Nicky Morgan and the Ghastly New World of Morgantopia

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Nicky Morgan is reported in today’s Sunday Times to have said:

“I want every child – 100% of children entering school in September to be entered for those core academic subjects which evidence shows sets every child up for life.”

I would like to see this evidence and I would like to know if entering and failing these subjects sets you up ‘for life’ too or does Morgan expect everyone to take these subjects and pass them? When she measures ‘set up for life’ what does she judge that by? Is it judged by tax receipts? Number of Grandchildren? Length of Life? Whether you can retire to Chichester? Are there no other subjects that set children ‘up for life’?

“We know that for too long children in some state schools have been discouraged from taking these academic subjects. We want these children to get better jobs and go to top universities and we know that taking these subjects unlocks that.”

Some state schools have been deliberately stopping children taking certain subjects… Now this may be true, I would like to see evidence of this. But is it true that every single child who didn’t take the Ebacc was discouraged even though they were capable of doing it? Are there some children in State schools who will struggle taking the Ebacc? If not, I ask again, does she want every child to pass the Ebacc? If everyone does get the Ebacc will everyone get better jobs and go to top universities? Are there any jobs that ‘aren’t’ better? What are these jobs? Who will do these jobs in Morgantopia? What will happen to the universities that aren’t top? Will the top Universities expand to allow all these hitherto under performing state school students into them? Will Private school kids step aside and no longer take top jobs and fill up space in top universities? Will every top job double up? Will we have two Primeministers? A State School one and an old Etonian?

“English, maths, science, history or geography, and a modern foreign language are key for future achievement. I will expect all children starting school in September and starting their GCSE courses in 2018 to be taking these subjects for GCSE.”

Are these GCSEs key for future achievement? Only one science? Geography better than Religious Studies? Will it be ruined if someone were to sully their studies with Art and Music? And does this mean that OfQual has been wasting its time making all GCSEs equally rigorous?

“Children taking the Ebacc will have prominence in the accountability tables.”

Does this mean everyone will be taking the Ebacc or not? Is it compulsory or a massive ‘nudge’?Does Morgan want Independent schools to play along with this? Will they be featuring in the accountability tables? Will Free schools and academies be free to ignore all this and not punished for exercising their freedoms by featuring low down on accountability tables? Will free schools that ignore these ideas be showing ‘character’?

“I want it to be the thing that parents really look at when they choose secondary schools, in the same way that teenagers choosing university ask: what am I getting for my £9000 fees?”

In Morgantopia will every parent REALLY be able to choose a Secondary school? REALLY ?

Finally the Sunday Times reports that

Morgan ‘plans to unveil initiatives to build character and resilience, including more competitive sport, to help [them] cope’ with the changes, that she is ‘concerned’ will ‘heap more pressure on teenagers’…

So ‘Initiatives’ plus Competitive Sport plus the Ebacc equals Morgantopia. Sounds ghastly.

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7 thoughts on “Nicky Morgan and the Ghastly New World of Morgantopia

  1. Jon Brunskill

    Although I broadly agree with lots of the educational reforms over the last 5 years, and similarly believe that every child should have a grounding in core academic subjects (especially English and maths) I think that the questions that you ask are incredibly important.

    I believe that children becoming literate and numerate should take precedence over other subjects because if you can’t read, write or add up then it’s impossible to exercise in the democracy you were born into. It is disenfranchising.

    This is not, of course, to denigrate other subjects, for which I have huge respect. English and maths allow us to survive – everything else allows us to thrive.

    It’s interesting, of course, that parliament (which makes the decisions about educational policy) is populated mostly by people who have benefitted from doing very well at things like writing essays and persuading through written and oral language. It’s no wonder, then, that they believe that this is the key to the good life for young people – after all it worked for them!

    Perhaps if more artists (in the broadest sense of the word) occupied the green benches, we may hear a more balanced message from our government.

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  2. Pingback: Schools face downgrade under plans to target academic GCSEs | HetPodium

  3. Pingback: Schools face downgrade under plans to target academic GCSEs | I Survived College

  4. theartcriminal

    A great bit of writing on a key topic. That’s a dreadful interview in the S.Times. Mr Morgan, by the way, is a architect. Bet he needed his Art GCSE and A level.

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  5. lynseywhite

    Yet more ideological meddling from people who have no fecking clue about education… The arts aren’t some kind of ‘luxury’ add-on subject that you do as a side order with your maths and science: art is an absolute necessity for the sanity of humankind, and next time Morgan goes to the theatre or switches on her television or opens a book or a newspaper she has arts teaching to thank for it.

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  6. Janette Baker (@janbaker97)

    No I have it on good authority that top performing universities have no intention of expanding. Indeed they physically can’t, they just don’t have the space or the planning permission! Does she actually speak to people who know these things, before coming up with these ideas?

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