Search results for 'speeding'

Reckless Gove should be done for speeding

28 Oct

On 28 May 2010, we wrote a Blog post about the Secretary of State's reckless speed.

Since then, Mr Gove's dangerous driving has got worse.

Not only has he run down the GTCE and had a near miss with BSF now he has mown down the SSSNB.

This is an outrageous. According to the Government's Review of Public Bodies only three weeks ago on 14 October, the future of the SSSNB was “under consideration subject to further discussions with employer and union representatives”. What happened to the “consideration” and “discussions”?

Once again, the Secretary of State seems to be driving the departmental vehicle with careless disregard for others, making last minute, split-second decisions at whim swerving from lane to lane and cutting everyone else up.

It also seems that the department has given grant to the inexperienced New Schools Network without a tender because of the supposed need for, according to Minister Nick Gibb, "specialist skills and experience to be in place quickly“. Again, slow down and look in the mirror before pulling out!

Is this any way to run a department or a government? Politicians are generally driven by a desire to appear in the media doing something different to the last lot before the next election comes along but this is ridiculous show-off, look-at-me politics and to hell with the consequences.

The DfE, with Gove at the wheel, seems intent on demolishing national pay and conditions. Will national teachers' pay and conditions be the next victim of the run-away driver?

Gove risks being done for speeding

28 May

As we've said before in this blog but will say again, we share Michael Gove's stated belief in 'getting education right', and education can't stand still, but are concerned about the speed with which he is driving the Department vehicle.

Instead of learning from his predecessors' mistakes, Mr Gove is racing ahead with reckless speed, bringing in hasty legislation on academies and writing to schools before the Bill has even been debated. Any government should be keen to get started but needs to implement its programme within a practical and fair timescale.

Exempting certain schools from inspection is also reckless. It's like giving a car that's passed its MOT exemption from all further tests unless someone reports it for going through a red light. As time passes and the head and staff/driver and pupils/passengers change, so will the school. There's no guarantee that it will remain "outstanding". There is also far more to a successful school than the crude indicators of exam results and league tables. What about individual pupil progress, ethos, pastoral care, inspiration, place in the community ?

At least Mr Gove has taken a little more time to dispatch the quangos. So far it has not been so much the expected mass cull of quangos as Gove taking them out one by one – Becta, QCDA

However, given his enthusiasm for writing letters before passing legislation, we won't be surprised if Mr Gove can't wait until the autumn to start the abolition of QCDA and drives round to its offices in a bulldozer to start the job early.

Whether functions are undertaken by a quango or a departmental office, it is crucial that those functions are undertaken effectively, efficiently and responsibly, especially because they are using public money.

There is always the danger with such organisations that their activities and staff proliferate to justify their existence and that roles that are not essential to their core and original remit become self-perpetuating. 500 is a large number of staff for QCDA to have.

However, QCDA does have core and key functions, as Mr Gove's letter to its Chair acknowledges, and they must continue somewhere and as part of some body or department's remit.

We hope that excess speed won't lead to a crash and remain vigilant for where the Secretary of State aims next

Wise words for Michael Gove from Graham Stuart MP

3 Oct

The Chairman of the Commons Education Select Committee has urged Education Secretary Michael Gove to slow the pace of school reform.

Graham Stuart MP made the comments to the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC). They included:

“One minute they’ve said they’re raising the benchmark on GCSEs, the next they’re scrapping it.”

“We’ve got a national curriculum review, they’ve barely announced that when they announced the English Baccalaureate out of clear blue sky.”

“Please speak up loud and clear. You may be dismissed initially, the more voices who say to the secretary of state ‘stop taking the urgency pills’ and recognise the need to slow down.”

“Now if there’s coherent thinking going on in the department, then so far it’s passed by the chairman of the Education Select Committee.”

On change to the exams system, Mr Stuart commented:

“One of my challenges is trying to get them to slow down”.

