Chalk Talk: He's keen to learn - but Gove should choose his friends more carefully

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The Independent Online

With the anniversary of the Coalition Government's succession to power fast approaching, Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, has penned his own end-of-term report on Education Secretary Michael Gove.

"Michael has made an enthusiastic start to his new school career – although sometimes his eagerness leads him into trouble," he begins in appropriately headmasterly tones.

But what can he be thinking of? Slashing the Building Schools for the Future programme, where he was taken to task by a High Court judge for failing to consult over it? Predictions about the number of schools opting for academy status, which were wildly optimistic (although these are now growing)?

"He has made many friends but he must learn to choose them more carefully. In particular, he should spend less time with Toby (Young, the journalist and architect of the first "free" school programme to be given the green light), who does not help him to consider the welfare of all the pupils," he continues.

Some might have added Katharine Birbalsingh, the teacher who lit up the Conservative education conference by saying what a duff education many kids got. She had to leave her job after showing the conference photos of her kids and is now said to be in talks with Michael's friend Toby over running a "free" school.

This idea of the end of term report might catch on, I reckon. It's worth reminding Gove that both Lightman and Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, are nearing the end of their first years in office, too.

And Gove is due to address Mr Hobby's conference in May. Could he get his strike in there first?

The dream of the actor and film director Sam Wanamaker to recreate Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on its old site on the banks of the Thames moves on apace. New studios have been provided on land near the already established theatre.

The good news for Globe Education, which aims to promote an understanding and interest in the Bard among schoolchildren, is that it provides four new workshops and a rehearsal space for students and theatre practitioners.

Students themselves from the local area were consulted on the design of the workshop. As a result, they recreated the shape of the Globe itself – surely a sign that the youngsters are taking an interest in Shakespeare?

r.garner@independent.co.uk

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