What the papers say: India Knight on education reform

This is an extract from an item India Knight wrote in the Sunday Times last weekend.

"I find myself in the disconcerting position of agreeing with Michael Gove. Quick recap: last week 100 academics wrote to various newspapers decrying the education secretary’s plans for curriculum reform."

"Depressingly, the letter was convoluted and really badly written, but let’s leave that aside for a moment. Although we shouldn’t. These academics, who can’t write properly and use jargon that reads like parody, are cross because Gove is ignoring their recommendations. I can’t say I blame him. There are 100 of them. Doesn’t a single one understand syntax?"

"The gist of the letter was that Gove is "overly interested in endless lists of spellings, facts and rules" and places insufficient emphasis on children's ability to think."

"This came about because Gove thinks that children should know their twelve times table and be able to spell."

India Knight adds that it drives her nuts to hear Lefties slam Gove's efforts to give every child a proper education of the kind often described as privileged, when you know perfectly well that many of those making such criticisms have gone to enormous effort, possibly hiring private tutors, to give their own children just such an advantage.

I agree with India.

Yes, I want my children taught to think. But in order to do that, they need a good knowledge base to practice thinking with. We have many good schools in this country and thousands of excellent and dedicated teachers. But even the best schools can't afford an atom of complacency. Most of the many good teachers in our schools - certainly most of the teachers I know would be the first to agree - recognise that it is part of the duty of care they owe to the students they teach to constantly strive for higher standards.

And we really must get away from the ridiculous piece of lazy thinking, as prevalent and damaging now as it was in the 1980's, that whenever an education minister of whatever party talks about the need to raise standards it is misrepresented as an attack on teachers.


Jim said…
Its just something i have noticed when I go to a garage or a tradesman, you can be in the queue. Someone may ask a price and be told its £200 + VAT. They then need to take out a mobile phone to calculate the price.

I remember when i was posted back to the UK from Germany. I still had a German car, It was falling apart, and LHD was a bit of a pain over here, though we called it the Millennium falcon (Fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy). Anyway back to point, the speedo was digital and read in Km/h. I gave a young LAC a run to town one day, he asked how i knew the speed, i told him you divide by 10 then times 6. he then asked "but how do you calculate that when you are driving?"

Thats when it really struck, that standards in education are falling (the LAC in question here had a grade A, A level in maths

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