They wouldn't dare tell surgeons how to do their jobs, so why tolerate it in education?


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The Independent Online

Sir David Bell has a point – just imagine if the Michael Gove years in education were followed by an ideologue with a different emphasis taking charge of the nation’s schools.

It could happen, if the Conservatives got into bed with Ukip as a coalition partner and acquiesced to their demands to bring back grammar schools throughout the country.

Regardless of the rights or wrongs of the issue, it would mean another five years of upheaval as most schools throughout the country would have to reorganise to fall in with the prevailing education climate.

Then, imagine if that new coalition became unpopular and Labour was returned in the 2020 election. It would be back to square one.

Meanwhile, most of the teaching workforce would have left the profession – frustrated by years and years of reorganisation taking their focus away from what they do best: teach.

It is worth posing the question: would the politicians act this way if they were in charge of the health service?

I wouldn’t like Nicky Morgan – praised by Sir David for not being “tone deaf” to the thoughts of the professionals – telling my surgeon how to wield the scalpel should I require brain surgery, let alone Michael Gove’s adviser while he was serving as Education Secretary, the infamously forthright Dominic Cummings.

The trouble is that politicians are always reluctant to give up powers they have acquired while in office.

Perhaps the best we can hope for is that they set up the kind of independent boards that Sir David wants to oversee particular issues – such as the curriculum and qualifications – and then to actually listen to their ideas.