Many people across the country are aware of a man named Michael Gove MP – particularly teachers. This is because Mr. Gove is the Secretary of State for Education. As many of you will have heard, much of what he has changed in schools across the UK is causing quite a lot of controversy among parents and teachers alike, but what about the students? What do we know exactly? Should we understand what’s happening in our schools?
Now you’re probably wondering what he is doing and planning on doing; well he is proposing ten hour school days, allowing for extra homework time, revision time and extra classwork. This is designed for the people who struggle to find an adequate and peaceful working environment at home. But this is a proposed three hour daily increase on the seven hour current time. If this change was enforced, school could end at approximately 6.30pm, assuming it shouldn’t start any earlier than 8:30, especially as many pupils wake up at 6am. In addition to this , Gove wants children to sit exams at thirteen.
Much of this sounds quite unappealing, but none of it will necessarily happen. But what has Gove already done? He has cancelled a program that was improving results without having to privatize schools. He has axed the building schools for the future program funding new school buildings and refurbishments for a better quality education and learning environment. He has tried to enforce ‘traditional’ punishment methods such as writing lines, sitting detentions and litter picking. He has changed exams in a way that means it is harder to retake exams so only those who succeed on the day have an immediate advantage. He has scrapped the pay body for Teaching Assistants.
When asked what they thought of Michael Gove and his policies, teachers disagreed with his policies and felt quite strongly against what he is trying to enforce:
“I believe that Gove has ambitious ideas but that these ideas aren’t always acting upon the best advice from teachers.”
“I think that there are a lot of problems with Gove’s ideas and these problems need to be addressed.”
“I believe that Gove values a certain kind of education, and one which differs enormously to the education that the state is able to provide.”
“I don’t think he’s listening to the professionals, he has very narrow and antiquated views”
When students were asked the same thing, there was a mixed response. Those who knew who he was felt similarly to the teachers, but many did not know who he was or about his policies:
“I don’t really think that we are told enough about what he does, so to be honest I’m not sure”
“I don’t really know anything about Michael Gove”
“He has a lot of policies with potential and if he can put those into practice properly he could redeem himself but equally much of what he actually is putting into practice is completely ridiculous!”
“I don’t know who Michael Gove is”
“They’re stupid. They’re ridiculous, I don’t want to be in school for ten hours a day and that is not unreasonable”
The survey was taken randomly on a mixture of years and a mixture of teachers and it became apparent that teachers were sure of what they thought and had strong opinions, whereas students either had no idea or a very similar view to teachers- that his policies are wrong. Let’s hope then that tomorrow’s Secretary of State for Education has a better approach to education than today’s.