First published in The Portsmouth News, Tuesday 22nd July 2014
As a parent, I’ve been delighted to hear that Michael Gove is no longer captaining the education ship in the UK. I find it hard to believe that he ever floated anyone’s educational boat, but he certainly came close to sinking it.
Many people have commented that Michael Gove has simply been replaced by another politician with no background in education, but however much of a womble the new one is, it doesn’t detract from the Chief Womble that was Gove.
Something that has never failed to sadden me is how little interest some people take in the decisions that are made by politicians about the schooling of children in the UK. I watched the news recently and many citizens, when asked for their opinion of striking teachers, were happy to offer a cross, and generally uneducated, response.
However, I’m sadly confident that many of the people interviewed on the television would probably not, if asked, have been able to state even one of the ludicrous reforms that Michael Gove has insisted upon.
The irony of this is that much of what teachers have taken strike action against is linked to Gove, and the damage that he has wreaked upon our schools. Parents and teachers need to stand together, and cultivate a positive relationship that benefits the most important people: our children.
This lack of political knowledge is a walking advertisement of the need for better education. The last local election is also testament to this. How many UKIP voters have really investigated what UKIP is all about? How many of those who sat at home, not bothering to use their vote, have really considered what liberty they are spitting in the face of?
I sit writing this on what would have been Emmeline Pankhurst’s 156th birthday. To think that only last century other women were dying so that the women of today could vote, and to think that some women today do not even bother to visit a voting station to do so, is shameful.
It was heart-warming to see so many of my own friends and fellow parents celebrating the decline of the Gove-ernment, and taking an interest in what this might mean for our children. This gives me hope that people do care and that perhaps social media can have a positive influence in terms of educating those of us who left school years ago. For those who never left, it’s just another day at the chalkface.