Education, schooling, Gove and Gramsci

Ann a fascinating insight. Of course there are reasons why there should be a resonance between Gove and Gramsci, not least because of their emergence into intellectualism from humble and austere beginnings. That Gove has gone on to become an exemplar organic intellectual while Gramsci typifies the traditional mode is perhaps a function of geography and epoch – a reflection of zeitgeist in their formative years.
And you are right to allude to the embryonic counter hegemony emerging – very evident in the social media – to the prevailing incarnation of the education vs schooling hegemony which currently favours schooling in its most functional and utilitarian guise.
Much food for thought here, thank you for stimulating my grey matter.

Lifelong Learning Matters

‘Education’ is rarely out of the news these days, with a conveyor belt of reviews and reforms. Some recent social media exchanges have highlighted the distinction, made by the Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci amongst others, between ‘education’ and ‘schooling’.

While we should acknowledge and welcome the fact that existing funding for adult andcommunity learning was protected in last week’s Comprehensive Spending Review given the current economic climate, it seems that most of the reported policy discussion about ‘education’ is actually about ‘schooling’. The main focus appears to be on ideology and control in primary and secondary education.

Speaking at the recent Sunday Times Festival of Education, Prof. A C Grayling suggested that, “Teaching to the exam has squeezed out education in favour of schooling” (Earlier this year,Grayling placed a bid to open a free secondary school in Camden.)

In this context, it’s interesting to remember that Education Secretary Michael Gove told the Social Market…

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The newly formed Birmingham Women’s Campaign called a protest outside the Katie Road NHS walk-in centre yesterday. Those present talked to service users and knocked on doors in thelocality explaining the issue andgetting the petition filled in.Image

There have recently been two denials that the walk-in centres are going to be closed. The first was from Kings Norton Councillor Steve Bedser, the city council cabinet member for health and wellbeing. The other was from Dr Andrew Coward, head of the new South Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), who stated categorically at a local NHS Listening Meeting that no NHS Walk-In Centres in South Birmingham will be closed. This was reported at a Patient Participation Group meeting for Granton Surgery (Middleton Hall Road) last week.
These welcome reassurances were heard after the big campaign in Erdington made the closure of its walk-in centre politically unacceptable. The task now…

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A Hard Look at UK Austerity and Correcting the Mistaken Lessons of History – John Gelmini

Dr Alf's Blog

United Kingdom

United Kingdom (Photo credit: stumayhew)

Further to Dr Alf’s reblogging of John Cassidy’s excellent article, entitled “The Mistaken Lessons of History : a UK Misfortune“,  published in the  New Yorker, I should like to make some additional observations.

Austerity and cutting on their own are never going to work because the jobs which are lost as a result will not be replaced unless other measures are taken in parallel.

Secondly, austerity has to be delivered quickly as was the case with Canada and Ireland where it was applied for two short years and where people were told in advance why it was being done and how growth would be engineered.

In the UK, we have had austerity delivered too slowly and without the accompanying additional measures.

A comprehensive list of necessary measures should include (inter alia):

a) Lower taxes to get money hidden offshore brought back onshore and thus…

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Austerity and the Mistaken Lessons of History : a UK Misfortune – John Cassidy – The New Yorker

Osborne’s Spending Review – PCS Midlands Shows Government The Red Card

Birmingham Against The Cuts

In his spending review last week, the chancellor announced further massive cuts to the public sector and the civil service on top of the £81bn which will be cut from public spending by 2014. We have already seen a two-year pay freeze and pay cap of 1% and increased pension contributions. More than 70,000 civil service jobs have been cut, the value of pensions reduced and terms and conditions threatened.

The government has refused to talk to us, and we are demanding real negotiations.

The new spending round will cut a further £11.5 billion in 2015/16 and include:

  • Saving a further £5bn from central government
  • Ending progression pay in civil service by 2016
  • 1% cap on public sector pay continued until April 2016
  • Budget cuts of 10% for justice, Defra, Treasury and Cabinet Office and Communities; 9.5% in DWP; 9% for transport; 8% in Foreign Office and department for energy…

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No 34. Dealing with a difficult person with the word ‘feel’

Excellent advice.

