Mr Gove was asked on Radio 4 Today programme, 20 January, whether he was a libertarian or Stalinist? His answer: give autonomy to school on an operational level BUT ensure they adhere to a fact-based curriculum. The interviewer asked Mr Gove if he had succumbed to "I know what's best". Mr Gove diverted the discussion by describing his time as a researcher for the Today programme, thereby wasting time.
He said it was not going to be him who changed the curriculum, but the panel that he had appointed. This seems at odds with his widely-publicised remarks about what form the new curriculum should take. He was asked if panel members included representatives from schools who would have to follow the new curriculum. He sidestepped this by saying the Academy heads on the panel were widely respected. It appears, then, the answer to the question is No, ordinary state schools are not represented on the panel.
When pressed on the prescriptive nature of the new curriculum, he said parents needed to know what book their child was reading at school. Can schools expect, then, to be told that in the Spring Term of Year 7 all pupils will be reading "Persuasion"? He said again that the UK was falling internationally and we had to learn from successful countries. He didn't mention Finland, of course, the most successful European country, because their educational system is not what Mr Gove would want for the UK.
His obssession with facts shows that he has not read the advice from the OECD
about the knowledge and skills needed for the future. "Educational success is no longer about reproducing content knowledge", wrote Mr Schleicher, OECD Education Directorate.
Mr Gove's Gradgrind approach to education is taking us in the opposite direction to that advocated by Mr Schleicher who was praised by Mr Gove in his recent speech
to the Education World Forum. However, he has obviously no intention of following Mr Schleicher's advice.
Libertarian or Stalinist? What do you think?