4 Feb 2014 | Football

The Field of Gove Dreams – an un-level playing surface.

Michael Gove MP minister for Education, has just finished another big day. He appears to have been speaking since yesterday (Sunday morning February 2nd) and a bit like David Bowie’s re-launch a year ago, he seems to have this incredible self-awareness and knowledge that he’s centre stage, front page, born to enrage kind of guy.


And however he divides opinion (and divide it he does), isn’t it good to see education so freely and widely discussed? Education generally only hits the front pages in August, when the Mail on Sunday exposes the Assessment Organisations (a.k.a. exam boards ) for being too slack in their marking.


Football, compare and contrast


I’m not going to dissect or comment on the Gove Groove (plenty of others are doing that), bit for the purposes of this blog allow me to consider a couple of issues;


  1. State schools to be become as effective as Private schools
  2. Somebody else to head up Ofsted



Overall and in Football words, Mr Gove wants see the lower leagues playing to the same level as the rich Champions League entrants. But as we see from football, they have become two different words altogether.  Patrick Vieira said (ironically also in the Daily Mail) ‘English grassroots football is ’30 or 40 years’ behind the times,’
In fact it looks like football is as divided as our education system as the grass roots of football appear to be getting up rooted. The top English clubs invest in empire building as well in their own superb at-home training facilities. Little money appears to be going to help English football in general. This is all strategic and selfish and put simply is a way of developing players for their own use and not to risk developing players that might one day play for their competitors.

Despite the unlikely coalition of The London Academy of Excellence and Eton (amongst other lead Ed lights) I have doubts as to how this can either extend in education or the World of football.  Indeed, there are strict anti-trust rules in place in football to stop this kind of expansionist behaviour specifically for the reasons I have mentioned above.

With regards to Govian decision to revamp Ofsted, I wonder if he may even have a point (Gasp, shock, awe, and horror).

I am not an Ofsted inspector. I have however been treated as one. In my work as a visiting moderator for an Assessment Organisation I visit schools (or centres as they are coldly termed) and am always greeted as I am some kind of to-be-feared dignitary.


Some of my colleagues love this power trip, but I really am not a fan of sycophancy or of being a one day deity.  I do think however that Ofsted could be headed up by a person that feels centres can improve by coaxing and coaching rather than 24-hours scary notice followed up by a Trip Advisor style wrap-on the knuckles report.


I am not necessarily proposing Moyes Vs Ferguson (if indeed Moyes is a pussy cat {I don’t think he is}) but perhaps a more user-friendly approach would bring long-term benefits to our education system.