Mr Gove didn’t like teachers.
Mr Gove had never liked teachers, not since he had been a child himself. His teachers hadn’t liked him. His teachers had always thought they knew more than him. But they hadn’t.
Of course they hadn’t. No-one knew more than Mr Gove. No-one understood things like Mr Gove. Certainly not the teachers.
That was one of the reasons Mr Gove had been so happy when Mr Cameron made him Secretary of State for Education – though of course Mr Gove would have been a far better Prime Minister than Mr Cameron. Because as Secretary of State for Education, Mr Gove could tell the teachers what to do. That would be wonderful, thought Mr Gove.
And it was wonderful. Mr Gove enjoyed telling the teachers what to do.
But it wasn’t quite as wonderful as Mr Gove had hoped. The teachers still wouldn’t always obey him, even though he was Secretary of State for Education. They still argued. They got ‘experts’ to support them – and to argue with Mr Gove’s plans.
That wasn’t good. In fact, it was very bad. The teachers were very bad. It was then, however, that Mr Gove had his Brilliant Idea.
And it was a Brilliant Idea.
A really Brilliant Idea.
Why, thought Mr Gove, why do our schools have to be run by teachers? Teachers are stupid. Teachers don’t listen to me. Teachers don’t know anything. Teachers have spent too much time listening to namby-pamby academics and so-called ‘experts’, and being trained by people who don’t understand the glorious vision I have.
I know lots of clever people, thought Mr Gove. Not as clever as me, of course, but that can hardly be expected. Much cleverer than teachers. Much less namby-pamby. Much less trendy.
Why don’t I get those people to run our schools?
So Mr Gove sent out a proclamation. Anyone who wanted to could come and ask him and then set up a school. Their own school, with their own rules.
Some of those who asked were teachers themselves, but that couldn’t really be helped. Some, though, were the kinds of people Mr Gove really wanted.
First came Mr Toad, Mr Gove’s old friend. Mr Gove wondered for a moment why Mr Toad wanted to set up a school – Mr Gove knew that Mr Toad didn’t like children very much. Mr Toad didn’t even like spending much time with his own children. ‘Pish,’ said Mr Toad, ‘what does it matter whether you like children?’ Mr Gove nodded wisely.
Next came Mr Faith. Mr Gove liked Faith. Hadn’t Mr Gove had his own, specially inscribed Bibles given to every school? Mr Gove did like Mr Faith’s ideas, because Mr Faith didn’t seem to like teachers any more than Mr Gove did. ‘Who needs training,’ Mr Faith told Mr Gove. ‘Our Faith will make our school the best ever.’ Mr Gove nodded wisely.
Then came Little Miss Thinktank. Little Miss Thinktank was very young and had never been a teacher – which was of course a Good Thing – and she thought the right way. And she had some very clever ideas from America. Mr Gove liked America.
All was well for a while. All the preparations for the schools went well. Mr Gove had given them much more freedom than other schools, and plenty of money, so the preparations should have gone well.
So what if some of Mr Gove’s new schools didn’t have very many children. As one of Mr Gove’s teaching idols, Miss Trunchbull, once said, a school would be a much better place with no children at all.
But then things started to go wrong.
First, Little Miss Thinktank ran away, leaving her school and its children to fend for themselves. It turned out that running a school wasn’t as easy as Little Miss Thinktank had believed. All those clever ideas from America weren’t enough. Never mind, thought Mr Gove.
Then, people started to notice things were going wrong in Mr Faith’s school. In fact, they went very wrong. Mr Faith, some said, treated boys much better than girls. And didn’t train his staff properly. And didn’t check who his staff really were.
It turned out that ‘faith’ wasn’t enough. People started saying once more that schools needed teachers. Properly trained teachers. Teachers that understood education. Teachers. Real teachers.
Even Little Mr Clegg started saying so, and Little Mr Clegg very rarely dared say anything brave.
But was Mr Gove upset? Not at all. Because he still had Mr Toad. So all was still well with the world.
For the original Mr Gove, see here
For Mr Gove goes to War!, see here
For Mr Quiet, see here
Art by @KaiserofCrisps & @paulbernalUK, words by @paulbernalUK