Gove’s fulminating today against opponents of academies as ‘ideologues happy with failure’ is a bluster that will come back to haunt him. If anyone was happy to play with children’s lives and prospects for ideological reasons, it’s him. What makes him think that merely structural change like enforcing independence from local authorities, as opposed to high-quality and committed teachers, will make any difference to children’s performance in the poorest areas? Where is the evidence for his dogmatism? And in the absence of evidence, what right does he have to impose academies against the wishes of teachers and parents? If he’s so sure he’s right, why doesn’t he make major change of this kind conditional on winning the consent of those most closely involved, the teachers and the parents, through a properly conducted ballot?
Gove attacks his opponents as ‘ideologues of central control’. So who is taking more power to himself than any previous Education Secretary of State? Who is ensuring that all funding for academies is being removed from local authorities (I thought this government was advocating localism) and handed out directly from central government? Who in his Education Bill has made sure that in the even of disputes, of which there will be many, he himself remains the ultimate arbiter? After railing against central control, he is its greatest enforcer.
He isn’t even honest. This whole programme isn’t about raising educational standards – that’s not borne out by the evidence – it’s part of the anti-State obsession of this government which itself shields the real driving force behind it, which is the corporate takeover of the whole eduation system. Schools are being handed over to almost anyone, with no local accountability, and it’s no wonder that senior officials are abandoning the Eduation Department, to be eagerly replaced no doubt by “ideologues” (sorry, special advisers) with little or no knowledge of education but who are fully signed up to their boss’s ‘ideology’ (sorry, principles).