Sunday, 24 March 2013

Gove in York, a Bridge too Far, Yudda yudda [!]

I staggered home from the Music Expo in London to find that someone had put Michael Gove on Questiontime without telling me.

Michael acts as if he was a regular nice guy, and he must have paid the BBC a tidy sum to lobotomise the audience as, at one point, they even applaud him. Maybe it was just York. And I noticed the audience was on the small side. Maybe they had to filter a load of people out to be on the [his] safe side. Whatever. Let him come to Leeds, and he can answer for his crimes at Prince Henry's and Primrose, and all the rest. [thought it must be said he picked up the baton that Adonis and Balls handed on to him].

The panel was asked if creativity in schools was being stifled, and if the development of critical thinking was being hindered [by Gove's latest random thoughts {aka proposals}]. I would say it is difficult to be creative in this reign of terror. And primary school children are not immune to the terror. Here's a story from when my youngest were in Yr 6.

Royal Park closing, and in perfect condition
 Georgia took her SATs in 1999. Just before she took them, she asked me, rather anxiously, "If I do badly in my exams will get put in the wrong sets at high school?" Well, I was a high school teacher myself: "No, high schools don't take any notice of SATs results." I told her, " They're never accurate enough".

Morgan took his SATs in 2000. Just before he took them he asked me, rather anxiously, "If I do badly in my SATS, will They close the school? 

Well, we had just fought off the first closure proposal. Morgan and Georgia sent Tony Blair Stand up for Royal Park badges. [He commended their enthusiasm but sent them back]. Morgan did well, but They closed the school anyway. Seven years later this striking Victorian beauty stands untenanted at the junction of Royal Park and Queens Road, while the council builds onto the other local primaries to try and cope with the population explosion. 
Last ever Royal Park Steel Pandas

The private company that closed Royal Park, Leopold, Asket Hill, Miles Hill and either closed or merged the 26 other Leeds primary schools was closed down itself in the end, but the damage they did, educationally, socially and psychologically endures still. 

Gove asks schools to instil a body of knowledge and skills in our young people and then he thinks that they will be set up for life. Even if I agreed with the same knowledge and skills, young people are not empty vessels to pour anyone's, let alone a central government's agreed info into. The are already human beings, with minds of their own, and learning styles of their own, and educational and personal needs of their own. These enquiring minds need listening to, and their needs met, not society's needs, not industry's needs.

And Gove had a Govite on the same panel: The Horowitz person thought our children should have a "reservoir of facts". .  dreary things" to set them up. So the answer is yes:

Creativity is being stifled.

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