The recent pronouncement by the current UK Secretary of State, reinstating the General Certificate of Secondary Education, will not prevent the tsunami I present in my recent article reaching land. Mr. Gove's conviction politics has done two things. Firstly, it puts the question about what we want from the UK education system starkly into focus. Secondly, it highlights the problem, ingrained within our culture, that Technology, the Arts, Design and other subjects, are the preserves of the mid to lower ability pupils. Perhaps Mr Gove is very good company on a personal level but he has led with conviction politics at the expense of research based outcomes: the resulting tensions of which we are witnessing now.
During my quiet times I imagine a time when the UK has a truly democratic, research inspired, Secretary of State for Education. It is a time when pupils of all abilities are encouraged to explore their potential by engaging with a broad curriculum, without fear of censure – and I imagine the benefits it would bring. But I look at the Year 9 'option choices' made by pupils in the school where I teach, compare them with the 'ability distribution', visualise the beach draining before the inevitable wave, and carry on.