As a school governor, you can imagined how cheered I am this morning to learn that this headline appears on the front page of the Times website [paywall]: ‘School governors condemned by Gove: School governors are ‘local worthies seeking a badge of status and the chance to waffle about faddy issues”‘.
I fear I’m not willing to pay News International to read the full article, but am not surprised to see that Michael, as a former Times journalist (and married to Sarah Vine, currently on the staff), has ensured a front page story on his own paper once again, as well as copious coverage in the Telegraph and the BBC.
I picked this up from Warwick Mansell, who also reports ‘Emma Knights, of National Governors’ Association, says: “We’ve had a lot of talk from Michael Gove about governance but not very much about how to improve things…”‘ Emma Knights told the BBC her organisation was ‘incredibly disappointed by the language of the secretary of state’.
It seems Michael Gove has also had a pop at teachers (‘NUT “embracing Trotskyism” at national conference’), so he’s trotting out popular targets (trotting out Trots – see what I did there?) to endear him to his fellow-travellers in The Party. Well, as we know, if the Dear Leader doesn’t like governors, he can sack them and appoint his own – does that make the new ones waffling worthies too?
Meanwhile – and I fear to depress you more, but as I’m in waffling mood –
One responsibility of school governors is to ensure the reporting of statutory tests, such as the recent phonics test for 6 year olds. The DfE’s planned Key Stage 2 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test materials for 2013 are now online here (see the bottom of the page). Geoff Barton, a secondary head, was moved to comment: ‘Look at question 12 and imagine how children will be taught. Read, then weep.’
Of course, this is really just another faddy issue we shouldn’t waste our time waffling about.
Stop press: There’s more on Michael Gove’s speech in the Telegraph today, where his claims that boards of governors resemble ‘Victorian parochial church councils’ is accompanied by an attack on the National Association for the Teaching of English as well (in the process getting the name slightly wrong – well, that’s journalists for you). This calls for a separate post, had I but world enough and time….