Professor Gus John joins a number of eminent academics and campaigners for children’s education rights in calling for a regrading of papers in this Summer’s examinations fiasco. Gus John says:
I believe that however much Michael Gove pleads ‘no interference’, he cannot dissociate himself from the political and policy context in which the examining boards shifted the goalposts and the time they chose to do so. It is devious, morally reprehensible and gruesomely demotivating to hardworking students and teachers to play such a nasty trick.
Last Thursday night, I attended a most uplifting awards ceremony at Featherstone High School in Southall and handed over awards and spoke to the school community. The high ambitions of the students, and of the staff for them, was so evident and so clearly reflected in their results and in the destinations of their Year 13 leavers, that it was heartbreaking to hear some of the personal stories both staff and students had to share.
I have said repeatedly that is my perennial regret that there is not a strong, organised and disciplined national school students movement and corresponding parents movement that could mobilise themselves and join forces with teachers in protesting such cynical abuse of power by the Executive and their satellites.
In 1986, I addressed a large rally at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London, when another Secretary of State, Keith Joseph took on the teaching unions. It was a time when in the wake of McGregor and the 1984 Miners Dispute, the Thatcher government was seeking to bring the organised workers movement to its knees. My talk was entitled The Black Working Class Movement in Education and the 1896 Teachers Dispute and was later published as a pamphlet by the Black Parents Movement.
In that talk, I argued that it was essential for students nationwide to organise themselves independently of parents in pursuit of their own interests, but with the support of parents and teachers, and for parents to do the same, thus forming powerful coalition forces to safeguard children’s education rights and rescue schooling and education from the vagaries of politicians. Sadly, there have been no such developments and school students continue to be ignored as they fail to matter, despite the rate at which education policies and schooling practices change around them.
If this disgraceful treatment of school students and their teachers demonstrates anything, it underscores the need for school students to organise themselves, make common cause in the interests of the most vulnerable to the most successful among them and ensure that government takes themand their organised power into the reckoning when they think of scams such as changing the rules unilaterally in mid play.
This is an opportunity for school leavers, school students, parents and teachers to demonstrate to Michael Gove that he is accountable to them and cannot simply protest that all he dreams up in their best interest.
Also on this subject:
Read the letter sent by the National Union of Teachers to “The Guardian”
“GCSE RESULT 2012” by Tretherras News (Flickr – CC BY 2.0)