Education Secretary Michael Gove wants to destroy the Blob. The Blob, he says, stands in the way of his reforms and must be eradicated.
So who are members of the Blob?
David Green, Chief Executive of think-tank Civitas, identified one on Newsnight*. He said fellow panellist Fiona Millar was part of the Blob because she was a Chair of Governors and an activist. This led Fiona to light-heartedly tweet if Toby Young was also in the Blob because he’d been Chair of Governors at West London Free School.
According to Young
, Fiona is the “Blobbyest member of the Blob in the history of Blobbery.” His reason: because of her connection with the Welsh Assembly's Ministerial Advisory Group specialising in education and (here’s the clincher) “26 per cent of the Welsh population over 16 have no recognised qualifications.”
Quite what the paper qualifications of the entire adult population for Wales from teenage school leavers to centenarians tell us about the Welsh education system in 2014 is unclear. But leave that aside. Take the LSN quiz and discover if you too are a member of the Blob.
Answer Yes or No to the following questions:"Are you now or have you ever been…
1A teacher who has not been publicly praised by Michael Gove?
2A teacher trainer?
3A member of a teaching union?
4An elected representative to a local authority?
5An employee of a local authority whose job, however indirectly, involved education?
6A member of a governing body in a maintained school?
7A member of a university education faculty?
8A critic of any aspect of Gove’s education policies?
9A member of the Welsh Assembly’s Ministerial Advisory Group specialising in education?
How did you score?
If you answered Yes to any one of the above then you are part of the Blob
. You must be destroyed. You will have your ideas misrepresented (you support “child-led” anarchy in the classroom); you will be told you are complacent because “one in five children leave school unable to read and write”; you will be personally attacked as an “Enemy of Promise” peddling bigoted, backward policies; you will be on the receiving end of hysterical articles in the Telegraph
and the Mail
The GERM** will do all it can to kill the Blob. But there are encouraging signs it won’t succeed. Read this summary of an address by Pasi Sahlberg, an education expert (and therefore member of the Blob).
And where did I find this subversive, Blob-inspired speech? It was on the website of the Department for Education.
*The Newsnight episode is currently available here
. The interview starts about 12.35 minutes into the programme. Note that the head of the free school on the panel favours “child-centred” education. He is, therefore, a member of the Blob.
**GERM = Global Education Reform Movement. Symptoms: a belief that competition between schools will drive up standards; standardised curriculum and benchmarks; test-based accountability to the extent that it governs teachers' pay and careers; a belief that "choice" for parents will increase competition. This link
to the DfE explains GERM.