Monday, 7 October 2013

How not to criticise

I am not Michael Gove's biggest fan. In fact I am not a fan at all and his lowness on my list of priorities is the only thing that has prevented me from writing blogs recently to explain why. I will get around to something critical in the near future, but in the meantime ...

Yesterday I saw a Facebook comment that criticised Michael and I found myself in the strange position of defending our Secretary of State for Education. A Facebook friend had shared a link about him which originated from the campaigning organisation 38 degrees. They wrote 'Dear Mr Gove, Before you make any further suggestions of how you think the education system can be 'improved', please experience what teaching actually involves. As teachers, we work extremely hard in increasingly difficult conditions. We would like you to teach a class of primary children for at least half a term in order to appreciate and respect what a challenging job we actually do.'

38 degrees presume that Michael has no experience of 'what teaching actually involves'. I find this hard to believe. Do they really want him to take months away from his post? Are they really suggesting that Michael should become a teacher when he is not qualified? Do they want him to complete a course in teacher training? Their suggestion is absurd. It doesn't matter whether Michael Gove can teach. You don't have to experience the pressure on teachers to understand it. I am definitely not a Michael Gove fan and there is plenty of ammunition that could be fired at him but this isn't it. In fact it weakens the anti-Gove case when such accusations are levelled against him.

I wrote on Facebook that I had worked with a physiotherapist who was now a union official for the teachers. She does a very good job but she hasn't been a teacher. It is worth criticising Michael Gove, but not on matters that are, at best, secondary.

Change the world


  1. Hi Michael,

    Just to let you know that the campaign you mentioned was set up by a 38 Degrees member - it's not had any input from the 38 Degrees office team. If you'd like any more information on how our campaigns are run, please don't hesitate to get in touch.



    1. Thanks for putting the record straight Andrew. The main point I want to make is about Michael Gove and. I'll put a blog together in the near future which doesn't defend him.