Rigour mortified

The push for ‘rigour’ continues with the introduction of the new and widely derided spelling and grammar test for 11 year olds. Michael Rosen, whose ‘Letters from a Curious Parent’ series is becoming something of a classic, perhaps offered the best critique of this misguided conception of rigour. What a shame Michael Gove is not more rigorous himself. His arrogance came to the fore this week as it emerged that the ‘evidence’ used to justify his ideas for the GCSE History curriculum came from dodgy marketing surveys from UK TV Gold and Premier Inn. A History teacher whose work Mr. Gove singled out for criticism commented that Gove “betrays a lack of knowledge, understanding, and interpretation that would make a GCSE History student blush with shame.”  Oh dear. So it was a bit rich for him to claim that Headteachers had ‘no evidence’ of how to make Education better. And it’s this kind of arrogance and ignorance that has resulted in a 3rd vote of no confidence from a teaching union. Another let-down on the ‘rigour’ front came in the form of a letter from the DoE, replying to a FOI request for Gove’s evidence on History, which not only revealed that the ‘evidence’ was ropey but also dropped a major grammatical clanger. D’oh!

Wierdly, Gove seems to think that any criticism from teachers vindicates him. And on the plus side, he does photograph beautifully. Thankfully, at least some people are able to see a way out of Education’s Death Valley



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