007 we had one of the worst in the G7'.

It was the above passage that I misheard. I thought Mr Gove was referring to the OECD 2000 figures for education attainment in the UK which have been discredited by the OECD. I'm afraid that when I heard Mr Gove use the words OECD and 2000 in the same sentence I started yelling at the TV since he has a track record of trotting out these erroneous educational attainment figures.

Mr Gove then became rather heated. The words, "Sit down", seen in type do not quite reflect the temper shown by Mr Gove at the time. However, the Speaker's rebuke followed.

The above is only the start of the debate and if you want to compare Mr Gove's arguments with Mr Burnham's more measured, focussed and structured contribution you will need to consult Hansard.
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Francis Gilbert's picture
Thu, 20/01/2011 - 16:02

This quote of Gove's in the debate is interesting to note:

Gove says: "I had the opportunity to visit Haberdashers' Aske's Knights Academy, which has a sixth form, in Lewisham last Friday. I had a chance to talk to the students and principals there and they would like to see several changes, broadly in line with the coalition Government's education policy."

This surprises me because Knights did very badly in terms of the Bacc, with less than 10% getting it and is only 3% away from being a "failing" school in his terms. I wonder if he asked them about this?? It is the Academy that used to be run by his now School Commissioner Elizabeth Sidwell.

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 20/01/2011 - 17:20

"several changes, broadly in line with the coalition Government's education policy" - a little vague, isn't it? Why only "several"? Which ones didn't the parents like? And what does "broadly in line with" actually mean?

This statement could mean anything from "the parents supported coalition policy" to "very few did."

Mike Reddin's picture
Wed, 02/02/2011 - 13:47

Worth remembering that EMAs have been around for 67 years before they're dumped this summer. They were created by our last coalition government, when Rab Butler made them part of the 1944 Education Act. A specific recognition that offering compulsory secondary education to all was a great idea but would cost the poor dearly - all those youngsters unable to work to rescue the family budget. Each local education authority could offer a scheme of means-tested benefits and they varied substantially around the country in coverage and level. 60 years later, in 2004, they were at last elevated to a 'national' scheme, still means-tested but operating on a national scale on standard terms. At three benefit levels, £10, £20 or £30 pw (for a 36 week year) and in this final year going to some 600,000 young people at a total annual cost of some £500million. Of their 'replacement' we know zilch.

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