One of the difficulties with the education bureaucracy is identifying who is to blame. Politicians can pass laws that say one thing, and something else can result entirely. For example, David Blunkett’s legislation on inclusion made it clear that it should not be used to keep badly behaved children in school, and yet that is exactly what happened.
So I have hesitated to blame too much on individual education secretaries. Since Blunkett, most of them have been in office for such a short time that it is not surprising they did no good.
However, Ed Balls, is an exception. He left office after almost (but not quite) three years.
He has no excuses.
He is responsible for:
- The introduction (with extensive government money) of Assessing Pupil Progress, a barely tested, ever-changing scheme of assessment , based on a belief in bureaucracy and basic confusion between formative and summative assessment.
- Accepting the claims of the Steer Report (which stated that serious misbehaviour in schools is rare).
- The removal of “Education” from the name of the department running schools and the continuing disastrous attempts to combine education and children’s services into one incompetent bureaucracy.
- Ignoring the evidence from the government’s own research that support from teaching assistants harms the progress of students with SEN.
- Supporting SEAL and attempts to replace education with socialisation.
- Introducing constant curriculum changes (even more than usual), including such highlights as new Diplomas and Functional Skills.
- Attempts to increase the burden of the SEN bureaucracy.
- Allowing OFSTED to fail some of the most successful schools in the country.
- Continuing to allow schools to spend money on gimmicks, even after admitting that Brain Gym was pointless.
- Blaming schools, rather than his own policies, for stressing children out with tests.
I had hoped that regardless of the election result he would cease to be in charge of the nation’s schools. But now he’s left office I have something greater to be worried about. I’m considerably more worried that there are people out there, who would have him as leader of the opposition, and, potentially, prime minister.
Enough is enough. The man could not run one department successfully, don’t let him run Her Majesty’s Opposition.
Or to put it another way: Don’t make me vote Tory.
Update: I have decided to set up a Facebook group for people who feel the same way about this. Anybody has anything to contribute (like say a picture suitable for the group) please help. I can’t help but notice there’s only 23 people in the facebook group in favour of him becoming Labour leader.