There’s a Guardian article today by Peter Wilby, arguing that Gove’s hyperactive ministerial career has more to do with his journalistic background than with any educational expertise. He’s not thinking about how the system will improve; he’s thinking about how the headlines sound. That sounds pretty convincing to me.
In a twisted kind of way, it’s impressive. Who else would fancy being simultaneously in the middle of such crises as: introducing ebacc, radically changing A levels back to where they were, cutting more civil servants than the government requires, scrapping a popular school sports scheme (ensuring that the government fails to meet its Olympic legacy targets) encouraging heads to dock teachers’ pay, and putting pressure of primary schools to become academies even if their governors, parents and staff are against it ? You can’t accuse him of indolence or cowardice.
But you could argue that he’s arrogant and unrealistic, striking attitudes without looking at evidence, or taking any other views on board. Another curious mystery is why he’s allowed such freedom. He acts without consulting No. 10, and the illusion of bold independence deeply appeals to the Tory right, many of whom think he could be a significant improvement on Cameron…will this end well? Politically, who knows? Educationally, it has to mean years of disruption and fragmentation.