Academics say Gove’s plans will “erode” quality of education

Ashley Chhibber 25 March 2013

Education Secretary Michael Gove (pictured above) has come under fire again by academics, who published a letter in the Telegraph and The Independent last week slamming his proposed changes to the national curriculum, warning that Gove’s proposals “could severely erode educational standards.”

Signed by 100 education specialists from 34 institutions across England, the letter criticises the new curriculum as being “narrow”, suggesting it demands “too much too young”, whilst the use of “endless lists of spellings”, “facts and rules” and “mountain of data” is said to risk stifling “children’s ability to think, including problem-solving, critical understanding and creativity.”

The criticism comes just days after an announcement by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) threatening summer strike action unless Gove capitulates in the dispute over pay, pensions and working conditions in the teaching profession.

The academics added: “This curriculum betrays a serious distrust of teachers, in its amount of detailed instructions, and the Education Secretary has repeatedly ignored expert advice. Whatever the intention, the proposed curriculum for England will result in a “dumbing down” of teaching and learning.”

The list of signatories includes three Cambridge academics from the Faculty of Education: Dr Helen Demetriou, a Teaching Associate; and Dr Hilary Cremin and Dr Catherine Burke, both Senior Lecturers.

The response from readers of The Telegraph, which published an abridged version of the letter, has been overwhelmingly negative, with one online commenter dubbing the signatories “deluded” for failing to note and challenge the problems of the current system. Another commenter suggested Gove “close down the rest of the Cultural Marxist feminized drivel posing as academe also.”

Despite this vocal opposition, the signatories continue to “urge parents, teachers and other stakeholders to respond to the Government consultation in its few remaining weeks, and demand a fresh start.” The consultation continues until mid-April.

Ashley Chhibber