Guest post – Education, Tory style – Echoes of the Victorians

Guest post by Dave Clinch, retired secretary of Devon NUT and anti-academies activist.

Michael Gove is planning to have teachers sacked even if they are ill.

At Tavistock Community College, one of the largest Community Colleges in the South West, they have just emerged from special measures after two years. The Head’s proud boast on local TV yesterday was that eight teachers were asked to leave and some ‘difficult’ students were expelled to achieve this category of ‘satisfactory’.

I see this as anathema to what education is about. The Head has ruined certain teachers’ lives on the grounds that ‘the children’s education is paramount’, via the so called ‘capability process’, meanwhile certain children have been expelled.

What happened to the idea of genuine support that existed in teaching before the twin tyrannies of the National Curriculum and Ofsted? Support’ is now the veil that wraps the mailed fist of ‘capability’, the third gross tyranny in education. I had the misfortune to witness at first hand the effects of this process on teachers whilst serving as Devon NUT Secretary. It was utterly destructive and sought merely to highlight any negative aspects.

‘Passionate’ is a much overworked word, but I am passionate about taking the fear out of teaching. The bullies are stalking the corridors on their micro observations which masquerade as ‘learning walks’ etc. It was something that the Head of Risinghill Comprehensive School in Islington, Michael Duane, was determined to challenge. Tragically, it cost him his job and the school was closed.

Now it seems that any school merely fits itself into the Government template, divesting itself of any ‘difficulty’ instead of developing the students and the staff to their considerable potential and teaching all the children who pitch up there.

What happened to the idea and aspiration of teaching all who cross the threshold of a Comprehensive, Community School? Of course it requires more resources when students have real problems. They are not monsters, neither are they fully mature human beings. Some indeed may need off-site provision, until they can be reintegrated. What will happen to the eight teachers who were so glibly spoken about? How will their lives be affected by this action? Who cares?

Is it ‘out of sight out of mind’? This really is the pits. Education Tory style. Echoes of the Victorians.

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One Response to Guest post – Education, Tory style – Echoes of the Victorians

  1. Thank you for this post Dave. Can I add the 4th and 5th tyrannies – exams and league tables!

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