The week

21st January 2011 at 00:00

Our esteemed prime minister, the Right Honourable David Cameron, stood up on Monday at the RSA and made a speech which could have been captioned "The Case for Public Sector Reform". Only this run-through was a little different - for the first time in years. the focus of Mr Cameron's reforming zeal was not schools; it was, instead, the NHS. His speech, after all, coincided with the publication of the Government's health white paper. This might well be a landmark, therefore. For as long as DavCam has been leader of his party, almost all his reforming attention has been focused on education (hence the appointment of trusted lieutenant, Michael Gove, to our patch), but maybe, just maybe, this is no longer the case.

Don't expect, however, Mr Gove to take his foot off the gas, if the past week or two is anything to go by. Schools have, of course, been dealing with the latest big idea to emanate from Mr Gove's Enormo-brain(TM), the English Baccalaureate (or EBac as it is already becoming known). One particularly nice touch was the way the Department announced details long after pupils had actually sat exams in the summer. So, in effect, schools and kids have spent this last week being judged by the media based on a scheme introduced retrospectively - which, by anyone's measure, is a rather unfair consequence of the urgency of restructure.

Just in case that wasn't enough, ministers unveiled this week details of their curriculum review. While the previous government felt that they could only do one sector at a time, not this one - we will have both primary and secondary curriculums under the microscope at the same time. Fully expect a host of celebrity experts to be rolled out over the weeks and months ahead. Especially the Harvard historian and TV star Simon Schama. Mr Gove loves Simon Schama, perhaps forgetting that the famous academic has had limited experience of drilling Year 9s on the dissolution of the monasteries.

So it might be time for a little public sector solidarity. If you get a minute, pop into your local GP surgery and reach out to any doctor or nurse you can find. Give them a hug and whisper in their ear: "I feel your pain."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today