Michael Gove's Tory conference speech

07 Oct 2009

 As I listened to Michael Gove's speech at the Tory Party conference something nagged away at me. I was sure I'd heard this theme before. Especially all that rhetoric about setting schools free from local authorities and shifting money from the bureaucrat's desk to the classroom.

Then I realised. It was like time-travelling back to the late 1980's when Margaret Thatcher's government finally got the education bit between its teeth.

Then her Education Secretary, Ken Baker, promised technical schools in the inner-cities (the City Technology Schools) and promised good schools that they would get the freedom to 'opt out' of local council control and run their own affairs.

And now here was Michael Gove, in 2009, promising to open a network of inner city technical schools and offering every state school the chance to 'free itself from bureaucratic control'.

But hang on a minute...don't we already have City Technology Colleges (albeit the idea was not such a runaway success that we ever had more than a handful of them)? And what about opting out - didn't most secondary schools take that route many years ago? Don't we now have local management of schools? Don't head teachers already control their own budgets? Aren't they already free to buy services where they wish?  

 Where there are restrictions on schools they come - these days - mainly from central government, not from Town Halls. But I didn't hear Michael Gove promising freedom from the national curriculum and tests.   

 Isn't it odd how we seem to go round and round in circles on education policy?


User Comments

Geoff Barton - 07 Oct 2009

Gove's speech

Yes, it was a bit like deja vu ... All over again!

Andrew Preston - 21 Oct 2009

Gove's Speech

Well, do bear in mind that it was hardly a year ago that the Conservative Shadow Cabinet sat in Parliament, silent, and sullen as the bank crash unfolded. Nothing much to contribute because, in truth, what had crashed were the policies of their party over the last 30 years. Which is why that now, all they have to pronounce is ... "Leadership...". This massive political,and economic failure is the 'elephant in the room' that no one wants to address, and its the underlying reason why Gove has so little to say that is credible.

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