Sunday 19 May 2013

Gove vs Headteachers: fantasy fiction

The clip I saw on BBC News last night of Gove in a Q and A at the NAHT conference, must surely take Gove to new levels of delusion and absurdity.

1. He genuinely seems to think that anyone who opposes anything he does is against 'raising standards'. An alternative interpretation of his state of mind would be to infer that he believes that the Gove way to 'raising standards' is the only way. As a sidelight on that, the possibility that what he is doing is not raising standards is clearly out of the question. These various possibilities suggest to me that he has battled himself into a corner in which he has cast himself as the venturing hero battling against dark forces. I conclude from this that we are due yet more bizarre outbursts.

2. In the clip I saw, he said that if it wasn't for Ofsted, we wouldn't know about 'outstanding practice' in education. This is either a lie or a delusion. The world of education has always found ways of highlighting good practice. Examples? Her/His Majesty's Inspectors (HMI), the Schools Council, NFER, the professional associations of teachers eg NATE, LATE, the Language in the National Curriculum Project (LINC)... The issue in education is not usually a matter of how to identify good practice but how to share it. Far from 'raising standards', Gove has secured a structure of education that encourages schools to not share good practice (ie competition between schools, and competition between pupils for exam results (norm-referenced exams)).

3. The clip showed Gove saying that he would have to 'part company' with the Headteachers over the matter of differing views of Ofsted. There is something absurdly tragic about a Secretary of State for Education declaring that he is parting company with a body like the National Association of Head Teachers. I suppose there should be no surprise here, though. He is only stating what we know: he has no inclination to co-operate with teachers, or arrive at any kind of consensus. The only model he has for his role is coercion. The venturing hero must be obeyed.

4. QED: we are being ruled over by someone who thinks he is a fantasy fiction warrior.

PS It's The Govinator vs The Enemies of Promise.