Dear Mr Gove: Michael Rosen’s letter from a curious parent

Writing his latest “letter from a curious parent” in the Guardian, Michael Rosen wonders why Michael Gove has been quiet recently. This is an extract…

You run England’s academies and free schools under a system of one-man rule that Mussolini would have envied, so I was surprised that you have been so quiet over the last few weeks.

A key part of your empire has been falling apart. Aren’t you responsible for the chaos around the resignation of the headteacher at Pimlico primary, the financial irregularity at King’s science academy, the disaster of Al-Madinah and your ministers juggling with the stats over free schools’ supposed success?

Again, you seem to be lying doggo on a Sunday Times story that there are plans to get rid of “soft” GCSEs like law, media studies, art, drama and PE. Can I tell you how arrogant this way of launching policy looks to teachers, parents and students? I suspect that you and a tiny group of like-minded folk draw up a plan; you choose which newspaper you’ll leak it to; an anonymous spokesperson – coming ideally from a sub-committee – briefs a journalist and a “policy” is launched. You’ll remember you released your first ideas concerning GCSEs through the Daily Mail, though on that occasion you put yourself in the front line by doing the briefing in person. Then, when the wheels fell off, it looked as if you were in the driving seat. You’ve learned from that boob, so now, your GCSE revolution has been handed out through the tradesmen’s entrance: Ofqual did it – looking for all the world as if you weren’t indoors telling them to…

So, a major change in the fabric of secondary education is enacted without a full marshalling and discussion of evidence from academics, without a full hearing of thoughts from interested parties – in this case professionals involved in arts, PE and media studies in education, without listening to the professional teachers’ associations, unions or school governors – nor, of course, to the vestiges of advisers and officers in the now smashed local government education offices.

You are fond of citing the views of “the employers”, along with horror stories about the significance of the international tables we’re slipping down. How odd then that, on this occasion, you don’t have any words for us on the views of employers in the arts, media and sport on this planned downgrading – nor indeed any kind of commentary on how “we” have supposedly sunk down any arts, PE or media league tables…

More at:  Dear Mr Gove: Michael Rosen’s letter from a curious parent

Michael Rosen goes on to discuss Michael Gove’s recent trip to the US and speculates that the reason was to look into approaches to marketise education. What do you think of his observations this time, especially on the approach to possible plans to downgrade “soft” GCSEs like media studies, drama and PE which has concerned a lot of concern to readers of this site? Please share in the comments or on twitter… 

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Categories: Policy.


  1. Mike Bell

    More rants about a policy made without consultation.  Our`eye is off the main problem: that the Minister has these powers. 
    We need to stop whinging when the current minister uses the power and start campaigning to remove the power.
    Why is no-one interested in this?

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