Speaking at the London Academy of Excellence today, the Education Secretary Michael Gove has said that he wants to break down the “Berlin Wall” between state and independent sectors. He commented that state schools are associated with “poor discipline, low standards, entrenched illiteracy, widespread innumeracy”, but he says that this “pessimistic view is no longer tenable”. Gove said that he wants schools to be able to stay open longer for nine or 10 hour days to allow more time for after-school activities or to provide a place for children to do their homework.
Olly from PSI: This is not as radical proposal as it may seem, considering that academies can already set their own school hours. More controversial is Gove’s call for more academic testing, including taking the common entrance exam taken by 13 year olds in some private schools. This could lead to criticisms that the Education Secretary is trying to create elitist State schools, as well as making education entirely dependent on written exams rather than practical experiences.
It is also worth considering that PSI’s analysis of new school accountability measures suggests that the education system could result with a division of elitist “achievement schools” and aspirational “progress schools”.
Incidentally, the Education Secretary also praised the “superb leadership” of Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector.