It’s the department that seems to be the graveyard for so many political careers. Whilst easy to blame a largely left-wing teaching fraternity, who have, on a number of occasions, been extremely resistant to change, some bizarre decisions regarding the future of our children have been made.
Last to be given the poisoned chalice was Gavin Williamson, whose innovative T-levels may yet rescue his reputation, but his guesstimated exam results during a blanket school shutdown that this party argued should never have taken place, rightly got him sacked yet again. He did manage a knighthood for his troubles.
After the National Association of Head Teachers, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, the National Union of Teachers and the NASUWT passed motions of no confidence in Michael Gove’s policies at their conferences in 2013, he had to be taken out of the firing line and was given the post of chief whip.
So, it was never going to be an easy job trying to pick up the pieces of education after the most disrupted two years in history. New incumbent, Nadhim Zahawi has come out with the startling conclusion that the length of the school week is the problem now. He pointed out the average school week was 32.5 hours long, but at "thousands of schools" pupils were getting less teaching time a day.
He said: "If it is 20 minutes lower... that is the equivalent of two weeks lost from the school.
"Two weeks loss of learning is a big loss which is why I want every school to do this.
"I'd like them all to do it by the end of this year, but I know some of them have logistical problems which is why we said that by next year they should achieve that."
Is it just me whose first thought was that this is more to elongate childcare so parents can be efficient tax slaves than for any benefit to children? Treating everyone the same will fail. Better teachers will complete work in a shorter time. Brighter kids, the same. Does making a child sit in a room bored contribute to anything? This, and other reasons, is why
The Libertarian education system would fulfil the following three simple objectives:
■Give parents authority over their children’s educational choices.
■Break-up the de facto state education monopoly.
■Grant increased autonomy to education providers, whilst imposing only a limited collection of mandatory ‘core’ subjects (English, Mathematics and Science) up to sixteen.
Each child is different and has different needs. Trapping them in a classroom till the slowest one catches up is neither fair nor constructive.
Martin Day – Party Secretary