Now there’s an idea. Following on from my post on the relative merits of Messrs Grieve and Gove for their respective positions in government, I though I’d take a look back at those people who have held the position of Education Secretary, just to see when (if?) there was last an actual teacher or lecturer in the post.
Well, it’s perhaps surprising that you don’t have to go back all that far. Although not quite a teacher by profession, Ed Balls (June 2007 – May 2010) had actually done some lecturing, at Harvard nonetheless. Going back further, Ruth Kelly, SoS for Education between December 2004 and May 2006 also spent time as a university lecturer.
Now, laudable as those stints as lecturers are, it’s relatively easy to teach or to lecture a class where most, if not all, of the members actually want to be there…
So, we go back to Estelle Morris (June 2001 to October 2002) to find somebody who actually taught at the chalk face in a more challenging environment. Ms Morris you see was a PE and Humanities teacher for eighteen years between 1974 and 1992. In an inner city secondary… take that!
Going back just a smidge further, we find Gillian Shephard, former school teacher, who was SoS for Education between July 1994 and May 1997. She also worked as a school inspector before making her move into politics.
So, one might say then that teachers as SoS for Education are not all that uncommon and I should keep my gob shut and let the Prime Minister of the day decide how best he should populate his cabinet. However, I must return to the theme of my earlier post, they would never even think of putting a non-lawyer in the post of Attorney General so why a non-teacher in Education?
If you have had your head in a bucket of sand for the past few weeks, months or years it is likely that you will not know who Mr Michael Gove MP is. For those of you who haven’t, then you will know that he is our esteemed Minister for Education.
Now I give you another name to conjure with. Ladies and Gentlemen, Dominic Grieve MP. Mr Grieve, is another member of the UK’s Coalition Government, and more to the point he is the Attorney General. So far so obtuse I hear you tut tutting. But please bear with me…
Both of these government ministers are in charge of departments which have the potential to affect millions of our citizens. Both are of a politcal hue which leans more towards the ultra violet than infra red. But that’s not relevant to my point here, it’s just another thing that they have in common.
No, my point is this. Dominic Grieve is a lawyer by education, training and no doubt by inclination. It seems eminently sensible that he be charged with the role of Attorney General. Horses for courses and all that. But what of Mr Gove? Has he ever held the post of teacher or lecturer or anything else connected with education? Not that I can see; I don’t think that he’s even been responsible for the kids at lunchtime at his local primary school. He’s a journalist by trade. Get that, a journalist is the person ultimately responsible for the education of our children; that’s my kids, your kids, everybody’s kids.
In fact scrub that, because he’s not ultimately responsible at all. At the end of his term he’ll just walk away having imposed his own ideologically skewed vision on the children and young people of this country with, I’ll wager, barely a backwards glance.
If it doesn’t work, personally, I’d blame the teachers…