Impact of changes

‘GENIUS is one per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration’.

So said Thomas Edison who is generally reckoned to have been something of a genius who would have known what he was talking about.

Education Secretary Michael Gove certainly has inspiration. He has been inspired by successful school experiments in New York and produced a White Paper about which faithful readers of this occasional contribution will remember me expressing concerns over a year ago.

He has been inspired by school experiments in Sweden, the Free Schools initiative, which is not universally accepted as successful.

He has been inspired by a Labour Government initiative, the Academies programme which is moving forward at breakneck speed.

Most recently he seems inspired by successful school experiments in Russia which could see children doing Mathematics 24 hours a day.

So much inspiration!

But it is not Mr Gove who is breaking a sweat over the parachuting of these ideas willy nilly into the English education system.

It is we education professionals, who cannot see a coherent plan behind all this and who fear there is none, who are getting hotter under the collar.

Last week, The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce, together with the Pearson Centre for Policy and Learning, announced the establishment of a commission to examine the implications and impact of the mass ‘academisation’ of the English school system.

This seems like a remarkably good idea and wouldn’t it have been inspired of Mr Gove to think of something similar before pushing ahead so swiftly?

And when it comes to pushing ahead swiftly, what are we to make of the news that about 50 per cent of the new Free Schools which have been agreed and announced as due to open in 2013 do not yet even have a site on which to build?

Does Mr Gove’s inspiration amount to a vision or a hallucination?

JONNIE GOYER

Headmistress,

Farlington School

Guildford Road, Broadbridge