So Mr Gove, champion of the Academic, how are you and your department when it comes to the more practical things in life? Not so good, it seems. For example, on the 21st March he was asked a question in the house about his policy of not allowing re-sits in e-bac subjects:
Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West) (Lab): Ofqual says that the Secretary of State has asked it to look at A-level and GCSE re-sits, including in the English bac subjects. We learnt this month that it took the accident-prone Secretary of State seven attempts to pass his driving test and that his car was badly damaged recently when he got it stuck in a car parking lift. If it is seven times for Gove, how many times will mere mortals get to pass the bac?
In the same session, John Hayes, an education minister, was asked about the teaching of design. Not only was this incorrectly taken to refer exclusively to design and technology, but it was assumed that d&t was something to do with apprenticeships.
Mr Hayes: The white heat of technology has never been more important. Britain’s future chance of success lies in our being a high-tech, high-skilled nation, which is why the Government have agreed an unprecedented level of commitment and expenditure to apprenticeships, which are being taught in many schools. We will continue to build that high-tech, high-skilled nation. I recommend our strategy to my hon. Friend – signed copies are available.
And elsewhere, again equating D&T with getting your hands dirty, Nick Gibb said in response to an Ofsted report suggesting that D&T needs to place more emphasis of robotics, electronics and computer-aided design:
“The Budget set out a big expansion of technical colleges – to provide high quality vocational education alongside academic classes, to thousands more pupils.”,
What’s emerging seems to be a fundamental ministerial misunderstanding of the difference between technological education and technical education. The Government clearly has a lot to learn about what Design and Technology is all about. Perhaps it should make more of an effort to read the D&T Subject Importance Statement as laid out in the National Curriculum documents? And then perhaps a re-sit of its policies?
Let’s just hope other government departments are a bit better informed about matters such as the economy, the health service and Libya…