Mr Gove

Mr Gove Cover

Mr Gove was extraordinarily arrogant.

Painfully arrogant.

He believed that he knew how everything should be done. He believed that everyone else in the world was stupid and ignorant.

The problem was, Mr Gove himself was the one who was ignorant.

Mr Gove Close up

He got most of his information from his own, misty, memory.

He thought he remembered what it had been like when he had been at school – and assumed that everyone else’s school should be the same.

He remembered the good things about his own school days, and thought that everyone should have the same.

He remembered the bad things about his own school days, and thought that it hadn’t done him any harm – and that other children should suffer the way that he had.

Mr Gove Super Close up

He got other information by reading newspapers.

The problem was, he read the wrong newspapers.

He read the ones that told stories that weren’t true, and he believed them.

He read the ones that said that teachers were all bad people, and he believed them.

He read the ones that said all academics were namby-pamby and trendy, and he believed them.

Now some people tried to argue with Mr Gove.

They produced this strange stuff called ‘evidence’. Mr Gove didn’t like evidence – particularly evidence that showed that Mr Gove’s ideas were bad, or that Mr Gove’s stories weren’t true.

So what did Mr Gove do?


Mr Gove Super Close up 2

Mr Gove ignored the evidence.

It was easy! Mr Gove didn’t need evidence, because he knew better than everyone else. And Mr Gove told the newspapers stories to ‘prove’ that he was right. And the newspapers printed these stories, because they wanted Mr Gove to be right.

And Mr Gove was happy

Why not? He was in charge.

And he knew better than everyone else.

So all was right with the world.

Mr Gove Cover

Words by me, art by @KaiserOfCrisps

A ‘dramatic reading’ of Mr Gove, by @Elmyra, can be found here….

343 thoughts on “Mr Gove

    1. Let’s just get Mr. Gove to show us how to teach. A two week work experience in an inner city secondary school should give him time enough!

      1. That is not enough really! He needs to work then go through Ofsted then he will fail, Then go through some competency procedure which could last over six months then be sacked. As far as I am aware recalling facts is not a higher level skill. Mr Gove himself will fail Ofsted requirements.

      2. That is a brill idea. Get him to teach 18th Century Literature to a group of disaffected Year 9 kids – that might give him a shock!

      3. Yeah let’s go back to the 1960s when they only let 5% of the population go to university – pretty well only if you came from a public school or a grammar school and you didn’t have to bother giving an education to Secondary Modern kids cos they could earn a decent living delivering letters and printed newspapers, developing films for people down at Boots, working as pump attendants at a filling station, et al. You and Mr Gove seemed made for one another…

      1. Oh yes please. The ambitious, young, pretty Ms Truss. What does she have in store for Gove? Love? I don’t think so.

    2. Let’s be fair to Mr Gove, I mean, who needs to learn about stuff relevant to the modern world, Classics is far more useful. So many times in my professional career I’ve been faced challenges only greek mythology could solve!

      1. Actually I have found Classical Myth to be quite useful. But I’m aware I’m an anomaly
        Chief Storyteller at Ganymede Alchemists

      2. Don’t tell Mr Gove, but the classics have been no end helpful for me as a writer – whether for spelling, grammar, understanding words I have never come across before, understanding allusions in other people’s writings. I don’t look down my nose at people who scraped a few GCSEs but Mr Gove would tell you that the classics are v good for that too!

    3. Unfortunately, Mr Gove is only the last in a long line of Education Ministers who know little or nothing about Education

      1. Everyone thinks they know all about education because they’ve been to school. Funny how few want to place themselves in my position and teach maths to disaffected 16-18 year olds!

    4. In response to anonymous advising a previous contributor to ‘lighten up’ I will be sure to tell my partner this when she is at the end of yet another 70 hour week and is crying because she hasn’t see her three daughters for over a week. Although, I hope you will forgive me if I do so from outside the front door.

      The teaching profession need to get organised and fight back, you are not victims, you are thoughtful, caring professionals, it’s time to kick him in the goolies!

    1. This is an unfair post. There are many turds with lots of life and structure in them. To liken Gove to turds is to do turds a disservice.

  1. When engaging with people we disagree with should we:
    a) discuss and debate the good and bad points of their arguments and the alternatives; or
    b) create a funny caricature, assign ludicrous statements to it, and then act like we are right because the caricature we have created holds the ludicrous views we have assigned to it.

    Children learn by example – do we really want to teach them that childish abuse is the best way to engage with politics and politicians? Do we want them to think that it is ok to hold stereotypical views of people, and then make fun of them? Do we want them to think that personal abuse is ok as long as it is directed at people we intensely dislike? Is that the limit of our ambition for a good society?

    1. Fair comments – in part – but you have to see this as just part of the debate, and something that is a starting point not an ending point of discussion. It puts a perspective – and one shared by many people. That’s one of the key purposes of satire and humour, isn’t it? One of my main criticisms of Gove’s comments is his assumption that using the Mr Men meant that teaching methods were necessarily simplistic and crude. They don’t have to be – if used intelligently and with humour…

      1. I agree 100% with the comments made by Anonymous. If the writer wants to be seen as contributing to the debate, perhaps they could attempt to write something more constructive and thoughtful. I found little evidence of intelligence, humour or satire in the post. Please try harder.

      2. Anonymous is… …wrong. To say the piece is childish suggests a lack of interaction with children. This is clearly adult humour and humour is by far the best weapon. Ridicule is not far behind and is a great tool for putting stupidity into perspective.

    2. If one tries (a) again and again and it fails because others refuse to engage, then what we are left with is (b). “Some people tried to argue with Mr. Gove. They produced this strange stuff called evidence…Mr. Gove ignored the evidence…”.

      1. Exactly so. We do our best to engage at every level… when all else fails, we have to laugh, and make jokes, or else we’ll cry. But I never give up trying to engage on the issues too….

    3. Taking the assumption that all parties are interested in a reasonable debate is mistake number one.

      Diluting one’s position by attributing the implied validity to the opposing position by inviting it to discussion is mistake number two.

      Acting as if reasoned debates move public opinion is why liberals loose and the right get to run amock with public policy.

      1. Failing to learning to spell and use correct grammar is the most fundamental mistake of all.

      2. Unfortunately in my experience, most politicians do not allow time to engage in debate; they already have the agenda and if you argue against it, they go ahead anyway. That is the real shame here, that those put in charge, Michael Gove included, display such ignorance and continue to put forward illogical ideas which are not evidence based. Satire is a perfectly legitimate tool to use when opposing those who refuse to listen to sense. The Americans displayed it all over when Bush was president. Gove should do the decent thing and resign before he does any more damage to the lives of teachers, pupils and their parents.

