Sunday, September 12, 2010

Michael Gove

I like the sound of what Education Minister Michael Gove is saying about introducing technical colleges where pupils who aren't academic can go at 14 and learn something that will be of use to them, such as plumbing or plastering rather than History and French. Christine Blower from the National Union of Teachers opposes the plan, which is almost the definition of a good idea.

Gove also says that he wants to get rid of the excessive health and safety as well as the compensation culture that makes teachers reluctant to do anything interesting in case a parent sues the school. He also wants to give boys more opportunity for competition, which everybody knows they thrive on, rather than wrapping them up in cotton wool.

Good on him, but let's see if he actually does any of this. He will really have his work cut and will have to take on the teaching unions, parents and lawyers.


English Pensioner said...

I'm all for Technical Colleges, but then I went to one!
I studied part time whilst working and in due course obtained my HNC in Electrical Engineering.
After a few years and some more exams, I obtained my membership of the Institution of Electrical Engineers which many employers, at the time, regarded as being preferable to a degree because it embodied "on the job" experience with good academic backing.
But these days this route is no longer available, and I believe the Professional Institutions now want a degree for membership.
Some of the now poorly regarded "Universities" were once very good Technical Colleges or Polytechnics, often supported by local industry, and held in high regarded. Now what are they?

Mark Whitehed said...

There were two kinds of techs when I was younger. The first was for post-school students, usually on day-release, and the other was for kids of secondary school age who had a fair bit of intelligence but weren't interested in pure sciences - they wanted to "mekk stuff", and often did it really well.

Sometimes these organisations were one and the same.

The Tech College was great if it was right for you. I attended a fairly recently converted polytechnic which was still essentially a Tech in many subjects, including mine (textile dyeing). Whilst it didn't really suit me, many of my fellow day-release students were very much at home. I felt better there once we'd got the "craft" side of things out of the way and we started on the more technological side of things. I still managed to fail my exams.

Later I did a Science/Maths degree through the Open University.

That was more my cup of tea, though I won't let anyone knock techs. Many "low-hopers" managed to really show their real, inate abilities after a few years at a tech.

Techs have educated many excellent engineers in particular, and have enabled so-called "ordinary" students to show their real worth in the real world by allowing their practical abilities to combine with their academic ones - many otherwise-good students are put off when all they have to work with is theory. They feel the need to get their hands REALLY dirty, as well as do the paperwork behind the grease.

Lilyofthefield said...

Gove talks the talk but can anyone think of any actual walks he's walked?

East Anglian Constable said...

This is a great idea. In fact why set the age so high at 14. As a Police Constable who had a primary school on his beat I once ran a gardening project where I visited the school for just 30 minutes once a week and took the year 4's outside. We re-lined a pond, built bird boxes, hedgehog boxes, planted bulbs and herbs and made seats. One of the boys was supposedly ADHD and a real problem in the classroom. So much so that I had a classroom assistant assigned to help me because of him. He was my star pupil, a very creative and practical boy. In the end his classroom assistant found something else to do. I am sure he would have benefited from something like this. Likewise I was a school governor at a high school for a four year stint. I know I hadn't really got a clue about what was going on in the school but I saw some young lads who were born to be excellent tradesmen. One was often getting into trouble with me in my real job on a Friday night but I'm sure he will soon have a little fleet of sign written builders vans and people working for him. I think that some youngsters need these opportunities at a young age.

Dack said...

Most of the stuff they build now - round here anyway - seems to start crumbling within five years. Cars and even boilers (I'm told) diagnose themselves via an inbuilt microchip(or whatever it is). My electrician gave up on having apprentices because 'kids want to earn what I do within six months and refuse to go down a manhole if there's a bit of a whiff.' I've just had four plumbers round to give quotes before I found one who sounded like he knew what he was talking about (there's just been some scandal in the press about a plumbing 'qualification' that costs the punter a packet but can't even get them on the job training). I'm all for it, but only if we can also go back to teaching skills proper' like.