I listened with mounting disbelief last week at BETT as Michael Gove, Secretary Of State for Education, revealed his total ignorance of what happens in schools today. Watch the whole of his speech here
He said, “The fundamental model of school education is still a teacher talking to a group of pupils. It has barely changed over the centuries, even since Plato established the earliest “akademia” in a shady olive grove in ancient Athens.
A Victorian schoolteacher could enter a 21st century classroom and feel completely at home. Whiteboards may have eliminated chalk dust, chairs may have migrated from rows to groups, but a teacher still stands in front of the class, talking, testing and questioning.”
Maybe that’s what they do at Eton. I don’t know. I don’t go there. But hang on a moment. Hasn’t he been visiting academies and free schools lately? Maybe that’s where he saw these antiquated methods.
This week I have interviewed a primary teacher about using Skype, a secondary teacher about putting videos on a learning platform so they can be seen on the other side of the world. Meanwhile in Sidcup pupils at Burnt Oak School are working in groups using MissionMaker from Immersive Education to create games and learning how to include triggers that make things happen on screen.
I know that the teachers I talked to for my new book Brilliant Ideas for using ICT in the Inclusive Classroom don’t stand in front of a class and talk. They have too much of a sense of survival. They would be slaughtered.
Mr Gove, you need to get out more.
Brilliant Ideas for using ICT in the Inclusive Classroom by Sal McKeown and Angie McGlashon is now available from the www.routledge.com/education site
A High Court judge ruled that Michael Gove abused his powers when he axed BSF projects for six local authorities
“Wasteful and bureaucratic” were the words education secretary Michael Gove MP used when he announced the demise of Building Schools for the Future (BSF). I was working with Accessible Futures Ltd and Northgate at the time of the election, supporting Kent County Council as it sought to modernise a group of special schools.
We were working with several special schools, each of which had its own distinctive problems. There was Foreland, a special school for children with complex and profound difficulties. Because of the nature of their disabilities, some children die before they finish their schooling at Foreland and one of the sensitive organisational challenges facing the BSF team was how to relocate their ashes to the new school grounds. Is this what Gove meant by wasteful and bureaucratic?
St Anthony’s School caters for students aged 5-16 with a range of behavioural, emotional, social and learning difficulties. They had a good ratio of computers to children but needed robust laptops for the children who have dyspraxia or might misuse computers on a bad day. Laleham Gap School is the county’s specialist provision for high functioning pupils aged 3-16 with autistic spectrum disorders or speech and language disorders and has a residential unit for those children who cannot go home.