Thursday, 14 November 2013

When did telling the truth about Bradford's school performance become an insult?


In their frantic efforts to smear free schools in Bradford, Labour woke Gerry Sutcliffe from slumber and got him to ask a question of the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, who replied:

I also stress that for many years the quality of education in Bradford has been appalling, yet it is only when new providers come in to innovate that we hear from Opposition Members. 

And the truth is that, taken in the round, Michael Gove is right. The performance of Bradford's schools, when compared to other local authorities, has been appalling. We shouldn't take any pleasure from this situation, nor should we try to play some sort of game with the information. We should do something to change the situation.

So what does Bradford's most eager politician say (when he can drag himself away from sucking up to trade unions so he can try and get to be an MP):

“I’m saddened, disappointed and thoroughly insulted. Standards are rising significantly and we take action when we are allowed to deal with schools that aren’t performing. We continue to put additional resources into school improvements and in attempts to raise standards."

Hold on there Ralph? Did you say standards are rising significantly? That is simply untrue:

Bradford’s primary schools have recorded the third worst results in England in tests sat by ten and 11-year-olds earlier this year, new figures show. A shocking one in three (32 per cent) of children are failing to achieve the standards expected of them in the Three Rs by the end of their primary education. 

Education standards have not risen at all - let alone significantly. Michael Gove is right - our performance is appalling. This isn't a criticism of teachers but a statement of the truth. And rather than saying you're "insulted" by the revelation of that truth, perhaps actually doing something might be an idea?

Instead what we get is more bureaucracy, more unwanted politicking and an unpleasant campaign against educational innovation in the city - where the Council's leadership does the bidding of the teacher unions rather than serve the interests of children and parents.

Telling the truth about our schools isn't the insult. The insult is not doing the things that might make things better, might give Bradford's children a better start and a better chance in life.



Anonymous said...

Wrong wrong wrong

Education: where everyone is an expert: You, Gove and anyone else who's never stood in front of a class.

Were Bradford measured on progress instead of achievement, they would skyrocket up the performance charts. Of course this wouldn't suit Mr Gove.

If by innovation you mean spending funds on parties and fast cars and giving jobs to your family members, I'm sure the Kings Academy will be pleased to innovate the tax-payers out of thousands more of our money in the near future.

Simon Cooke said...

OK Anonymous (why is it always the critical commenters who hide who they are)....

Saying that only people who have "stood in front of a class" are qualified to comment on education is one of the more ridiculous arguments.

And you say "progress" should be the measure rather than achievement. That's fine unless you're one of the children your 'progress' isn't delivering achievement to.

entahimaar said...

Saying that only people who have "stood in front of a class" are qualified to comment on education is one of the more ridiculous arguments

Comment away; comment until your heart's content. You still have no idea what you're talking about. Go comment on Health, Defence, Taxation, Foreign policy and all the other things you are unqualified to have an opinion on. Just don't expect those of us dealing with Mr Gove's cynical trashing of our education system and systematic demoralisation of the people expected to pick up the pieces to take your ignorant bullsh*t with a smile.

Fact 1: Bradford has a massive proportion of students living in poverty and/or starting school with reading ages way below the national average. If you believe that teachers in Bradford are failing because the students are not all reaching Oxbridge then feel free to suggest some solutions (pay teachers more, reduce class sizes, employ more support staff, allow teachers time to plan and mark properly). I add these because they are things that are now impossible outside of the private sphere because of Mr Gove and his government. Many young people in Bradford don't even view uni as a viable option now that it will cost them 30,000 just to get through the door (another policy from Gove's government)Still, living in Cullingworth you're comfortably away from the real world.

Fact 2: Of the 2 secondary Free Schools in Bradford - one is in the news for fraud (I note you had no answer to that) and the second is a former private school forced into going free due to lack of funds. Neither of these schools are innovating or improving education in Bradford: one has been bombarded with cash only for its leadership to spend it on parties whereas the other applies highly selective admission criteria in order to get an intake certain to achieve high results.
Don't bother replying - i won't read it. Try spamming the MOD instead.