    4. Satire and caricature are historically evidenced ways- Hogarth et al: for the disempowered and previously disenfranchised to poke fun at the antics, aberrations and arrogance of their lords and masters: Gove is so eminent and evidently absurd, arrogant and twisted, he’s a sitting duck (note the resemblance)-quackers-why be so stuffed shirt Toryish pubic schoolboy about it-he’s only avin a laff ha ha ha aha ha aha aha aha aha aha

    5. That’s probably what the establishment said about Swift’s ‘Modest Proposal’. I re-read this and couldn’t find any personal abuse (unlike our staffroom, where the word ‘Gove’ is often followed by ‘ignorant tw*t’, ‘swivel-eyed lunatic’, ‘f*ckwit’ etc). The problem with satirising the current crop of Tories is that they have already become caricatures. Gove already looks and behaves like a Spitting Image puppet, so to exaggerate his stupidity and arrogance even further takes the stereotype to extremes.

      1. Maybe so, but short of tarring and feathering, hanging from lamp posts or other less extreme or satisfying means of consigning these elitist and reactionary puppets and clowns to the dustbin of history-what can a poor boy do but…… ha ha ha ha aha aha aha aha ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    6. Sorry Mr Gove, start listening to what pwople are saying. Teahers are sick of you and your attitude – simple!

    7. Part of the charm of the UK is to deal with things in a humorous way. Satire is part of our heritage. Standing up to a bully in a non-threatening way, showing his behaviour for what it is. This is not a lesson – it is having a laugh about something which makes you want to weep. Richard Perry – not anonymous.
      P.S. Mr Gove has already made it clear that he does not wish to “debate” anything.

    8. Rubbish – this is clearly a witty response to a ludicrous rant by Gove about Mr Men History. The man has not a clue what it is like to teach in a classroom or teaching methods that actually engage pupils. His ideas are not only out dated but totally impractical and damaging to our children’s education. Teachers are tired of jumping through ridiculous hoops that make no sense. Teachers moral is rock bottom. Teachers have had enough – we try our absolute best for the kids we have in front of us only to be told that we must change what we do for something that is downright damaging. This is an excellent response to that – it encapsulates what the vast majority of people in education are currently feeling. I’m guessing you don’t work in the classroom or even in a school.

      1. Teachers moral is rock bottom. Any chance of an apostrophe in there somewhere, teacher, or did our education system fail you too?

      2. Teachers moral is rock bottom. Any chance of an apostrophe in there somewhere, teacher, or did our education system fail you too? And I think you meant morale not moral.

    9. True but it’s still funny and we should teach our kids about using humour as a way of dealing with people who have been put in a position of power then abuse it. Its not like Mother theresa got this kind of abuse now?! I wonder why that might be?

    10. Given that ridicule and finger-pointing seem to be one of the governments primary tools, the correct answer is b) if we want our kids to go into politics

    11. yes, I do want to make fun of him. He ignores everything known about teaching, children and education , stands up and vents his (unsubstantiated) OPINION – which is very rude behaviour. I can express mine, or have paulbernal64 do it for me. Gove will not pay any attention to politely expressed dissent let alone change anything he has decreed so far.

  2. Dear Paul,

    This is great and sadly very true. I’ve just put a video up on Youtube of me performing “The God of Data”, my biblical parody of data-driven education which includes a good go at Gove, which I think you might enjoy. I did it at a folk festival on Monday. Here’s the link: or just google my name. Please share if you want to. Keep up the good work.

    All the best, Rob Barratt (Plymouth NUT)

    1. I’m as sorry as you Sarah that Gove is my MP too, and I’m not a teacher. He is impervious to reason or evidence.

  3. Just to let you know – have posted this on the Guardian’s Politics Live Readers’ edition. It’s been much appreciated! The perfect parody of Mr Gove.

  4. Oh love it! I never knew, since Thatcher, that it was possible to hate someone that one has never met. Can’t bear what he is doing to an education system that the whole world has admired and wanted to emulate.

  5. Completely and utterly brilliant. Best thing I have read this year. And who said Mr Men couldn’t be educational?

  6. Knew it wouldn’t be long before someone created a Mr Men in response to Gove’s idiotic notions yesterday, absolutely priceless! He hasn’t the first idea of what it is like to teach in today’s classrooms and has refused to listen to reason at every opportunity – its his way or else. God help the children of the future if his “reforms” come to fruition!

      1. Maybe he’ll forget how to breath as he seems to have forgotten that the education system needs to be improved not destroyed! Gove stop breathing as you are using up valuable resources, you Guerrilla! I would like to say by remaining Anonymous Anonymous your voice and words are pretty much nothing.

  7. You could have made the point much more simple by saying :
    mr groves is a “Politician” what is a politician ”
    he is someone useless at anything els who is self opinionated
    never whats to read evidence or reports
    Just likes simple summaries he can understand as long as they support his own ideas.
    Finally, the modern trend of wanting to interfere in the minutea of running averything invariable makes matters worse.
    Gove and Osborne are probable the worst of the present ” professional Politicians” for this attititude.
    The are the ” Mister Beans” of this Government who even make there fellow politicians worried.

  8. I note that this is all hearsay, and based on zero actual evidence…. Rather than lowering yourself to abuse and innuendo, try fleshing this out with some evidence….. Certainly Michael Gove is probably the best education secretary since Kenneth Baker

    1. Quite the opposite – pretty much all of it is based on real events,and if this were an academic paper I’d provide references for each statement. It isn’t… It’s satire, and parody. Humour, don’tcha know? 😉

    2. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha – funniest comment I have ever read
      Has anonymous not seen this? specially from 6mins 10seconds.

      What a twit he is – way to go Breakfast TV presenters!!!!

      1. That is why I have resigned. I have always been an outstanding teacher. Appointed an early years specialist to support and advise private nurseries. Ofsted, agreed with that assessment of my teaching. Now my school is an academy they have brought in someone who knows better. Has changed all our foundation way of teaching in the academy schools. Some of her ideas are good. Ofsted just been into one of the schools she has changed and they were failed! She questioned my staff while I was off ill. Found things to use against me. I was suspended. Month later I had my first meeting where they told me the supposed allegations. Petty needless to say and not sackable. Found out from my staff last week the so called allegations had been twisted. I felt confident I would not get sacked. They wantedoto take me disciplinary so were going to sack me. All I had done was care for a child in my care in a school nursery. Glad I’m out of it now. It is no longer about the children. 9 staff have left since September…. it’s a poot time for good teachers especially if you are expensive and in your 50’s. Well done Paul excellent work.