He told the conference that the most successful introduction of an exam in recent years was the GCSE, which was implemented over a long period of time.

“‘Speak up’ is all I can say, at the moment they don’t appear to listen and it doesn’t look very coherent. When you throw in on top of that incoherence urgent time lines which can’t be done, you’re looking at a mess. My key message at the moment is stop changing everything all the time.”

Wise words indeed. Take a look at our numerous posts on Mr Gove and his speed  to see how often we have urged caution, consultation, considered thought and reflection.

Government can "rush" in academies but not school repairs

9 May

"The government has been accused of 'wasting precious time' with school building plans, by the Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg. The Department for Education has pushed converting schools into academies and creating new Free Schools. But it has been accused of taking its time over rebuilding the dilapidated premises of existing schools.

"The Department for Education said that these were important decisions and should not be rushed."

In various posts on Buildings Schools for the Future and Mr Gove's reckless haste over BSF, academies, quango scrapping, inspection exemptions, etc, etc, we have warned about the Education Secretary's hasty behaviour.

We have expressed our alarm at the "breakneck speed" with which the Government is rushing ahead in allowing more schools to become academies, calling for a 'less haste, more speed' approach and urging the Government to implement its programme within a practical and fair timescale, allowing a proper period of consultation with staff, parents and local communities before schools decided to change their status. There has been considerable opposition to the introduction of academies around the country and there must be sufficient time for consultation.

An article in The Guardian, "Academies drain our education funds, councils warn" raised concerns that "the academy programme is draining resources and vulnerable children may lose most".

Using the same justification that the Government used for its haste over academies, the Prime Minister has tried to justify pressing ahead with untried policies on untested free schools by saying that:

"Every year we delay, every year without improving our schools is another year of children let down".

Yet when it comes to school repairs or the urgent issue of asbestos in schools, these decisions cannot be "rushed". What about the "children let down" "every year" because they have to be sent home or work in corridors because of the poor state of repair of their school buildings?

The Education Secretary was happy to go on the BBC and other media to defend his colleagues over their dealings with the Murdochs and even to discuss the Culture Secretary's dancing skills but neither he nor any of his ministerial colleagues was available to go on the Today programme to explain his department's record on part of its own remit. (2:32:40)

The Government doesn't seem to have it priorities right.

Cutting child benefit punishes children not parents

16 Apr

Commenting on a recommendation by Charlie Taylor, the Government’s Expert Adviser on Behaviour, that parents of children in England who persistently truant should have their child benefit cut, Philip Parkin, General Secretary of Voice: the union for education professionals, said:

"I am very uncomfortable with the idea of cutting child benefit, which is there to help parents pay for their children's upkeep and support their needs. Cutting the benefit ultimately punishes the children rather than the parents.

"Many parents of persistent truants are on low incomes so reducing that income will only serve to destabilise further already dysfunctional families.

"The recommendation in the report that academy chains, sponsors and individual schools should be allowed to prosecute their pupils' parents for poor attendance could increase tension and strife between schools and parents, rather than build bridges, and distract from the normal running of the school.

"I am not convinced that fines work in changing the behaviour of parents.

"I would rather see some form of compulsory parenting classes to address the behaviour of both parents and pupils, along the lines of speed awareness courses offered to some speeding motorists instead of a fine or penalty points."

Parents do need to take greater responsibility and be accountable for their children's behaviour. Parents who condone or even encourage their children's truancy by taking them shopping during schools hours, for example are making this problem worse. By flouting the law, they are setting a bad example to their children as well as damaging their education, harming their future life opportunities, and undermining schools' authority.

However more research is needed into the complex social issues that fester behind poor pupil behaviour and how society as a whole can deal with them family breakdown, gang culture, stress and mental health, adult violence and aggression, social and economic deprivation, and social, peer and media pressures.

Are fines and benefit cuts really the answer or would parenting classes or community service tackle the issue?

Do let us know your thoughts