Why Michael Gove has got it wrong – Children Need to Be Prepared for School
In all of the discussions, debates and arguments around Michael Gove’s Educations Reforms there is one essential aspect of the education of our children and grandchildren that he and the coalition Government do not appear to recognise or understand.
All of the education reforms are around whether schools should become academies and the need for accredited qualifications children need to achieve for when leave school.
An argument and debate that is set to run and run.
What is also an ongoing issue for the coalition and especially the Liberal Democrats is that associated with the increase in tuition fees which has in effect priced tens of thousands of young people out of the opportunity to pursue higher education and depriving them of their future careers.
It is no more than a Conservative and Liberal Democrat “education tax on the future generation” and will undoubtedly be rewarded at the ballot box in future elections.
What Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, David Cameron and Nick Clegg appear to have missed in their reforms and policies centred on preparing young people for employment is the problems employers are finding in recruitment, that of young people not having the appropriate level of literacy and numeracy skills.
I would argue that the Government, probably because of their social and educational backgrounds and the opportunities they enjoyed, are starting and prioritising the wrong end of the education process.
That is not to say that what those in Secondary education should be ignored but they should be helped to do their job by giving them better educated and prepared children for them to work with in the learning process.
To achieve this the Government and Northamptonshire Education Authority should be concentrating on the start of the process, from Year 1 (5-year-old) to Year 6 (11 year olds).
In effect instead of making the main focus on preparing children for leaving school they should be radical and prepare children for school, prepare them for education, prepare them for lifelong learning.
Children at the start of their education need to have the highest quality of teachers and facilities to promote and encourage learning, led by the very best head teachers.
It will need a radical rethink with Primary School Teaching staff being considered to be the pinnacle of the education system and rewarded accordingly instead of as I believe they are now seen as “paid crèche staff” and of lesser importance than those who work in the Secondary School sector.
I have been fortunate to have worked in sport where it is universally known and accepted that it is easier to work with top class players who have mastered the basic skills and honed them to a point at which they are automatically performed whenever called upon and especially in pressure situations.
The glory goes to the coaches of the top class teams but the credit has to go to the coaches who have worked with the young players to develop and perfect their individual skills.
There is an oft used quote,
“Practice makes Perfect”,
which is of course wrong if the practice is wrong when in fact
“Practice makes Permanent”
What the Government and Northamptonshire Education Authority should be concentrating on is prioritising and supporting the Primary School Teachers, Teaching Assistants, Parents and those who deliver ESOL, Supplementary Schools and Sure Start to make sure the children in their charge and care are able to achieve their potential and prepare them for a lifetime of learning new skills.
Primary Schools are committed to the delivery of high quality learning but are constantly faced with cuts in funding, over bureaucratic systems and inspections and interference all of which impedes the progress the staff can make in delivering what they know is needed by individual children.
What education professionals know is that poor practice learned in Primary School cannot be corrected in Secondary School, what Primary School staff recognises is that what is needed is “Perfect Practice”, and that
“Perfect Practice makes Perfect and Permanent”
Michael Gove and Education Authority should start to listen to and invest in Primary Education if they are serious about raising the standards in education of young people leaving full-time education instead of constantly criticising and demonizing teachers who are working in environment where support is simply not being provided.
Until they do I’m afraid that we will continue to see thousands of young people disposed of on the “waste tip” of unemployment with no chance of correcting the damage inflicted on them by a lack leadership and understanding by the Government.
Do we really in the 21st Century want to raise a generation who will be lost to the economy and society because of a political failure to recognise that what you learn when young is carried with you for the rest of your life?
Parents and Grandparents of primary school age children should demand that the Government and Local Authority make Primary School education the number one priority to avoid another lost generation in years to come.