    3. Oh really not… you cannot have anything to do with education to say that – or have children in education, or your eyes or ears open… perlease!!! What a ridiculous thing to say!

  9. “Yadda Yadda”, as the Great Man would say. Just be grateful that a man from modest beginnings with a passion for education and the arts, who welcomes the social mobility that can be unleashed from a childhood rich with those gifts, is currently at the helm and trying to get some rigour back into the system to benefit your kids. This is contrasted with his predecessors who managed the decline witnessed over the past 20 years (“A’s for all!”). Let’s have a look at them:

    The recent predecessors to Michael Gove (adopted at 4, grew up in Aberdeen with Labour voting parents who ran a local business and sent him to the local state school from where he got a scholarship to the local grammar … to Oxford … to the Times (okay, scratch that) … to the nightmares of the North London dinner party set … ) are:

    Edward “The Disaster” Balls – privately educated at Nottingham High School . Father is the eminent zoologist Michael Balls who campaigned nationally to close local grammar schools before sending his son private to NHS (Empty Balls often throws the “high school” about but not many “high schools” cost £20k pa and have a first XI wicket good enough for 1st class cricket. Poor 1st XV in my year though. But good teas.). Then off to Oxford and Keble College. A lovely college Keble. Isn’t there some priceless art in their chapel? I understand from a mate that Edward was a leading member of the “Steamers” when reading his PPE at Keble. The Steamers are a venerable drinking club with a penchant for trashing pubs and college bars. . Fine by me – youthful indiscretions and all that – but hypocrite re Bullingdon Dave? I guess working as a journalist at the FT for all of 4 years before entering politics as Gordon Brown’s less charming political soul mate is a redeeming feature. His wife seems thoroughly nice though. Good that the Labour party found neighbouring seats for them both in Yorkshire in between their midland and Scottish routes. But that’s local democracy socialist style. Now that David Minipants has left the shadow cabinet leaving just the one familial relationship therein do you think they feel uncomfortable talking about social mobility for everyone else when they are on the same payslip paid by thee and me? Oh, of course not, Old-Paulian and niece to the aristocracy Hatty Harperson of Camberwell (actually, Stradella Road, Dulwich Village – one like this (that is not the one btw)) got her hubby in at the last election.

    AJ – man of the people. Decent chap despite awful shirts on This Week with old Brillo every Thurs (even worse than El Portillo). Thick as two short planks unfortunately. Despite a lack of the grey matter, he must be a bloody good chap though as Edward Milliband (suckled at the teat of 1970s and 1980s Labour grandees in his (now) multi million pound childhood North London town house) wanted AJ as shadow chancellor to keep out nasty Edward! Didn’t last long unfortunately.

    Ruth Kelly – privately educated (Millfield Prep and Westminster, darling). Nice mumsy PR schtick Nuw Labour got going for her, what wiv’ all those kids and juggling high office, etc. But as a member of Opus Di, many would, believe it or not, still rather have old Blinky Govey with his hands on the curriculum tiller. Her grandfather’s politics were rather interesting if I recall … and most people think politicians should be able to send their children to whatever type of school they want….

    Charlie Clarke – always came across as a rather good egg in my book. Fiercely anti Crash Gordon so cannot be all that bad. Strong left in the old days I hear. Head of the National Union of Students before mainstream politics. Perfect to fit in with the educationalists running the asylum then. Again, this man of the people new that what they wanted were easy exams and grade inflation, year on year, with talk about reform, but no action. He probably learned that particular “Sir Humphrey” approach to reform on the knee of Sir Richard Clark KBE OBE, or “Daddy”, who after a jolly good war in Washington DC joined the UK civil service to eventually rise to Permanent Secretary. That is probably how he could afford to send Charlie to fee paying Highgate school.

    Estelle Morris – well, at least she had the good grace to fall on her sword after admitting Ministerial life was not for her after 16 months of giving it a good bash. Good for her. Surprised she had not thought it through considering Daddy and Uncle Morris were both Lab MPs. They could have at least told her that when she was at the local grammar school (educational standards ahoy!) she attended. Anyway, Nuw Labour loved the “prices for all” culture and Estelle is no exception. Last I heard she was VC of Sunderland Uni and Labour point person on various quangos. Hope she can fit it all in when not picking up her allowance in the HoL.

    Of course old Blunkett was before Estelle as The Man’s first Sec of State for Educatin’ Yoof. Now there is a man who was not given a hand up to the top table. Like Gove, then.

    I do not suggest that you need to have been through the school of hard knocks or have had a “normal” upbringing to be a good Minister or expert on Education. Of course not. But it seems to me that so much of the criticism laid at Gove could have be laid at his utterly useless Labour predecessors, but wasn’t, as they were not doing anything other than giving out prizes. They cared more about the teachers and unions. Gove cares more about the kids and their parents. And that, folks, is fine by me.

    In 2000 our school system was ranked 7th internationally

    As quickly as 2009 we were 28th.

    This is madness and has to stop before it is too late. So before before all you vested interest teachers, academics and arm chair moaners wail at the prospect of your kids being told to memorise a poem, sit a maths test, or know a few kings, queens and PMs of their country, please remember why there are millions of young parents like me praying that Govenballs opens a free school in my area and brings back some academic and cultural life to those schools (by no means all) which are failing to prepare our little Edwards, Ruths, Charlies and Estelles for the real world.

    Toodle pip. Have a nice weekend. Oh, school closed 2 hours ago did it?

    1. A fine and detailed analysis – but why not talk about the estimable Twigg, a man highly likely to make an even worse Education Secretary than Gove…

      …but I notice you don’t actually mention the main substance upon which this parody is based. I have no (well, OK, not much) objection to Gove as a man, no matter how humble or otherwise his origins. My problem is with his evidence-free approach to policy. Have you noticed how even his own History advisors have come out against his planned curriculum? There’s a reason for that…

      P.S. my own seven year old daughter knows a huge amount about the Kings and Queens of England. They do actually teach that stuff at school… it’s nothing like the way it’s described in the Daily Mail…

      1. Yes, Paul, you’re right. Your Mr Men piece was a nice Friday afternoon chuckle which I enjoyed. It was more the comments which followed it that inspired me to waste half an hour on my own “comment”!

        As a nation of political watchers we like nothing more than to moan about the status quo. Spin. Race to the bottom.. “All parties are the same!”. “Vote? Why bother, nothing changes”, etc … Yes, some of that is inspired by the Dail Mail (and The Guardian, oh, and the overly cynical Beebot Nick Robinson). But when a man of some intellect and ability comes along and tries to shake things up A BIT then We R Moaners Ltd (wouldn’t go public) see their opportunity to oppose.

