My letter to David Cameron

5 Feb

Dear Mr Cameron

Can we have a new Secretary of State for Education please? Can we have one that actually knows something about children and education?  I understand Mr Gove went to a private school which is all very well and lovely but he doesn’t know the first thing about state schools. Yes, he allegedly ‘consults’ with teachers before he comes up with his fanciful ideas but I’d love to know just which schools these teachers are from. You can bet your bottom dollar they are not from struggling state schools.

Improving education in schools will not happen by making the days longer. It will come about by investing in excellent teachers, listening to and respecting their views and by providing them with adequate support and resources to do their job. They are the experts when it comes to Education, not Mr Gove. Asking already over-stretched teachers to work longer hours will have them running for the door. That should bring an interesting end to his education reforms.

I always try to keep an open mind about change. I look at suggestions from both sides and  have always been very good at seeing things from other people’s point of view BUT, what planet is Mr Gove living on?? In a recent interview he said that if our children are in school for 10 hours per day, this still gives them plenty of ‘family time’. How does he come to this conclusion I wonder? If my children finish school at 6, we will be home at 6.15pm and they go to bed soon after 7pm. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for a family meal, let alone anything else. So, weekdays are written off, that means children will only get to spend time with their parents on a Saturday and Sunday. What about parents who have to work weekends? What about all the chores that working parents have to fit in at the weekend, like shopping, housework etc? Does Mr Gove really think that this is an acceptable amount of ‘family time’? If he does, then I pity his children.

If Mr Gove had an educational background then he would know that children learn through play and through exploring ideas themselves. They do not learn best when sat in a classroom for 10 hours having his regimented curriculum spouted at them. Children need time to play what THEY WANT TO PLAY, to use their imagination, to be free to come up with their own ideas and most of all they need time to rest and relax.  My children are exhausted at the end of the school day as it is.

Your Education Secretary has already done his best to destroy our quality family time. He has taken away our parental right to decide when we want to holiday as a family. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that parents who push the limits should be punished but to say that we cannot take our child out of school for even a couple of days in a year is harsh. For most families this means the end of any foreign holidays where children can learn new cultures and languages.

What Mr Gove  doesn’t seem to realise is that we have children because we want them. NOT because we want to pack them off to school for 10 hours a day. We actually want to see them grow and develop and we want to be the biggest factor in that. Otherwise we would just drop them off at the school gates at age 4 and collect them again at age 18.

Mr Gove bases a lot of his theories on the PISA results. Considering the number of different countries participating in this study varies from year to year, it is hardly an accurate comparison. One thing I did find interesting though is that one of the top performing countries, Korea, also reports having the unhappiest students. But hey, does it really matter if our children are unhappy? Mr Gove seems to think not.

Oh and I have to mention the idea of getting children to ‘mop floors and pick up litter’ as way of punishment for bad behaviour. I assume this is some kind of joke! If a child is disruptive in class and refuses to do what they have been told then what makes you think they will pick up a mop and set to work with it? They are more likely to use it as a weapon.

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