Painfully agreeing with Gove

The Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Gove spoke about the importance of good literacy and numeracy skills for all young people at the British Chambers of Commerce yesterday.

And I cannot believe I am typing this but I agree with Gove. I particularly agree with the importance he places on illiteracy and innumeracy in England, comparing it to the need for clean water in developing countries.

The ability to speak good English and be proficient in maths is a key tool:

->in enabling social mobility;

-> in helping thousands out of poverty and low incomes;

-> in allowing millions to contribute to society not just economically but socially- be apart of their local community and build relationships;

-> empowerment, building confidence and allowing individuals to articulate themselves particularly individuals who are victims of domestic violence and other crimes.

However, we cannot afford ( not just economically but in terms of equality too) to think that learning literally and numeracy skills is achieved solely  in the class room. There are non-formal educational activities where adults and young people can learn and improve their skills, for instance being apart of a sports team or Girl Guides.

Additionally, adults and long-life learning are missing from this speech. There are thousands of adults who are no longer able to learn English in their local communities via ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)  because of central government funding cuts. This negatively impacts on migrants communities and women. I therefore challenge the next British Government to reinstate funding for high-quality ESOL services, to acknowledge and appreciate other methods of teaching numeracy and literacy in order to achieve better literacy and numeracy results nationally.

4 Comments on “Painfully agreeing with Gove

  1. Whilst in general we agree on most things, the worrying part for me was in the conclusion. It would negate all the positives that standards of literacy and numeracy have on employment prospects.

    He was speaking about employers giving careers advice to young people. Sadly, as most of us mere mortals know, many employers have little if nothing in common with 11-19 years old and the young people know that. What is needed is the mediating voice of an interpreter, the ideal being a qualified careers adviser.

    Add to which how are schools going to quality assure employer input if they don’t understand the real world of recruitment? Teachers do indeed have experience of the world of work, but it’s often not up to date or current in any way.

    Sorry to say Seyi, the little positive of literacy was far outweighed for me by the worrying situation he has set up by trying to cut careers advisers out of the loop. I’m not a careers adviser by the way, I’m just an ex teacher who knows the value of what careers advisers do on a day to day basis to enable young people to negotiate the transition from school to work.

    • Completely agree! If I started talking about employers relationship with schools and pupils I’d still be typing up my post lol.
      I have an earlier post on the career service reforms, it is ridiculous. If the government don’t want to do, outsource the task to a credible non-for profit organisation (something like the old Aim higher and the amazing Spark + Mettle) and let them sort out the mess.
      I would like to see a strong policy commitment on career services in all political parities manifesto! Let’s think of a way to influence this maybe?
      S=)

  2. Informative ! a very informative article. the writer has sweeped all the main facets. I am indeed impressed by the information spread throughout this blog.
    Bravo! Keep up the good work.

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