        I have not time to talk about the evidence on this particular issue unfortunately. I better go and do some work! But I included a link to some evidence about general slipping down the international league tables which is interesting.

        Of course we need to make sure education is correctly pitched to all levels. Mr Men, perhaps, for the less academic (and hopefully, young. Year 11, really?). Horodotus for the rest (you may, I am guessing, prefer E.P. Thompson –!).

        Anecdotally, of course, but my father-in-law (no lover of Gove), who was a teacher for many years before becoming an education officer and then head of a v poor London Borough’s education department up until retirement generally agrees that standards have slipped too far for the majority (but that we mustn’t let those sight of those at the bottom – which is why he doesn’t like free schools even if they are grammar schools by the back door (the closing of which he has come over time to regret)).

        I am heartened to hear of your daughter’s interest and ability in history at a young age (suggestion: trip to Hadrian’s Wall this Summer – did it for me at a similar age).

        Bon week-end*


        (*for the benefit of any children reading, that is French for “have a good weekend”)

      2. Bon weekend to you too! We did Hadrian’s Wall last summer – and will probably do it again later this year. I’m aiming for Cathar castles this summer too.

    2. Well said! Our education system needs reform. Those within the system refuse to accept that change is needed and rather than come up with ideas to help drive change and improvement, they just shout loudly that the gov’t is wrong. “I don’t like it, therefore it is wrong” seems to be the winning attitude from all involved. Well I don’t like the fall in education standards since 2000. I don’t like the unwillingness of teachers, LEAs and unions to accept that they need to up their game. I don’t like that my daughter will likely receive an education barely worthy of it’s name.

      If you don’t like the government’s ideas, provide an alternative. Raise standards. Increase competition. Prepare our children for life. Do your job! If I dislike changes in my workplace, the way to get them scrapped is not to throw a wobbly and shout down the plans, but to come up with an achievable, efficient and affordable alternative – and we’re still waiting for teachers to get off their guardian reading, left wing, “prizes for all” arses and show us exactly how they would fix this!

      1. I’m sure if the government actually asked teachers then they would have plenty of creative suggestions in how things could be improved. The issue is that teacher’s…ie. the TRAINED professionals that work the nations children on a day to day basis are not asked what they think is best and when they do make suggestions they are ignored. Gove’s suggestions largely show a complete lack of understanding of children and the way they learn best. Teachers are treat like public enemy number one but actually they are want the same thing as the government – what is best for the children involved!!

    3. Oh my no, how could we possibly fall from 7th out of 32 to 28th out of 74.

      Could it possibly be that this study proves nothing? Could you in fact be, like your favourite Mr Man, be selectively choosing and interpreting evidence that supports your view point?

      ‘Yadda Yadda’ indeed.

    4. As a teacher, I’ve just got to let you know – school doesn’t close when the children go home. Don’t think you realise, I’ve only just finished my marking and found time to read this at 7:30pm on a Friday evening – lots more work planning and preparing for next week to do this ‘nice’ weekend also !! Just thought you might want to get your facts straight there – toodle pip !!

    5. ACM – As a teacher, I’ve just got to let you know – school doesn’t close when the children go home. Don’t think you realise, I’ve only just finished my marking and found time to read this at 7:30pm on a Friday evening – lots more work planning and preparing for next week to do this ‘nice’ weekend also !! Just thought you might want to get your facts straight there – toodle pip !!

      1. Lisa – thank you for reading my comment. I hope you manage to enjoy some of the weekend.

        I have actually taught too (history funnily enough – I did a mean spiel on The Vikings to some 10 year olds) but that is not my profession. Like in 1984 (do they still teach that or is it illustrated too?) those outside the Party sometimes know what is going on as well. So starting “As a teacher…” adds context but no more than that.

        I think you know that I understand teachers have a great deal of marking (and hopefully sports, music and extra-cur stuff) to do after the school day finishes in the early to middle of the afternoon. You have chosen a very worthy, respected and important, if stressful, career (on the other hand, also secure, relatively – in time – well paid and with better pension plans than the rest of us). If you are good at it, we salute you.

        But the facts are also that 7.30pm is a pretty standard leave for my team here at the coal face and that it is a Friday is irrelevant to my boss. I will be putting a few hours in tomorrow morning too. Admittedly, that is mainly because I spent too much time on this blog this afternoon which is my fault of course …. ! But you makes your choices. Unfortunately, I do not have a 6 week holiday around the corner to work towards though.

        We all want happy and rewarded teachers to teach our little darlings. If I may respond to you with a “fact” of my own, it is this: that in these difficult times, a significant amount of people are getting thoroughly tired of the Teaching Establishment acting like a 1970s Trades Union tribute band. We want better standards and we want the pursuit of excellence, within a balanced curriculum. Some of us feel that Gove is the first in a long time to address this. He may be doomed to fail (like, as I was saying, those who preceded him) but some of us a relieved that finally some one is giving it a go.

    6. ACM – I feel that you like a good sound bite ! You clearly are well educated and know alot about history but, in my opinion, having a dig at schools finishing early and making reference to the 6 weeks holidays really doesn’t add much substance to your argument.

      You say you’re an ex teacher but those sorts of comments would suggest a lack of understanding of the profession on your part. Therein lies the problem that Michael Gove has created. Most good teachers agree standards should be high and desperately want to give a good quality education to our children, it honestly is our mission ! However, how can a man with no educational background or experience be the right person to advise us? Just because you once went to school doesn’t provide you with sufficient credentials (I have been to the dentist but I’m sure you wouldn’t want me drilling your teeth!) Gove, and most of the country, seem to feel they know what we should be doing without ever having tried it themselves. Personally, I got an ‘outstanding’ grade from OFSTED this year but most of the parents of the children I teach, in an inner city school, think they can advise me on how better to do my job on a daily basis, despite having never gone to work themselves, or even school in a small number of cases. Gove is fuelling this lack of respect and understanding of the profession. Put someone with a real experience of the challenges we face and then we can listen.

      Oh, and on the point of holidays – as you will obviously know most teachers do, in fact, go in to school and work for long periods throughout the summer, and I for one, would actually like to be able to choose to book a holiday during the non-peak term time (like most of the parents of the children I teach) so I could actually afford to go somewhere when my holidays come round.

    7. Ps – Not all teachers are trade unionists ACM. Unlike my father, who was a miner in the 1970’s – now he really did put in a hard day’s graft at the ‘coalface’. No time for blogging on the job then !

