Friday 7 September 2018

Wow! someone's leaked me this speech from the Department for Education

[smile at everyone]

Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity today

to talk to you about standards.

[pause for effect]

You will have seen in the press a good deal of alarmist headlines about so-called cuts in funding and provision. Let me leave to one side the matter of whether these really are or are not cuts.

[look up at everyone to make sure that this point is understood]

The issue for all teachers, parents and children is standards. So whether there is or is not less money in the pot, what counts is the standard of education that our children are getting.

[if necessary repeat this point with a gesture with the right hand]

And let me make it quite clear right from the start that when I say standards I don’t mean the standard of education. What I mean is the standards reached by children in the tests and exams they do right from the off and all the way through their school lives. It would be a great mistake to confuse the matter.

[prepare for a change of tone, be sneery but not too sneery]

Yes, of course, due to the last Labour government’s complete mismanagement of the economy, we’ve all had to tighten our belts and in the case of schools, it might have been that we’ve even lost the belts themselves, so there isn’t much left to tighten.

[pause for laughter].

As a result, I’m told that there are schools cutting back on school journeys, art, music, teaching assistants - even the school day itself.

[appear slightly regretful at this point]

But this has nothing to do with standards.

[right hand forceful movement]

I repeat, standards are the standards achieved in the tests and exams. So long as they stay stable or better, there is no decline in standards.

Now some might say that the tests and exams are regularised and moderated so that we have comparable outcomes. I apologise if that sounds like jargon, that may not mean a great deal to everyone listening to this.


In effect, it means that once the exam results are in, a group of highly trained

[try to sound like Michael Gove at his best here]

mathematicians look at the results overall and if there is any sense that there is slippage, they make sure that the results come out with the overall scores we want.


This way we know that standards are maintained.

So, what I say to all the prophets of doom out there is: never mind the standard, focus on the standards.

[raise the voice at the end of the sentence and pause for applause[

Yes, never mind the standard, focus on the standards.

[stay standing while people applaud.]