Take That, Mr Gove!

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In a recent speech, commissioned by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA, delivered a powerful riposte to the Michael Gove speech I referred to earlier. Not only does Matthew expose the ‘Back To Academics Basics’ driver behind a future Conservative education strategy, but he also provides a compelling alternative vision, based upon what successful schools are doing and which works. The RSA’s education projects, together with those of other charitable trusts and foundations which make up the Open Source Alliance, are demonstrating that it’s quite possible to design learning systems which can engage and include students (even those who will vote with their feet, should the Gove vision be enforced) without compromising standards.

It’s depressing that discussions around education policies invariably take oppositional and adversarial stances, but when you see the pendulum being hoist into such a radical position, what else can you do?

Matthew manages to combine firmness of conviction with even-handedness in his speech ‘Education at the Crossroads’ and I’d urge you to listen to it here.

3 Responses to Take That, Mr Gove!

  1. Joep says:

    Thank you for this blog.Though Dutch schooling, in which I work, and British education (Good heavens, some parents sent their children to expensive independent private boarding schools? Why would they do that???) seem to be utterly disparate, these speeches made clear to me that we are in the same battle. People complain about the loss of standards (Gove) while others desperately try to build a new curriculum (Taylor).Apparently we are in a paradigm shift all over Europe, if not the western hemisphere, for that matter. The fight is about “knowledge” versus “skills”.The issue comes down to the position of the teacher. Is the teacher willing to accept that his training may be outdated while his wisdom is needed. Is he/she an outstanding example of life long learning? If not, we will loose this battle. If yes, students will understand they need their teacher’s knowledge, while helping him out with the skills needed for these new media and this new world.

  2. Joep says:

    Thanks for this blog!Though Dutch schooling, in which I work, and British education (Good heavens, some parents sent their children to expensive independent private boarding schools? Why would they do that???) seem to be utterly disparate, these speeches made clear to me that we are in the same battle. People complain about the loss of standards (Gove) while others desperately try to build a new curriculum (Taylor).Apparently we are in a paradigm shift all over Europe, if not the western hemisphere, for that matter. The fight is about “knowledge” versus “skills”.The issue comes down to the position of the teacher. Is the teacher willing to accept that his training may be outdated while his wisdom is needed. Is he/she an outstanding example of life long learning? If not, we will loose this battle. If yes, students will understand they need their teacher’s knowledge, while helping him out with the skills needed for these new media and this new world.

  3. David Price says:

    Joep:Thank you for visiting – please feel free to comment whenever you feel like it!Personally I don’t see the knowledge/skills debate as an either/or question. The schools I’m currently working with on the Learning Futures project see skills development as both a ‘re-adjustment’ of our previous fixation with knowledge above all else, and a vehicle to engage students more.As you say the teacher’s role in this is critical, and the way we currently train our teachers in the UK doesn’t always help trainees to discover their own key skills that employers keep saying they need: communication, teamwork, problem-solving, creativity.

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