    8. My main concern is that Gove presents polemic not actual considered opinion. You can see for yourself that the Mr Men thing is an additional private teaching resource, so nothing to do with government oversight, and also is just a revision exercise for Year 11s to teach Year 7s about WW2.

      Seems like a perfectly valid resource, academic snobbery aside. So Gove misrepresented this resource in order to support his point, which is very irresponsible for a Minster to do. I want evidence based policy, not agenda driven.

      The ‘real world’ is a constantly changing job market and we need to prepare children with critical thinking skills and the ability to set goals and perform independent research. Something Gove has failed to display, and nothing I have seen in supporting arguments for his opinion.

    9. The children were able to leave an hour ago. Teachers will still be there running clubs and/or preparing for Monday.

  10. Fantastic piece of writing!
    If mr gove ever wants to see an example of a good piece of non-fiction, here it is!
    The man is an out of touch prick. Fact.

  11. That’s made my day. It’s not often I actually laugh out loud but that had me roaring. Brilliant!

  12. Been following Goves ridiculous ramblings on this all week, this was the perfect antidote, cheers

  13. Fantastic… thank you…. Could you write a Little Ms Truss to go with it for us Early Years people!!??

  14. I have only the perspective of a parent to share.
    I fail to understand why my daughters teachers set a target for her to work towards based on what she achieved in junior school tests in English. How does this help her improve her art for example. I know it is increasingly seductive to attach a number to everything but perhaps the numbers should mean something.
    Listening to the frustration expressed by teachers on this post leads me to wonder if the targets are set by Mr Gove?
    In order to inform myself a little better I have looked at some of the “ridiculous ramblings” mentioned in posts above. Much is technical and beyond me but I share a mathematical worry about the idea that all schools will be average or better. Is my old fashioned education under Mrs T letting me down or does average mean something that I have failed to comprehend?
    Do not mark my essay please!

    1. This is a constant source of frustration to me too, parents need to be informed (and perhaps Mr Gove too) that teachers do NOT set the targets. We are required to accept the target set by the Fisher Family Trust, an organisation which, through the application of maths and fairy dust , comes up with a target for each child, for each subject. Teachers are then judged and performance managed on the basis of that target. A teacher target is also set, but, in my case at least, teachers are not allowed to set a teacher target below that set by the FFT. Many of the complaints that parents find themselves making – often justifiably ( I’m a parent too) are actually a result of teachers having to put local authority or government led legislation into practice. I too am frustrated at the need to put numbers on to everything, which require a lot of admin to crunch and record, these should be meaningful and actually relect the ability and aspirations of the child. So no, Mr Gove does not set the targets, but neither do the teachers.

      1. Another thing to bare in mind is that ENglish and Maths targets are set based on their achievements in primary school. The problem with this is that pupils have been taught to the exam (just like we do with GCSE) to achieve the highest possible level – it does not actually mean they are that level, just that they know how to answer the exam paper. When we get pupils in year 7, they can come to us with a supposed level 5, yet are unable to write in sentences properly and are actually working at a level 3. This is not a one off – it happens with about half the students – their levels bare no resemblance to reality. Unfortunately we are not allowed to regress levels and have to work with what they come with.
        As has happened with one of my pupils (now at the end of yr8) – his father has complained that he has not made any progress since he entered the school on a level 5.5 (not surprisingly) WHen I started teaching him at the start of yr 7 he was still only a level 4.2 (meaning he must have been a level 3 in yr 7). He has made much progress as I have been able to prove through his work but seen as I am not allowed to regress his levels from primary school, I have had to put down level 5.5 continually.
        The system is wrong. It also does not take into account that children are not robots and that they progress at different levels and legaue tables mean that levels often do not reflect reality.

  15. As a teacher myself, I can’t help but think that mr gove’s, and the government themselves, would find a more rewarding and complete education system if they concentrated more on parenting skills rather than on criticising teachers.
    A well rounded, polite, respectful and confident child is not created in a school, but is grown through parents, society and the education system. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, mr gove is perfectly happy pointing the finger at teachers over parents because when it comes to polling day, teachers are a minority compared to parents.
    Unfortunately, while there are massive accountability issues in the education sector, there is no accountability when it comes to parenting.
    Mr gove, you’re looking under the wrong stone.

    1. Said it perfectly! Thank you. When you’re teaching children who haven’t been fed, aren’t cared for and whose patents can’t even get them to school on time – you’re losing the game immediately.

  16. What is ACM on about? Is he suggesting that Mr Gove must be an idiot because he went to a state school? Or is he suggesting that state school education can help an ordinary person rise to the top? Cake and eat it perhaps?

    1. No dearmichael, many thanks for your reply (I am flattered), but unfortunately you did not read to the end, and even if you’re choosing to misinterpret my comment for your own satisfaction, nowhere do I say anything to suggest “MG must be an idiot because he went to a state school.” Quite clearly I was saying [your words] “that state school education can help an ordinary person rise to the top”. My meme was that we need more quality state education to help more ordinary people [your phrase] make it and ONE way of doing this is to beef up academic standards which have, in many people’s opinion, have been allowed to slip. We (for we are many) think this dumbing down is a mistake in an increasingly competitive world and will damage those it has been designed, ostensibly, to benefit.

      Unlike most of his Labour Political Class predecessors who were Sec of State for Education [and Skills] who had a gilded rise to the top (see my original comment) he is a product solely and directly of a good state and private education. This is why, I suspect (I have never met the fella and, for what it is worth, have no particular wish to do so), he is so passionate about it and why he is rocking the boat against the vested interests. He has seen what his education did for him and he wants that for others. Not all kids can get scholarships but he is trying to raise the bar across the curriculum in the state sector FOR ALL. And it is upsetting those who run Education who liked and benefited from the previous system.

      We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,
      Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.
      It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,
      Our wrath come after Russia’s wrath and our wrath be the worst.
      It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
      God’s scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
      But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
      Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.

  17. IF only it was that, but he then want to make it worse than his school days, namely a 12 hour school day.

  18. I think we all have a little bit of mr grove in us, i often think I’m right, know I’m wrong but rearly admit it.

  19. Well – this has polarised opinion. Over 40 years as a teacher I have seen trends and opinions swing round and round. From lighting fires in wastebins and writing poems about the experience, to teaching the three forms of the conditional. Was any of it any use? Still your portrayal of Michael Gove, who has used scorn, half-truths, prejudices and is in a position of frightening power is timely. As Bill Shankly commented “me having had no education, had to use my brains”. I would strongly advise all parents to keep their children out of schools and educate them at home.

