Skip to main content

The Week

Does anyone remember the holidays? Those days that stretched into one anther like a long, luxuriating bath for the brain, with the ITV3 Murder She Wrote afternoon repeat as mood music. What days they were, when even Michael Gove and his team of coalition junkies slipped from one's consciousness.

And then, BANG! Term starts. Pupils at the gates. Parliament opens for business and politicians return from Tuscany. This was heralded on Monday by a much-hyped keynote speech from Mr Gove. It was, we were told, going to set out his vision for the future of English education. In fact, it was more a re-run of the Conservative election manifesto. Ahhh, good old re-announcements. How we've missed you. Ed Balls would have been proud.

There was one new thing, though - the revelation that the Secretary of State is plotting the development of an English Baccalaureate. What?" I hear you cry. "The wholesale overhaul of 14-18 education that has been called for for over a generation! The adoption of an International Bac-style qualification that will bring English education in line with the norms of high-performing countries on the continent?" Well no, not exactly. More of a rebranding exercise, really. It can pretty much be summed up thus: If you get a broad sweep of five good GCSEs you receive an English Bac certificate in the post. It hardly gets the blood pumping. Sad, really.

With the final memories of summer daytime telly dissipating from the collective conscience of England's teachers, so BBC schedulers chose this week to rub salt into the wound. They launched a season of education documentaries, imaginatively entitled School Season. While some of the programmes have long-needed proper telly coverage, the scattergun approach to scheduling does make one wonder whether some Beeb bigwig cooked up the idea from a Tuscan sunlounger after one too many bottles of Chianti as he worried about little Tarquin getting into the local academy.

Oh and the Pope decided to join in The TES's centenary celebrations by heading over to Blighty on his first state visit. Happy birthday to us. Here's to another 100.

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you