Streaming: the new education policies made visible?

Department for Education home page, 25 May 2010
Department for Education home page on 25 May 2010: streamed from right to left

Not much happening on the new Department for Education website; they must all be too busy setting up free schools, abolishing quangos and the like. Their home page (which still, nearly two weeks into the new government, has the temporary feel that I commented on earlier) prompted my next article for NATE’s English Drama Media magazine. Not published yet – and members only: another reason to join NATE! There is a Twitter feed, to show they’re modern, though (bearing in mind the Prime Minister’s comments on ‘too many twits’, there aren’t many tweets so far and those are anodyne).

The photograph on this page becomes increasingly unsettling the more I look at it. Children are reading books – to resort to the demotic: what’s not to like? Look closer, though, and you see Tory streaming policy in action: right wing girl reads one book, commandeers another (it’s the Matthew Effect). Move left and the girls begin to close their books (closed minds). Left-wing boy can’t read, just suck his thumb – must be destined to be a hewer of wood or drawer of water – no doubt there’s some vocational training that an outsourcing company can devise to keep him busy.

One quango that they have abolished is Becta, the education technology agency. Whilst many classroom teachers might not know much about it, some of us will regret its passing. A keen young teacher wrote to NATE: ‘I’m disgusted by this frankly. If there’s one thing a country of this size and waning political influence needs, it’s surely the wider dimension of learning possibilities that ICT offers the common classroom teacher and pupil. What use is the structural investment without sharing the good practice?’ Another commentator with many years experience as a key player in the application of ICT to English added: ‘The worry is that this actually reveals a less-than-enthusiastic endorsement of ICT in schools in general.’ Let us hope not. As the Guardian leader commented: ‘Even if the staff now facing the chop at the Becta agency, which promotes technology in schools, are not deployed as effectively as they might be, they are more useful than they will be if they end up in the dole queue.’

One thought on “Streaming: the new education policies made visible?”

  1. Havent heard of Becta before but as any Agency sponsored by a taxpayers it probably was inefficient and corupted.
    Quote from their website: “Our Home Access programme will give laptops and broadband to over 200,000 of the poorest children”
    I bought my first computer- Commodore C64 form the money saved over (most probably) 3 years. That was in 1987 and I was then 9yo. I still remember the day when I got it. Well let me tell you something if they wanted it they would find a way to get it as I found, growing up in difficult times- eighties in difficult place… Poland. I am always happy to hear when the agency sponsored by me and my wife from our taxes who gives laptops and broadband to ‘poor’ children who live in a council house next door with no rent, and no mortgage (while I have to pay £950/month+ council tax) gets closed and those useless loosers who worked there (only because the uncle was an MP) get sucked. Stop this free give-away policies for your own sake (?Great?) Britain, wake up from your sick socialism now and maybe there’s a chance for you.

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