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John Simkin

David Cameron's Plans for Education

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Report in today's Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/ja...ndards-prestige

David Cameron will today unveil ­"brazenly elitist" plans to deter graduates with third-class degrees and those from some former polytechnics from entering the teaching profession.

As part of a push to make teaching "the noble profession" attracting the "best brains", a Tory government would deny state funding for training to graduates who achieve a third.

Students who achieve a 2:1 or above in maths or a "rigorous science subject from a good university" could apply to have their student loan written off. This definition would exclude mainly graduates from most former polytechnics, renamed universities in 1992.

At the launch of the education section of the Tories' draft general election manifesto, Cameron will declare that he hopes to emulate Finland, Singapore and South Korea, which have attracted some of the brightest graduates into teaching by making it a "high-prestige profession".

The Tory leader will say: "They are brazenly elitist – making sure only the top graduates can apply. They have turned it into the career path if you've got a good degree … We should be equally bold here. So we will end the current system where people with third-class degrees can get taxpayers' money to enter postgraduate teacher training.

"With our plans, if you want to become a teacher – and get funding for it – you need a 2:2 or higher. And we will also make sure we get some of the best graduates into teaching by offering to pay off their student loan. As long as you've got a first or 2:1 in maths or a rigorous science subject from a good university, you can apply."

Cameron, who took a first in politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford, will set out his thinking at a city academy school in London. Michael Gove, the shadow schools secretary who took a 2:1 at Oxford, has long campaigned for the Tories to raise standards in teacher training.

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Just another example of why David Cameron should not be given control of this country. Interestingly, a year ago, Cameron appointed Carol Vorderman as his "Maths Tsar". She welcomed the job by saying that she always wanted to be a maths teacher. When she was appointed Cameron told us she was the "perfect choice" for the job as she "not only knows maths inside out, but also how to extend that knowledge to a wider audience in an interesting and inspirational way". However, Vorderman left university with a third class degree in engineering. Under Cameron's plans, Vorderman would be preventing from obtaining funds to become a teacher.

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Apparently, while we were enjoying some summer weather and the Olympic opening ceremony, the government has been hard at work on our education system.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19017544

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jul/27/gove-academies-unqualified-teaching-staff

http://libcom.org/blog/education-round-27-july-2012-27072012

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http://www.telegraph...xam-system.html

http://www.guardian....cc-michael-gove

When Michael Gove took over as Education Secretary, one of his first actions was to suggest that History teaching needed to get back to facts and dates and away from historical skills and interpretation, that History should basically be about British History, and, rather like a newly-appointed dictatorial headmaster, he pronounced that the existing situation History teaching was in was 'very serious' - not his exact words, but certainly the general tenor. This belief seemed to be based on what a chosen group of cronies and to a lesser extent some like-minded academics thought, and was certainly not based on the detailed evidence of the latest current OFSTED assessment of History. He claimed at the same time that he had a very high respect for History teachers, and that he did not want to interfere in the way they taught History! However, he announced that he thought that TV historians like David Starkey had shown how History could be made exciting, and that History teachers could use their methods to make the subject popular again. He even invited the TV historian Niall Ferguson to become his History Tsar - rather oddly and publicly at the Haye on Wye book festival. By this time many History teachers were in near despair, or alternatively thinking out their guerilla tactics for continuing to teach skills and interpretation. However, despite all the talk, Gove actually gave the job of History Tsar to Simon Schama, whose worst crime - silly graphics accompanying his TV series - was probably not his fault. Interestingly, he was a Labour supporter, and not surprisingly started to tackle 'the problem' by talking to History teachers.

Gove has now attacked the whole GCSE exam system in exactly the same sort of way he tried to sort out History. There is the same unwillingness to consult widely: in fact he didn't even bother to consult the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, provoking a serious row with his Liberal Democrat partners in the Coalition Government. There are the same contradictions - progressively more lenient grade boundaries for GCSE exams (a problem sure enough) can apparently only be solved by having more essay-writing - where a simpler solution would be to simply put a stop to more lenient grade boundaries. Finally, there is the same kicking of the problem into the long grass - the first new more rigorous exams will not be taken until 2017.

Edited by Norman Pratt

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It seems that Gove is proposing a two-tier system: English Baccalaureate[/color] and non-exam. It might be a popular idea with the editor of the Daily Mail but will not be accepted by the general public. The introduction of GCSE exam was one of the best things that the Thatcher government introduced. Gove seems to be completely unaware of the problems that existed before the exam was introduced. As Kenneth Baker, who was education secretary at the time it was introduced, said yesterday: "It's vital that schools and colleges provide education which develops practical skills and personal qualities as well as subject knowledge."

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