UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Elitism returns to Education

In today’s Guardian Polly Toynbee wrestles with the concept that the chasm in the Tory Party is led by the on-going deception amongst the ranks that Cameron is somehow a soft Tory but the irony of his actions proves his right-wing credentials go beyond those of Thatcher. These credentials have been given an almighty boost by Gove’s sanctioned actions to return to an elitist examination system that will allow universities to cherry-pick perceived high performers at the expense of those children that learn better and differently through course based work.

What about the children with minor learning difficulties? What about the children who suffer from dyslexia?

Passing exams as a one off is a high risk business and instead of nurturing children into a holistic and rounded learning means they are taught, machine like, to make sure they pass the exams rather than having a sound knowledge of the subject.

It undermines the learning of some subjects, which, whilst they may not be considered to be ‘core academic’ subjects, help pupils retain interest in school and provide self-confidence to many who might otherwise take a very different path.

In my own children’s school which has a curious catchment of very affluent and very poor families the emphasis on sport, dance, arts and drama in collaboration with a rigorous academic programme has meant the school results over the last decade have been turned around.

The kids whose parents might not be able to help them with their maths are still encouraged into school life through sports or dance shows. If kids stay in school they will learn across the board.

In the leafy suburbs it may well be a very different picture but make no mistake Gove’s proposals are about a return to elitist education and a slippery slope into condemning children into an educational pathway determined not by their genuine ability but by the wealth of their parents.
Anna Rose