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The week

If you think you're relieved that the summer jollies are now upon us, that is surely nothing to how one Michael Gove Esq is probably feeling. The past couple of months must have been easily the most exhausting of the politician's short parliamenary life, battered from one political storm to another. He has probably not even had a chance to personalise his ergonomically designed Department for Education chair. And on top of all this he's going to have to get used to the idea that however long his career lasts, he will be stalked by images of meerkats. Just as his predecessor Ken Baker is still suffering from the unfortunate snail comparison some 20 years after its Spitting Image debut.

And then on Tuesday came this year's key stage 2 results, and guess what? Fleet Street's finest latched on to the one tiny bit of vaguely bad news in among all the good: the small dip in the proportion reaching level 4 in reading. This minuscule drop sadly overshadowed all the other results (including the overall English score), which either remained the same or improved. For the record, writing was up dramatically and maths saw an increase, too. Ah, and then there was our old friend Nick Gibb, phonics obsessive and new minister of state. He was rolled out to explain that if only those pesky primaries would fully adopt the sacred teaching method it would all be OK. The fact that phonics has been compulsory for three years and that nearly all schools use them was, as usual, bizarrely forgotten.

Just as teachers, heads and educationalists take a big summer holiday-sized sigh, so the build-up to GCSE and A-level results begins (sorry for the reminder). This time it's going to have an extra frisson of excitement in the form of the new A* grade. Who's going to get them? Are they all going to be picked up by public school kids on their way to Oxbridge? Are they going to really damage the life chances of state school pupils? Who can know? One thing is clear: leader writers from across the political spectrum will be salivating at the prospect. Hold on to your hats.

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