  20. Very funny and spot on.

    I am interested by the way that people who do not work in education are so quick to denigrate the job that teachers do. But then before I made the decision to become a teacher myself I probably gave only a small account of consideration to it too.
    Teachers work hard, that is a fact that non teachers should recognise rather than consistently fail to acknowledge.
    Teachers are not the only people that work hard and that is not their claim.
    For the people who do not truly listen to the concerns that teachers have, we generally do not complain about the time we spend in the classroom with our students. It is a privilege to work with such interesting, funny, lively, sparky individuals. Our concerns are about the demands that come after 3.15 that keep us working until 10pm at night, the 7 days a week demands that means that the 12 weeks holiday a year actually becomes more like 4 weeks because of the chance that the school breaks give us to catch up on the planning, strategies, performance data and improvement plans etc. etc.
    You don’t come across many teachers who put themselves first. The lack of public respect and consideration of these realities leaves a constant bitter taste.

  21. Gove is out of touch, however there are too many teachers who get into in it for the pay check rather than doing the best for the children. Doing a geography degree and not knowing what to do with it so doing a PGCSE should not be enough any more, it should be harder to become a teacher to reflect the challenges teacher face these days. It shouldn’t be a case of “those who can do, those who can decide teach” anymore. I know a lot of talented teachers in the profession for the right reason but I also know too many in it for the holidays. Quite sad really!

      1. Probably related to a combination of the shoddy state of careers advice given to school kids and the unceasing efforts to get as many kids as possible into university.

        Sadly the UK doesn’t need all that many geographers and our science industries are barely limping along. Conversely the people with skills and training in high-employability fields (for example computer science) can earn much better money elsewhere.

        The truth is of course that in any profession you’ll get people who’re just there to scrape along the bottom, collect a pay-cheque and go on holiday when they can. Teaching is no different in that respect. These people are usually quite rare and I’d suggest that there are easier ways to do that than becoming a teacher.

    1. It really wasn’t supposed to be a cheap shot, like I said I know a lot of talented, dedicated, hard working teachers. However, I also know too many teachers who I would be horrified to think of teaching my children. This isn’t a swipe at teachers in general by any means!


  23. Thank you for this made me smile and have shared with all my teaching colleagues. Just wondering how much longer it’s going to take Gove to realise hes setting education back 30 years.

  24. Funny. Incredibly funny. Although how can it be funny when this is actually true?! I’m rallying next Saturday with my union. Hope others follow suit and really get their voice heard.

  25. Ok, so, surely if all these teacher’s put all the effort they put into moaning and complaining about the people in charge into either just getting on with teaching or seeking to elect new leaders to implement policy that they approve of, then surely there wouldn’t be half as many problems? Why doesn’t a ‘teacher’ seek to take Mr Gove’s job? Then they can fix all the problems…….

    1. Perhaps this is the problem…perhaps we do need someone who actually knows a bit about education to be Minister for Education…

    1. Perhaps the same might be said of someone who chooses the monicker F. Uckwitt in the hope that others will find it clever and daring?

  26. Good Lord.. it’s only a bit of fun, huh? Lighten-up dudes. I don’t think many kids really care for or about what is happening in their education. They are more pre-disposed to just get on with whatever is served up, move on and up-date their FB (Facebook) status, whilst texting their friends in class or taking creative photos of each other in various states of boredom.

    1. Can’t speak for under-16s but many of my students in a sixth form college are very interested in current affairs in general and what’s happening in education in general. One of the subjects I teach is Critical Thinking (and Debating Society) and Gove has furnished us with many excellent examples of flawed reasoning and misuse of evidence. Of course not everything he proposes is entirely wrong, but the arrogance with which he is forcing through sweeping changes which are largely unsupported by either evidence or rigorous reasoning is very disturbing.

      This blog post was a VERY welcome bit of light relief, and perfectly captures both Gove pompous character and the style of the original books.

      And finally, not a rely to this post, but to many of the comments above, not all pupils finish mid-afternoon – our students go from 8:50 to 16:20, with staff often in from 8-6 plus the usual hours at home. Plenty of people in other jobs work hard, but having worked for 11 years in a large commercial organisation, first in a technical role and then managing large numbers of staff, teaching is far more draining. It’s effectively a series of performances in which you are constantly interacting with large numbers of different students, always with the aim of improving their knowledge and understanding, and certainly at A level encouraging them to develop their analytical and evaluative skills. Then there’s the pastoral work, supporting some students dealing with very difficult situations, and advising all of them on the transition to work or HE. There’s easily as much paperwork as in my management jobs, but without the secretary and other support staff. There’s very little downtime (to read blogs during work hours!) since ‘free’ periods and most of lunch (50 minutes) are generally taken up with one-to-one tutor meetings and all anger of extra sessions, whether catch-up ones for weaker/previously absent students or clubs/discussion groups to extend the most able. It’s the most rewarding work I’ve ever one, but every minute of those long holidays is needed to recharge.

  27. Very funny and very true. One day, there will be a system where politics is not involved in education. Having politicians involved in education is like having the Pope involved in it… old-fashioned and more likely to lead to more harm than good. Just be mindful that the whole ConDem policy is to privatise everything, as they have with the probation service. You’ll all be working in unionless academies with idiots at the helm if Gove has his way.

  28. Looking forward to the sequel…

    Mrs. May…

    Thought that all immigrants were bad, and all other people were good.

    Cut out student immigration because all those highly honourable people from Saudi Arabia, China, India, Nigeria couldn’t be legitimately nice people seeking to advance themselves. She put out a clear message that UK education was closed for business – and sure enough, those highly educated keen and honourable people stayed at home, and continued to run the world. This was a surprise to Mr. Cameron, who thought he ran it…

    Those student probably had falsified their degrees, masters and doctoral qualifications, and just wanted to come here to work at our expense. (Meanwhile those who climbed fences or walked across open EU borders were left to arrive unchecked, and to disappear into the welfare system or human trafficking networks).

    Unlike Mr. Gove, Mrs. May did get the message that UK BA were an organisation out of control, and replaced it with…

    To be continued…

    Written by…a disgusted Tory voter of 35 years standing.

  29. Education does need to be updated but academies have problems too. To give you an example, my local council has a duty to give every child a place, however every secondary school in the local area is now an academy and they have control over there admission rules. So where so my council put the students who the academies don’t want?

