“Political Content”: praising opponents
I cannot work out if this is admirable or ridiculous, but there is a chunk of Michael Gove’s speech on child protection today that is not on the Department for Education website. There is a gap, marked “[Political content]“. Here is the missing section, from a news release (from Gove’s political adviser):
Just as the Labour Government early in its life felt that teachers needed to be told how to operate – down to the tiniest detail of what should happen in every literacy or numeracy hour – so the Labour Government towards the end of its life felt it had to produce thousands of pages of central Government prescription on social work practice. Both sets of interventions reflected a lack of trust in the frontline.
But the Labour Government – to its credit – recognised that while central prescription of what professionals do every day could, in certain circumstances, lift performance from weak to adequate it very rarely elevated it beyond that. So it gradually shifted its attention to helping teachers improve their practice – by setting up the National College for School Leadership, encouraging teachers in poorer schools to learn from their peers in stronger schools through initiatives such as the London Challenge and the Academy Programme and supporting professional development organisations like the Prince’s Teaching Institute. And – crucially – the last Government helped change perceptions of the profession – and enhance its prestige and self-confidence – by backing charities like Teach First which persuaded the best graduates from the best universities to enter the classroom.
Paradoxically, the main point of this section is not an attack on Labour but praise for it and a declaration that Gove intends to build on its achievements. The next, “non-political”, section announces that he wants to set up a scheme modelled on “Teach First” for recruiting top graduates into social work, called Frontline, as reported exclusively by The Independent on Sunday last month.Tagged in: child protection, frontline, michael gove, teach first
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