Platt case: inflexibility wins

I’ve been following this┬ácase with worry. I’m not entirely comfortable with Jon Platt’s confrontational approach, and I can see the need for schools to have high attendance.

Regardless, I really can’t approve of this judgement. I understand that there is a need to balance (a) parents’ needs for flexibility, (b) schools’ needs to have children there at predictable times, and (c) children’s needs for an education. But this ruling seems to say that rules can/should be enforced rigidly, regardless of circumstance, and that’s rarely helpful.

Remember that the original rule change was the government *removing* headteachers’ rights to agree to absence in term time. This was not a school vs parents case, it was about whether the government rules can override parents’ and teachers’ judgement.

Gove’s Education Policies – explained by their inventor

I’ve tried reading Dominic Cumming’s rather long-winded apologia for his education opinions. He’s now apparently off to set up a free school to try out his ideas in the real world.

I’m reminded of something I read about John Nash (I can’t find the reference just now). When he was asked how someone as intelligent as him could ever have believed his paranoid delusions, he replied that they had come from exactly the same part of his mind that had produced the ideas that won him a Nobel prize.

It’s always very important, when you have come up with a beautiful theory, to go back and sanity-check it against whatever evidence is available.

The link to the Guardian article is here, or you can read Cumming’s own article here.

Incidentally, this also exposes very clearly the logic behind Gove’s education reforms.

  • Don’t waste money educating the lower end of society as they’re genetically inferior.
  • Scrap state education, all schools should be run privately.
  • Scrap state oversight of education, including teacher training.
  • Make students work harder, the lazy layabouts.