Dear Mr Gove {Since You’ve Been Gone}

Dear Mr GoveDear Mr Gove,

Re: Since You’ve Been Gone

It’s been two years now since you formally left the role of Education Secretary. I imagine you’ve probably moved on (whilst nursing a slightly bruised ego after the events in June of this year). Unfortunately, the teachers, parents and children of Britain cannot say the same. We are all still living in the aftermath of your bold – some might say ignorant – decision-making back in 2013.

I’ll admit to being a little ignorant myself when it comes to politics and I can’t say for sure what impact your leadership has had on the teachers currently responsible for providing our offspring with an adequate education; but as a parent, I’m sadly too knowledgeable.

When my 14 year old returned home from school for the fourth night in a row, recounting stories of yet another teacher who felt it necessary to pile the pressure on a child who is already acutely aware that GCSEs “need to be taken seriously” and are “THE gateway to her future” (for the record, they’re not), my blood began to boil. When I responded by explaining that her teachers are paid based on their performance and that this is no doubt their motivation, I realised just how bad things are.

I contemplated speaking to the school, asking them to politely ‘back off’ but having attempted that last year, for a child who subsequently crippled under the weight of this education system, I knew it would have little effect. Can I justifiably blame the teacher anyway? Like all of us, she is merely trying to make a living to the best of her ability, under a regime that is not of her choosing.

The one person I can blame however, is the person who brought this ‘bright’ idea into the system in the first place. In case you need reminding Mr Gove, that was you. I imagine your motive was to improve Britain’s reputation amongst other countries, to encourage teachers to push themselves harder, to achieve as a nation!

Unfortunately, it’s proved too ‘pushy’ for some children, the future generation, the ones who will be cleaning this mess up for years to come. Is it any wonder depression and anxiety is increasing at an alarming rate amongst modern-day teenagers? Current statistics show that three adolescents in every secondary school classroom are suffering. Did you know that Mr Gove?

I can only hope and pray that your successor – the second one since your departure – has the foresight to consider all the implications and to treat our children as people instead of a statistic on a school’s results page.

Yours sincerely,

A Concerned Mother.

7 Comments on Dear Mr Gove {Since You’ve Been Gone}

  1. Louise
    September 23, 2016 at 1:16 pm (5 months ago)

    Well said. No wonder I like many others aren’t rushing back to the teaching profession. Went to a talk on year 2 the other day where they said whether you agree or not we are setting this much homework. (Way more than my eldest got or gets!) I was happy that they did add on the end to remember that our kids are only 6 and it’s not worth them getting stressed out about. I think all the testing and pressure has got way out of hand.

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  2. Sarah MumofThree World
    September 23, 2016 at 9:01 pm (5 months ago)

    Wow, has he really been gone two years?!
    It is terrible the pressure that is placed on kids.
    Reading this I felt glad that I’ve got a 15yo boy that actually doesn’t care! He frustrates me sometimes, but the pressure to him is like water off a duck’s back. He doesn’t do his homework and he doesn’t get stressed.
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David LagercrantzMy Profile

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    • Suzanne W
      September 26, 2016 at 10:18 am (5 months ago)

      I would say that’s a huge bonus Sarah and I never that I would say that! Bear it in mind for your others though. Schools but more than enough pressure on, I’m learning to let it go. x

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  3. Plutonium Sox
    September 24, 2016 at 7:21 am (5 months ago)

    This does make me cross. How awful for one thoughtless man to leave a legacy of the best teachers quitting and the brightest students thinking they’re not good enough. We’re setting children up to fail because the ones that care can’t cope and the only children who can cope with school life are the ones that don’t care if they get the homework done. Terrible to say it but I hope my two fall into the latter category because there’s more to life than that.
    Nat.x
    Plutonium Sox recently posted…Managing everyday parenting stressMy Profile

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    • Suzanne W
      September 26, 2016 at 10:17 am (5 months ago)

      It’s a sorry state of affairs alright. I think the only thing we can do is try to counteract the pressure at home. That’s hard though when teachers are urging us parents to make sure our children are taking it seriously. I used to get emails from certain teachers telling me that my eldest wasn’t focusing hard enough! With her being the first child, you’re never really sure what to do with that information. In hindsight, I would ignore it! x

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  4. Carie @ Space for the Butterflies
    September 25, 2016 at 8:33 am (5 months ago)

    Oh so very well said – and so very worrying at the same time. We saw the impact trickling down even into Reception last year and have had to make some changes this year to do our best to stop a little five year old disengaging even further. It seems so utterly insane that we’re being dragged down this education track by what feels like a runaway train when every piece of educational research that I can find says that this is not the way to do it.
    Carie @ Space for the Butterflies recently posted…When Pip met a medalistMy Profile

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    • Suzanne W
      September 26, 2016 at 10:15 am (5 months ago)

      Yes it’s also had a knock on effect in primary schools, largely relating to the new SATS and the ridiculous targets that have been set for KS1 and KS2 children. This man has absolutely taken all the joy out of learning for our children and created so much stress for them. I dread to think where we will be in 5 years time. Mental Health issues amongst children are growing at an alarming rate. I know there are lots of factors contributing to that but this is a huge one in my opinion. Thanks for commenting Carie. x

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