Something that is rather disappointing about maintaining this blog is the frequency in which the same old issues keep reappearing. So here we are again, back to the need for more so-called ‘rigorous’ A levels.
Now strange as though it may seem, I actually agree with nice Mr Gove that A levels should be academically more challenging – I’ve nothing against academics being assessed in ways that are appropriate to their needs. And if it reduces the number of students taking so-called ‘hard and of little practical value’ subjects, then so much the better.
The problem though is what is going to happen to the much larger majority of students who will now get poor A level grades, fail their A levels, or even more likely than not either drop out or never even start such courses? The real problem to tackle is not so much about making A levels more academic, but about making non-academic courses more socially acceptable and desirable.
I also recently read an item in the Evening Standard entitled “Historian Simon joins Gove’s gang of Right thinkers”, about various historians being asked to join the coalition team of educational advisors. Rather worryingly the general direction of so-called ‘thinking’ was that the focus in teaching History should be ‘the rise of western domination of the world’.
Perhaps a more subversive approach is needed in which we are somehow invited to join the coalition team of advisors, and, after gaining their confidence, we can start to disrupt things internally. I therefore propose that D&T is replaced by a new subject called ‘The worldwide history and influence of great British engineers of the Industrial Revolution”. Nice Mr Gove would surely leap at that?
But maybe Mr Gove’s recent performance over the ‘Schools of the Future’ list is an indication that one day he will make a major slip-up. This isn’t the first time he’s caused Mr Cameron some embarrassment with incorrect information. Let’s just hope he won’t be with us for much longer.