Another week and more disappointment: This week it was in the form of Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, who announced he would scrap the £162m budget which had been set aside for the national PE scheme. Instead, head teachers will decide how much to spend on PE. The last government had worked hard for 10 years to improve the teaching of physical education… but Gove insists a ‘school Olympics’ will be even more effective at increasing participation.
I find it difficult to understand how he can defend such a stance when we have such a problem with obesity and specifically childhood obesity. Our children are some of the most inactive across Europe and have similar obesity levels to the United States. So we must educate them and encourage them at every opportunity to become more active. You can read the report in today’s Independent here.
It was a busy week for the minister who also came under fire for his decision to scrap modular GCSE course and replace them with a single examination at the end of a study period. The plans were revealed in his radical white paper which also includes details of how the department see teacher training developing in the future and, discipline and accountability.
Gove said: ‘Instead of GCSEs being split into bite-sized elements we think it’s important that at the end of the GCSE course, the student should be examined on everything they have learnt at one time.’ His argument is that we modular courses ‘dumb down’ learning and the testing of ability. But ability may be tested in different ways, and students have different ways of showing they have learnt.
To expect everyone to be able to perform in a single exam following two years of teaching is simply peculiar and will disadvantage all those who simply don’t perform well in exams but can express their knowledge in other ways such as through essay based tests. You can read Patrick Wintour’s full reporting the Guardian which has further details of the government’s white paper, here.
Over the last couple of weeks rumours have been abound that the former PM, Gordon Brown would resign his seat. But he has set the record straight and told Vincent Moss of the Mirror that there is nowhere quite like Parliament. ‘It’s unique,’ he says. Having set the record straight he went into the chamber and attacked Tory cuts which have affected ship yard workers in his constituency. I can imagine that this would’ve been a difficult speech to give, his first as a backbench MP.
But he is working hard for his constituents rather than standing down, fading into the background or taking a lucrative job elsewhere, and this we must applaud.