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Gove_michael_blackWhen he’s not writing superb articles on Hamas or snowball fighting with David Cameron, Michael Gove is developing a genuinely radical education policy.

Jonathan blogged earlier about the new maths initiative with Carol Vorderman.  David Cameron has just given a speech on the initiative and wider Tory schools policy.

Two passages stand out:

One: "We don’t have to argue about whether
the Government has devalued exams. We know it has because studies have
shown that the same performance which would have secured just a D grade
in A-Level Maths in 1997 now secures you a B. And we know the top
independent schools are abandoning GCSEs for new tougher international
exams such as the international GCSE – while state schools are forced
to stick to the standard GCSE. This is absurd and has got to change.
Every school in Britain should be able to do the same high quality
exams that now only private schools are allowed to do so we really
stretch our children."

Am I wrong to read that as the beginning of the end of the National Curriculum?  It’s certainly the beginning of the end of compulsory state exams.

Two: "We envisage academy status – with
all the freedoms it brings to generate success freedoms which have been
used brilliantly here will become the norm for state schools."

"The norm"?  Academy freedoms include freedom to set pay and conditions.  The unions won’t be happy at that.

The ban on making a profit from running a school places one significant
limit on Michael Gove’s supply side schools revolution but the overall
shape of Tory education policy deserves an A minus.

Tim Montgomerie

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