Greedy Tories, Leave our Schools Alone!

Greedy Tories – Leave our Schools Alone

The school bully marches into playgrounds across this country, David Cameron with Nicky Morgan, and Michael Gove cheering from the sidelines, imposing his will.  Against the will of teachers and parents, he pursues the policy of Academisation. Tory policies of destruction of LEAs, and encouraging children and their schools to compete against one another is nothing to do with learning. It has nothing to do with professionalism. Centralised services such as  provision for those with special educational needs (SEN), education welfare, (EWS) support for children’s mental health (CAMHS),  Educational Psychology Services (EPS) , support for children suffering ME/CFS, or EBSR (emotionally based school refusal) can be provided where schools work together within local consortia or LEAs, but where profit is the objective such services are are lost to our children, and as a result so many lives are irrevocably damaged.

The latest we hear from David Cameron is that even “good schools could become Academies“. They have moved on from those schools which were  struggling, having cashed in they are now moving on to those which aren’t.

Cameron now says , “And other schools rated ‘good’ at their last inspection – but which haven’t been maintaining high standards since. They are giving children ‘just enough’ to avoid falling beneath our floor standards. But frankly ‘just enough’ isn’t good enough for my children, and it shouldn’t be for yours.

“So we’re going to say to those schools: if you’re not making fast enough progress in raising standards, you have to change and if you can’t do it yourself, you have to become a sponsored academy and welcome in people with a proven track record of running outstanding schools.”

Of course, everyone would like to see the very best for every child and Labour’s  Every Child Matters set out to do that.  There is no evidence that the policies of Academisation and schools’ privatisation do anything to improve our schools, yet we do see evidence of Academy Schools which have  failed since their staus has changed. OFSTED Chief Michael Wilshaw has stated that struggling schools are no better off under academy control.

In the beginning, the Academisation programme was hidden behind lies of “improving schools”, or ‘reforming education”. The evidence now presents this as a sham, as academies are failing, and one wonders whether the intention is to reacademise the failing academies, or perhaps a new, equally shallow word will be introduced. This programme is, and always has been about privatisation of our state education system, and about profits for companies who wish to speculate. There is privatisation of exam boards, textbooks and buildings, of teacher’s careers and even input on the curriculum itself.

But it is more ominous than all that. They seek to control as well as profit. They seek  a division of our society, where the principle of a universal, comprehensive education system becomes dead and buried. Will they seek to gain control of future generations walking into a zombie world?  I consider Tories underestimate the intelligence of people. I have hope. There is massive opposition  to Academisation of our schools. That voice must be heard, and Labour must oppose  this policy and call for a return to LEAs or teacher managed consortia.

The Eton-Educated Tories are blinkered. The principle that education can be bought is indeed flawed, and evidence shows that education systems are most successful where privatised schools are banned. Societies are successful where its citizens are well educated and  informed,  where skills can develop, where the Arts and Science thrive. But the Conservative Party does not look to improve learning, the quality of life of the majority of citizens, or the development of skills and industry. They seek to make profits and will do so until there is nothing left, but a wasteland –  unless we oppose this and provide an alternative. Labour must  oppose Tory privatisation of our schools,  and reintroduce local consortia where communities support all children for mutual benefit of us all.

We must not allow them to gamble with our children’s lives.

OFSTED song for striking teachers

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What does OFSTED stand for…

FASCINATING AIDA : very funny OFSTED song for teachers

(hat-tip Bill Ball)

We’re all ROARing for Teachers and Education #teacherROAR #GoveMUSTGo

Join Teacher ROAR in sharing this message together at the same time – automatically. Thunderclap Link here.

 It is planned  for 9pm on 16th October, the eve of the teachers’ strike. Please add your name *now* by clicking on that link. Then it  will tweet automatically from your account.

“I’m ROARing my support for teachers, striking tomorrow for a better education system! #GoveMUSTgo #teacherROARhttp://thndr.it/1gr9896

How The Gove Stole Summer (with apologies to Dr. Suess)

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How The Gove Stole Summer

In which Dr. Suess posthumously questions Michael Gove’s decision to abolish summer holidays for school children 

Every schoolchild in England liked summer a lot...
But the Gove, who lived in Westminster, did NOT!
The Gove hated summer! The whole summer season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think the most likely reason of all,
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

Whatever the reason, his shoes or his heart,
Gove stood there in July, watching school holidays start,
Staring down from his office with a sour, Govey frown,
At the happy boys and girls below in the town.
"They're happy and carefree!" he snarled with a sneer,
"Tomorrow is summer holidays! They're practically here!"
Then he growled, with his Gove fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find some way to stop summer from coming!"
For tomorrow, he knew, all the children would wake,
Bright and early the next morning to a long summer break.

And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise!
Noise! Noise! Noise!
That's one thing Gove hated! The NOISE!
NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!
And he knew all the children would play and be happy.
And they'd play! And be happy! Be HAPPY!
HAPPY! HAPPY!
They'd play games in the garden, and eat lots of tasty snacks,
Instead of doing tests, and going up chimney stacks,
And THEN they'd do something he liked least of all!
Every schoolchild in England, the tall and the small,
Once summer vacation was fully in swing,
Would play and be happy and forget who was KING!
They'd play and forget HE was king! KING!
KING! KING!

