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Education about discipline and values, not learning, says Gove

Teachers need on-the-job training, not proper education, according to the latest government white paper, The Importance of Teaching.

Put forward by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, the document outlines plans to ditch the one-year postgraduate course for new teachers – mostly university based education and training – and to carry out training at schools almost immediately.

Christine Blower from the National Union of Teachers said: “The critical job for schools is to teach children, not to train teachers.”

Gove also wants to fast track ex-soldiers – with or without degrees in the subject they might teach – into the classroom in order to deal with what he considers are discipline problems. He also wants to make it easier for schools to expel students despite expulsions being used disproportinately more against black, Asian and working class youth.

The school student campaigners that walked out against fees are really the target for Gove’s displine drive. It is another attack on those who wish to protest against the cuts.

There are plans to encourage schools to publish teacher’s pay, their qualifications, the amount of sick time they have taken off as well as public access to school results already in place. This is announced just as the PISA (the OECD thinktank’s programme for international student assessment) reports that competition and marketisation lower educational standards.

According to PISA, Finland has the best education, with a completely state run system and no competition between schools, while Britain comes far below, as do Sweden’s “Free School” and the USA’s “Charter School” models that Gove wants to copy.

Gove’s plans must be stopped. The function of state education is to provide high quality, free, respectful learning for every single young person. To do that we need well qualified teachers who have decent classrooms, equipment, smaller and fewer class sizes, not the competitive, examination-obsessed system we have.

Uniting students with teachers and staff in a fight against Gove’s cuts is the way forward.

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