  30. As a teacher, I agree that changes need to be made to improve our schools. Class size would be a good start (there is currently no upper limit for key stage 2) and a better curriculum. In fact, the Labour government, after a lot of research (The Rose Review), brought out a brilliant key skills curriculum for primary schools. It was most definitely a step in the right direction. I paid for this curriculum and was eager to start using it. When the coalition government came in to power, I received a letter saying that the new curriculum would no longer be implemented and I was refunded. An amazing move, considering they are trying to improve education and save money!
    I am fed up with all the talk about schools needing to improve and how teachers are failing children. I work seriously hard to provide the best education for the children in my class and often work in to the early hours of the morning, as well as weekends and holidays. When will people realise that it is not just the schools that need to educate our children, but also all parents and the society/country as a whole?
    I am enraged with Mr Gove’s proposals and I fear that I may leave my profession, that I love, due to his changes. I am sure many other teachers are also feeling the same. We complain not because we do not wish to do better, but because we want Education to be at its best. We complain, because we are passionate, because we care and because we have more experience than a former journalist and MP.

  31. This is brilliant !Thank you for raising a smile from a knackered teacher in PRE OFSTED mode who is working at her establishment all weekend just incase the naughty people from the big O arrive.

  32. Reblogged this on Gogwit's Blog and commented:
    Thanks – been hoping someone would do this.
    Actually I see Gove as Morph – the meddlesome claymation from ‘VisionOn’ and ‘Take Hart’ …

  33. Sadly I believe that Gove will left in this department so that when the chickens come home to roost his attempt at the leadership will snuffed out. What’s the problem his decisions will not be taken up by the private schools that the politicians of most colours send their children too.

  34. The trouble is – with the average 7/8 year old spending 85% of their waking hours at home with their primary influence (parents / carers) and only 15% at school, that means the home environment has and always will be the dominant factor in influencing a child’s chances of success. This is due to the motivator role models at home and amount of parental support with regards to a child’s education. I am currently working on a project, as a teacher, to try to improve parental involvement. It is not easy as those who need the most help are the least interested – and I don’t work in the most deprived of areas.

    My point being – Gove should spend less time trying to make the government trained professionals (teachers) public enemy number one having read about it in the papers and spend more time looking at the core roots of the problem. Should we expect a teacher to get little Barry to make the same progress as David when Barry had no breakfast for a week because his parents are still out from heroin shots when it is time to go to school? He would ask Dad for help but Mum and Dad split 2 weeks ago as Mum is shacking up with the local dealer. It’s bad, but at least social services are starting to look interested as there are suspicious bruises involved and reported by the school. David meanwhile is sat in his 2 up 2 down with mum, the local doctor, helping with the maths homework before taking David off to the swimming pool to get a bit of extra in so he can get his 25m badge. Dad, a nurse, sadly can’t make it to the pool because he has to go and book the summer holiday to Morocco so David can get a taste for some overseas culture this August.

    But I’m sure Mr Smith, their teacher, will be able to whip Barry into shape with the 15% available and get him to make the same amount of progress. The fact that Barry is sat rocking under the table for most of the morning shouldn’t matter – he can still read his times tables chart from there!
    At least I hope so – Mr Smith – because now your pay is going to be based upon you achieving it. I know you will try your best but if it isn’t good enough…

  35. If only Mr Gove would focus his attention on all the failing Head Teachers, who continue to employ these poor, inept, incompetent teachers; why then, his education system would be perfect. Wouldn’t it?…. Best of British luck, Jo 🙂

    1. Thanks Paul for demonstrating the fact that Mr Men can indeed be used to good effect to
      provoke debate and stimulate thought on serious issues whilst also having a laugh!

  36. Your wonderful story was read in our Friday morning teachers briefing to about 50 staff. What a howl. Thank you for taking the time to produce this Mr Gove book. We loved it. If you have a minute please check our blog.
    Power to the teachers.

    Mr French

  37. I don’t like Gove but I didn’t like this rant either. As with everything, I tend to think that sometimes people can be mainly wrong but also partly right. I’m a scientist – meaning that I naturally need ‘proper’ evidence. Social science in the area of teaching is too often based on ‘nearly good enough’ controls etc. I’m nearly 40, went to state school and thought most of my teachers and teachings were rubbish. I dragged myself out of this mess and at university was able to teach myself- I now have a scientific PhD from a top university. I know what Gove is saying, but it’s how he’s going about it that’s wrong. I now have a child in an Outstanding Ofsted rated school- a change in the ‘Head’ and I’m taking him out of this school and putting him into private school. I am not impressed. The problem with this school is the same as when I was at School. What’s wrong? In short (1) parents are treated like idiots and paid lip service to (we can support our child’s learning with proper communication – not letters home!), (2) this would free up resource for those parents who don’t care (but I suspect don’t know how to care in many cases), (3) teachers go to university to read degrees from poor quality universities and then think that they have received the proper standard (I.e. compared to top universities) eg why should 12 hrs taught on 1 degree be acceptable and then 20 hours taught be acceptable at another university for the same degree? And don’t give me BS about reading time. That is accepted. Now – why would anyone admit that they don’t have a good quality degree? How can anyone believe that they have even – I.e how can they bench mark themselves?

    I took GCSE 2nd year after they started. We did o-level past papers. Gcse’s were easier by far. Now a-levels are easier and now some degrees are easier.

    No wonder there is such argument about experience of teaching! Not only do we learn differently but teachers come from backgrounds where they have been taught to different standards and nobody is going to admit it- are they.?

    1. It wasn’t supposed to be a rant – just a bit of satire. I’m all for a proper debate and discussion, and proper scientific evidence, but isn’t there a place for humour too?

      The proper academic debate and analysis IS going on, but, as my story gently pointed out, it’s being pretty much completely ignored by Mr Gove. Even his own advisors on the history curriculum have spoken out about being ignored by him…

      1. “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” Edmund Burke

      1. Well, he’s a journalist, what did we expect. So much for me teaching kids the principles of the scientific peer review system when our esteemed (?!) leader can’t be bothered to follow the process himself. I wonder how ACM and the other tory-sponsored trolls are going to defend that? Their silence so far has been deafening.

      2. Yes, I wrote this before the latest revelation about his sources of information came out. They do make the disdain for proper evidence all the clearer…

    2. ‘Rant’? It’s called satire, aka humour, though to judge by the sheer pomposity and humourlessness of your bizarre screed, you wouldn’t know what humour is if it tickled both your feet whilst showing you a Blackadder box set.

      I see you describe yourself as a scientist. God spare us from your kind of scientist, you’re just the sort of sanctimonious prig who would put kids off science for life.

  38. Could you write the next one of Elizabeth Truss – current destroyer of nursery care and professional childminding please…..

  39. That’s funny – there have been others from the past who thought and did the same – and look what happened THEN – Mr Gove be aware do we really want this in a civilised country!

