Saturday, 16 June 2012

Pollard and James resignation + author scandal

Gove's Expert Panel was made up of Profs, Dylan Wiliam, Andrew Pollard, Mary James under the chairmanship of Tim Oates. In October (I missed it at the time) Andrew and Mary resigned from Gove's Expert Panel.

Here is their letter of resignation:

I'm not sure why or how I missed this at the time, but better late than never.
I think it is a very necessary document in the debate about what I think is a fundamentally flawed document both in what it says and in the very fact that Gove thinks it's doing something useful in the first place.

In the meantime, I can tell you that I seem to be having some kind of email conversation with Tim Oates about what he says are my 'serious misunderstandings'. I'm sure I have serious misunderstandings for the very simple reason that the government hasn't respected the country's teachers, advisers and parents with a document that is properly authored and referenced with evidence. No one is owning up to it.

Why should these things be secret? Education is a public institution affecting the lives of millions. When decisions are made on behalf of teachers, children, parents and society, we should have open access to who is making these decisions, issuing these programmes of study.

For for all I know, for example, the phonics section was written by the same person who 'advises' the government on phonics, and who is in receipt of the lion's share of the government subsidy for the purchase of 'approved' schemes. For all I know that person is also one of the people who does the approving...

..maybe, maybe not.

The whole point is, we don't know but we should know.

ps The irony about all this is that the underlying principle of a document about 'English' is that it's about 'empowerment'. Children on the receiving end of its method will become equipped with the means to access and understand language. However, we are not being given the tools with which to analyse one key aspect of this document: namely, who wrote it, why and on what evidence. We are thereby DISempowered! So much for an interest in use of language!