Classrooms and Staffrooms

difficult conversations

Unfortunately from time to time in the world of teaching you can encounter another member of staff that seems to be making your life difficult. This may include

  • talking to other people about you behind your back.
  • deliberately putting your ideas down during a meeting.
  • criticising you by e-mail and copying other people, often senior people into it. The cc and bcc are rarely used carefully.
  • greying matters by telling half truths.
  • talking to the students in their classes about you. A false and wholly inappropriate way of them gaining respect.

If you think this is happening to you then the worse thing you can do is to do nothing. You must confront the person directly and take the following steps

  1. Ask the person that you would like to talk to them privately – don’t do this by e-mail, keep it all face to face.
  2. Tell the person how…

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No 32. 12 ways to build team spirit within your department

So much of this excellent article seems to be common sense.
Common sense is often hidden in plain sight – and easily overlooked.

Classrooms and Staffrooms

If you are a Head of Department in a school then you will want to do your best to maintain a good team spirit. Here are twelve ways that you can do this  – if you have any more then please comment.

  1. Communicate well with honesty – you could have a weekly briefing sheet with all the important events and deadlines on it.
  2. Be visible in the department, for instance make sure you around at break times and lunchtimes.
  3. Set the standard – make sure that you are seen to be working hard and not going against the school ethos. Lead by example and set high standards
  4. Make an effort to point out the good in what people are doing. If someone in your team has spent time putting up a display then go and look at and make them feel appreciated. Celebrate what you see.
  5. Make sure that…

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#June27 UK Teachers Begin Escalated Action in North-West England.

#JUNE27 UK Teachers Begin Escalated Action in NW.

NASUWT and NUT members in the North-West of England escalate their industrial action from action short of strike to strike action. Teachers from the two largest teaching unions – which have put aside historical differences to campaign on a common front, in solidarity, against the education policies of the UK Government, a coalition of the otherwise unelectable Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, which aim to privatise and otherwise dismantle the UK’s famous universal free state education system.
This region, also badly hit by the Coalition’s other Austerity-driven socially divisive policies, sees the launch of a campaign of such escalated action on 27 June 2013CE.

Messages of support:
Twitter: #June27 #strike #solidarity #teacherstogether
Use the hashtags – be great to get the action trending!

Click the image for further details of the action.

Gove announces plan to phase out teaching in schools

Phasing out education so that the core function of making money may be better pursued…grrrr – that isn’t satire I’m afraid!

Pride's Purge


Educational experts have expressed reservations over Education Secretary Michael Gove’s announcement that the coalition government intends to phase out teaching in state schools.

According to reports, government ministers have already started talks to phase out the provision of education in primary and secondary schools in order for schools to focus more on their core function of making money – without the need to teach pupils, as required by existing legislation. 

Some experts however have criticised the plans, saying the complete axing of all teaching in schools could possibly lead in some cases to pupils not actually learning anything at all.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education, explained the reasons for the plans:

One of the biggest obstacles to the smooth running of a school is the distraction of constantly having to teach things to children.

It’s clear that unless we allow our schools to be able to…

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ATOS call police on Labour councillor after he tries to accompany claimants to assessments

Pride's Purge

(It’s not satire – it’s ATOS)

Workers at an ATOS office in the Mann Island area of Liverpool refused to allow a Labour councillor to accompany disabled claimants during their medical assessments.

They also threatened that any disabled claimant who was accompanied by Cllr Joe Walsh during their ‘fit for work’ test could have their benefits ‘affected’.

And when the councillor and a welfare advice expert who was accompanying him asked for the refusal to be put it in writing – amazingly the ATOS staff called the police on them.

Here’s the full story from the Liverpool Daily Post:

Police called after welfare experts offer advice to disabled ahead of Atos sickness benefit assessment

The police – obviously – later confirmed no-one had broken the law.

Apart from the seriousness of attempting to prevent a democratically elected representative from helping his constituents – and the equally serious issue of wasting…

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