Thursday 21 June 2012

Gove And Mullen

Politicians in the UK (and perhaps elsewhere in the world) have an annoying habit of pretending to leak stories to the press, when in actual fact it has been carefully planned and directed to certain media outlets. Late last night the Daily Fail (please don't feel obliged to click on the link - it will only give them advertising revenue) "broke" the exclusive that our favourite Pob look-a-like, Michael Gove, plans to scrap GCSEs by 2016 and replace them with a two-tier system of O-levels and CSEs, like we had before 1988.

I think this is a monumentally bad idea. He is simply pandering to an elitist bunch of old farts who look back on the 1950s and 1960s as a Golden Age of Education. The GCSE system is not perfect by any means - we could always stand to improve on it, and given proper consultation I would be in favour of this move, but going back to a set of qualifications that were deemed unfit for purpose in the 1980s seems a little antediluvian, to say the least. He's also planning to get rid of the National Curriculum (opening the door for all sorts of pseudoscience and creationist bollocks to be taught in the name of science), and to replace the three big exam boards in England with a single one (the least bad idea of the lot, but Gove will not find it easy to destroy three big companies like Edexcel, AQA and OCR).

How many teachers are feeling today...

There have been some quite excellent posts expressing the overwhelming teacher opinion on this all, including the Grauniad, and the FT. The latter has the advantage of data, showing clearly who the most adversely affected will be.

And then there's this article from the Torygraph. According to Peter Mullen (do check out his Wikipedia page - he's one of the worst ambassadors for Christianity I can think of), we are useless, illiterate, ignorant, airport novel-reading, rock gig-attending, anti-elitist, "overpaid, unionised thugs".

How demotivating. For me and for my students. The students are in the middle of exams at the moment - many in the College are part-way through their GCSEs. They've just been told that their exams are meaningless. Paul and I saw a number of tweets this morning from students wondering if they should even bother to go in and sit the rest of their GCSEs. It was very sad to see.

I also saw tweets from other teachers, saying this had reinforced their decisions to leave teaching, or was likely to result in them leaving in the next few years. It will probably reduce the number of people applying to become teachers. Why would they, when a distinctly un-Christian priest who can't keep from breaking the odd Commandment is telling them they're shit?

I am not a shit, useless teacher (though on bad days full of BTEC I sometimes feel that way). I look after my kids, even the kids who are older than me. I teach them to be enthusiastic about biology, to develop their inquisitive skills, to be able to apply their deep subject knowledge to new and interesting situations. I give them a well-tuned bullshit detector and the ability to do Harvard referencing in their sleep. I cuss, I speak sarcastically, I tell dirty jokes. Hell, I've baked them all flapjacks for every single A-level exam, because I know that for some of them it's the only meal they're going to get all day.

Flapjacks, cooked to the recipe I posted yesterday.

So, as pissed off as I am, and as hurt by the words, I know that I, and the vast majority of teachers, do not fit in with Mullen's attack. I do not recognise the people he is criticising. I just wish that this sort of attack didn't demotivate and sadden.

But if Mullen wants to put his money where his mouth is, I'd be more than happy to go head-to-head with him sitting a load of GCSE exams. I'll take on Gove too. I'd like to see these arseholes demonstrate their supposed superiority. And if they decline, well, fuck them.


  1. Hang in there - hopefully sanity will prevail.

    But for it being in the Torygraph, Mullen's beautification of Gove in his opening paragraph would have seriously triggered my parody sense.

  2. MischievousBastard22 June 2012 at 06:07

    I have only this to say about the current crop of Tories: that Benito Mussolini has demonstrated the correct and proper usage of a lamp post.

  3. MischievousBastard22 June 2012 at 12:05

    Also, Steve lol.


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