    1. I did. And do you have any idea why?

      …if not, I’d suggest a quick read of a few Mr Men books. When writing a parody, it’s generally a good idea to ape the style of the original. 🙂

      1. You, sir, are a funny man. A very very very very very very very funny man. Indeed.

  40. The lack of use of evidence in setting policy is second onle to the lack of logic in policy. Since it is currently government policy that all schools will be academies – that dont need to follow the National Curriculum. Ergo, logically it is government policy that, in time, schools will not follow the NC… Why then are we working on a new one???
    Schools results rely on the tests at the end of Key stages. The tests are based on the NC. To do well in the tables they have to follow the NC – but actually the academies can teach what/how they like – er…hello … no they cant….

  41. Maybe the underlying reason the new curriculum has been brought in is so that children are not taught to question, investigate, create or think for themselves……..

  42. I don’t want him to go into an actual classroom, where he poses a danger to developing, questioning minds. I’m creating a petition for him to sit GCSEs this summer. 🙂

  43. Be interesting to find out just how many of those criticising Paul’s blog here are in fact members of the government’s team of ‘advisors’ who specialise in trolling posts and blogs which are likely to upset or ridicule Ministers and ministerial team members. They do exist, you know. We need to know so we can respond appropriately.

  44. Sadly I have not had time to read all of the above, but a snapshot indicates that the vast majority of those who have commented find the policies of the current (and many previous) education ministers ‘difficult’ to fathom. As is stated by many “The source of their evidence-based research is difficult to discover”. I resigned from the profession after struggling to come to terms with the SATs – and am still surprised that they continue – along with the pressure of so may targets. I began my career in the time of the Plowden Report when child-centred education was seen as the way forward. Although I have always felt there is a need for a degree of accountability, I have struggled with the manner in which it has been imposed to the detriment of the enjoyment factor I have always sought to include in children’s learning / discovery.
    Thank you all for taking time to comment – it has been an encouragement to read the above and I shall return again at my leisure.

  45. When someone has annoyed you by daring to have a different opinion, instead of having a mature debate, why not depict them in a cartoon as a ridiculous strawman and mock them with infuriating self-righteousness? If it goes wrong, you can always save face by claiming it was “satire”!

    Oh wait, you already did. Nevermind…

      1. I must say, you seem rather angry about a comment you are trying dismiss as unimportant.

  46. I’ve just decided to retire and am thankful for all the kind comments my ex-pupils have put on facebook. To me, they are the people who matter. I have taken the blows dished out by vote seeking government henchmen quite personally throughout my career. It is true if you hammer a group of people into the ground it is easier to manipulate them. My list of bullies include Chris Woodhead, Ken Baker, Keith Joseph …… there is always someone telling me how badly I’m doing…. now I have a Michael Wilshaw and a Michael Gove. These people come and go but until now I have always been here, at least trying to do my best ….. Now I am very tired (as is my wife). I don’t want to fight to defend myself anymore. I hope we as teachers have done a good enough job in nurturing peoples ability to think and see through the lies spun by the politician who might move on to another post in the blink of an eye. Schools and universities in this country are actually very good … many overseas students attest to this … but take care ….. teaching is not as attractive a job as it used to be.. be prepared to be watched, judged and graded perhaps even more than the kids!
    The education system we get will be what we deserve. Good luck

  47. I love this. In my first year of teacher training and I believe that this may be the most important piece of ‘evidence’ i have come across to explain the overall situation in education in our once-great Britain.
    Thankyou for sharing.

  48. A long time ago there was a well-loved Liberal politician in the south-west called David Penhaligon, much admired by many people and much loathed by ministers because he succeeded in pricking the bubble of their self-righteous pomposity and lack of logic by making others laugh at them. This piece does the same – which is why Mr Gove’s supporters loathe it. For Mr. Gove the only worthwhile evidence is anything he can find that might begin to support his personal outlook, all other evidence is the fabrication of the ‘enemies of progress’ etc etc. Please keep on making people laugh at him – it is easily the best response.

  49. The Tory Conference is in September. That should be enough time to get a Kickstarter campaign running to print a copy of Mr Arrogant for every delegate.

  50. I remember him too – twins were pretty unusual in those days. Anyway, good to talk to you – the Gove blog is fantastic, great stuff.

      1. Now I’m repeating myself, sorry! I’m more likely to remember twins is what I meant, no real reason you’d remember me, I was a year above you two I think. Yeah, I read Mr Gove goes to war too, marvellous. You should put a book out although I suppose the Mr Men people wouldn’t be best pleased …

  51. Not sure if my last reply came through – just said I remember William too, twins were pretty unusual in those days I guess. Anyway, the Gove blog is great stuff!

  52. Please may I use this on my placard for the NUT strike action in Southampton, October 17th?

  53. In a recent discussion about the teaching of history on Radio 4 Michael Gove was pitted against three historians. The BBC clearly thought it was going to turn into a bun fight in which Gove was going to come off worst, as at one point the presenter berated the panel for being in agreement. The fact was that when the historians listened to what Gove actually had to say about the teaching of history, and not what the media claim he says, they were broadly in agreement with him.
    He certainly didn’t come across as arrogant, and to accuse him of being ignorant is simply ridiculous – he’s highly intelligent. But he’s a Conservative, and that’s enough grounds for condemnation by many in the teaching profession, which in my experience does seem to have an unhealthy left-wing bias.

    1. Individually he can be charming – but when he writes and attempts to implement policy the arrogance shines through. With history, for example, he tried to force through a form of history curriculum that was out-of date, anachronistic and jingoistic – and even his own supporters amongst historians had to abandon him, and he had to withdraw it.

  54. I read about 3 hours’ worth of responses, a sad blend of renewed vituperative condemnation and weary applause, all very understandable….and true. Regular and informed, emphasise informed and evidence-based responses are to be found regularly in the Guardian letters page. Today’s (6 Feb) included a very emotive, despairing plea from a Professor (but he doesn’t say of what) at King’s London.

    How did informed liberals respond to Nazi attacks in Germany in the 30s? What can one do? Basically he doesn’t listen to or address anyone at all resembling his “blob”, and to respond negatively just confirms his opinion of us all. “Well, they would, wouldn’t they” is now, after Rice-Davies, the standard reply.

    Essentially Gove’s approach is political, purely political, as it was with Ken Clarke (I had personal and direct experience of Clarke’s political cynicism) so for me the only really effective response has to be political too. I’m very willing to offer guidance on this, and I’ll be happy to send an application form.

    Vote on!

    Keith Hodgkinson, former academic at Loughborough College and University Education (remember that word?) Department (closed down about 10 years ago…)

  55. Great website! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am taking your feeds also gddfkgekdfaf

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