TES Big Ed Blog

7th January 2013 at 15:42
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Cameron and Clegg bask in their educational `achievements' - January 7 2012

There was no rose garden this time, but today Messrs Cameron and Clegg began the New Year by renewing their vows and publishing their mid-term review of how the coalition has performed thus far.

Ignoring the fact that the halfway point of the coalition was back in November, the Conservative prime minister and his Lib Dem deputy stood side-by-side in one of the more sober corners of Number 10 to espouse the Government's achievements so far, while setting out a raft of policies for the next two and a half years.

And they are certainly keen to push their educational `achievements' to date. The DfE is considered one of the Government's highest achieving departments. Think free schools, academies and the abolition of the Ofsted `satisfactory' category.

In the review document's foreword, Cameron and Clegg jointly herald the `new ambition' that has been `injected' into the education system.

Whether that `ambition' will be met by the teaching workforce is very much in doubt. Already the classroom unions are rattling their sabres with industrial action almost an inevitability before schools even break for the Easter holidays. Survey after survey finds staffroom morale at an all time low.

Teachers' misgivings about the coalition will be further hardened by the inclusion in today's document of the Government's plans to press on with performance-related pay.

Add to this the tricky task of selling the new English Baccalaureate Certificates (which seem to garner new objectors by the day), as well as the anticipated reforms to the primary and secondary curricula and the challenge facing the coalition over the remainder of this parliament look stark.

But don't expect the Government to stop banging on about its achievements in schools - compared to the economic news, for example, they look positively glorious.
Richard Vaughan


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