Is the Department for Education media department a computer programmed with stock phrases?
No matter what education topic is being discussed, the DfE and ministers will cough up clichés about 87% of schools being good or better compared with 67% in 2010 (today’s figure is actually 85% and the largest improvement took place before post-2010 reforms came into effect), the government being on track to provide one-million school places (LAs are responsible for a sizeable number of these), the phonics check helping children become fluent readers (passing the phonics decoding test is no guarantee of reading success) and Teaching for Mastery improving maths teaching (no better, no worse than other methods, said evaluation).
The latest Department for Education press release follows the same weary format grinding out the same gobbets.
But there is one difference. Schools minister Nick Gibb says parents would probably find the English school system ‘unrecognisable’ when compared with the schools they attended.
He’s right. The English school system is fragmented, obsessed with test results, overburdened with accountability, subject to interference by ministers, crushed by over-hasty ‘reforms’, facing a teacher supply crisis and underfunded.
However much the quality of education is dulled by systemic weaknesses; however much children and young people are let down by a narrowed curriculum; the media bot will continue its endless echo: 87%...67%...phonics…mastery…one million…repeat…repeat…repeat……….