Tuesday, 15 July 2014

"Come in Number 24, your time is up!"

So, education bids farewell to Michel Gove!

In the years of my career in education I have now seen off 24 secretaries of state for education (or variations on the title of the office)! Michael Gove is number 24 on this list, ordered both chronologically and in relation to my personal enthusiasm for his policies!

Looking back, it's quite a list! There are such enduring political names as Margaret Thatcher, Shirley Williams, Keith Joseph, Kenneth Baker, Kenneth Clarke, David Blunkett, Ed Balls ... all have come for a while, dabbled in education, and moved on.

So, we know who would be at the bottom of this list of twenty-four education supremos. But who would I put at the top?

Surprisingly (to me at least), probably the secretary of state who made the most significant impact on education in this country was Kenneth Baker, who in the 1988 Education Act brought in a national Curriculum for the first time and instituted in-service training days for teachers (still called Baker days). He has since won browny-points for his outspoken criticism of Gove, accusing him of basing his policies too narrowly on his own experiences. And he is currently overseeing what looks like a first-rate initiative in education: the university technical colleges.

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