Michael Gove and the education department just got ‘properly mugged off’
Zara McDermott is a government adviser at the Department for Education (DfE). But as the funding crisis continues in UK schools, she’s spending the summer on ITV2‘s Love Island. In response, the Times Educational Supplement (Tes) has created Gove Island. And Michael Gove and the DfE just got ‘properly mugged off’.
Zara McDermott is a “post-16 policy adviser” and, as such, she’s part of the team advising education secretary Damian Hinds at the DfE.
Who says @LoveIsland is not intellectual? New entrant @zaramcdermott_ is an #DFE @educationgovuk Policy Adviser.
— Robert Halfon MP #WorkingHard4Harlow (@halfon4harlowMP) June 17, 2018
But as Tes pointed out, when she joined ITV2‘s most-watched show ever, she left the DfE at a crucial time. So Tes created Gove Island which, it said, isn’t really that different from the DfE because:
It’s just another exploited crew forced each day to turn idle fantasies into realities, a squad that has to cut free from the real world for that to work.
Gove is the ‘star’. But as Ed Dorrell – the head of content at Tes – pointed out, it’s not easy to unsee this image:
The illustration is an image that will be imprinted on your brain for the rest of eternity. https://t.co/iyA0ckw0Dz
— Ed Dorrell (@Ed_Dorrell) June 26, 2018
Alongside Hinds, previous Tory education secretaries – Justine Greening, Nicky Morgan and Nick Gibb – also get starring roles on Gove Island.
In this world:
May’s mugged off Morgan, Gibb’s got eggs in multiple baskets and Hinds doesn’t want to pair up with any policy…
New Post: Love Island? Old news. Welcome, instead, to Gove Island https://t.co/5Gj7IbnCTV pic.twitter.com/X0istsDvyV
— Schools Improvement (@SchoolsImprove) June 26, 2018
But there’s a twisted side to the island, because the legacy of Gove overshadows them all.
The National Union of Teachers listed ten reasons why Gove’s educational policies were so hated. He drove teachers out of the profession. There’s currently a crisis in mental health as children sit new GCSEs – one of Gove’s flagship policies. Parents and teachers say they’ll never forgive him.
As Tes explained:
Most intelligent people on that DfE island must surely feel a bit like Damian – marooned, confused and contractually obliged to play silly games in order to satisfy the personal whims of previous directors. So much of their day is wasted in pursuit of false idols such as free schools, academisation, expanded grammars and exam-only assessment of pupils and their schools.
In sending up the DfE, Gove Island draws attention to the current crisis in our education system. Schools funding cuts are critical, yet there’s funding for new grammar schools. Teachers’ workloads are crippling, and it now affects their students. The public sector pay cap has broken morale. There’s a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.
But as Tes said:
At least Love Island is built on solid rock foundations. Sadly the same cannot be said for the country’s educational headquarters.
The DfE is not fit for purpose. Nor is this Tory government. And Gove has been properly ‘mugged off’ because he deserves little else.
– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.
Featured image via screengrab
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.