And the more the Gove thought what summmer would bring,
The more the Gove thought, "I must stop this whole thing!"
"Why, I've put up with being a nobody for so long till now!"
"I MUST stop this summer from coming! But HOW?"
Then he got an idea! An awful idea!
THE GOVE GOT A WONDERFUL, AWFUL IDEA!
"I know just what to do!" The GOVE laughed in his throat.
And he made a quick costume from parts of a goat.
And he chuckled, and clucked, "What a great GOVEY trick!"
"With these horns and these hooves, I look just like Old Nick!"

"All I need is a reason..." The Gove looked around.
But, since his reason was scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop the old Gove? No! The Gove simply said,
"If I can't find a reason, I'll invent one instead!"
So he called his friend, Murdoch. And they made up some shit,
About selling off playing fields and being forced to permit 
The wholesale starvation and privatisation,
Of the nation's school buildings and state education.

Now I'm sorry this tale is so short and so snappy,
But unlike the original, this ending won't be so happy.
Because the GOVE isn't just a fictional monstrosity,
He's real flesh and blood, and full of pomposity,
So parents watch out! It's not just the summer vacation,
The GOVE'S out to get YOU - and your children's education!

.

You can get Dr Seuss’s original version here:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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Gove’s Selective Truth. , Finland’s education success was because they BANNED private schools.

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At the very least, Michael Gove is selective with the truth. Deviously and deceptively he has pursued a campaign to demolish state education. (1) Ambitious for a five year parliament, he hopes the speed of his changes (2) will ensure they are permanent, schools ensnared in long term contracts. We observe school-bully tactics and, where sweeteners did not work, Gove forcibly ensured the conversion to Academies.

No longer does the public believe him, and recent polls (YouGov) YouGov Education and Skills show confidence declining. The conservatives led on Education in January and are now 10 points behind Labour. (24 % compared with 34% Labour)

Early in this parliament, Gove instigated visits to observe the highly performing Finnish Education system regarded as one of the best in the world. Subsequently, the Finnish free-school model was included in the government’s white paper. Simultaneously, the media continued to drive home the message of failing schools, and sell us the Academy argument, veiling the truth of the plan to privatise.

What was obvious to observers who visited Finland is how teaching is regarded as one of the most prestigious careers, along with medicine and law. Children enjoyed learning. They were allowed to develop interest are not constantly jumping through the hoops of competition, which achieves nothing but to label children as failures. Education provision for sick children is enabled by technology. There is a lot of snow in Finland, but children unable to get to school can still access lessons. Gove’s policies are hitting the education of sick children in the UK (3) harder than ever.

Finnish communities differed than British towns, where contrasting affluent and less affluent residential areas demonstrate the inequality in our society. Inequality is perpetuated because of the power exercised by a privileged minority, products of a private education system.

“Finland’s educational system. Fascinating thing about three decades ago Finland has an educational system that is doing terribly and they look around and they go okay what are we going to do about this, we gotta revamp the whole thing.”

Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss the revolutionary educational system Finland has instituted and the results of that system on the education of their children. Read more about it here (4), (5)

Every child in Finland must have access to good schools. Having a parallel private and state schools prevents this. There can be no true comprehensive school system while the elitist private school system exists. It was a brave decision to make it illegal to charge for education in Finland. Banning private education should improve education for all children. (6), (7)

Local Schools Network: Would Abolishing Private Education improve Education for All?

In mentioning the revered the Finnish system in his white paper, Gove omits to state the most obvious factors.

  1. Privately funded education is banned in Finland.
  2. The emphasis is on equality, and not excellence.
  3. There is no standardised testing until 16.
  4. Competition is frowned upon.
  5. Children are encouraged to follow their interests, and develop their skills, rather than forced to follow a homogenised curriculum devised by governments.
  6. Teachers are well paid, well qualified and respected in the community.

Without supporting evidence , Mr Gove’s justification for his changes were that the education system was failing. This demonstrates more deceit.

In January 2011 he said, “In the last ten years, we have plummeted in the world rankings from 4th to 16th for science, 7th to 25th for literacy and 8th to 28th for maths. These are facts from which we cannot hide.”

Yet, recent reports assess the UK Education system as sixth in the world (8), but this is unlikely to feature on Mr Gove’s press release.

Any educationalist knows that competition kills learning. What it does facilitate is a means to ensure to the privileged few prosper. The furore which followed the fiasco of the GCSE English results, demonstrates how Gove plans for more children to fail.The European Baccalaureate is examined at 18, but Gove’s Bac is proposed at 16. The recent introduction of the English Baccalaureate concentrates on core subjects of English, Maths, Science, a foreign language and humanities. Creative subjects are sidelined. Teachers must be allowed to focus on the children they teach, not tables and achievement targets.

go-away-Gove-its-our-school

Mr Gove, please can we have our schools back? And most important of all, our children?

  1. Academisation and the Demolition of our Education System
  2. New Statesman: Why whirlwind Gove is acting so fast.
  3. Academisation and the Neglect of Sick Children
  4. The Atlantic: What American Schools keep ignoring about Finnish Schools Success
  5. Video on Finnish Education system by Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian
  6. Local Schools Network: Would abolishing private schools improve education of all our children?
  7. Video Excerpt from talk by Pasi Sahlberg in the House of Commons. Sahlberg is, as his website tells us, Director General of CIMO in Helsinki, Finland.
  8. Local Schools Network: UK is 6th in international education league
  9. Local Schools Network: Where is the evidence of Private Sector Delivery?