Difficult times at the Department for Education (DfE), where Michael “Oiky” Gove has now had to concede that his very wonderful new GCSE and “A” level examinations, which are going to be so much harder and more rigorous, unlike rotten soft Labour exams, are not going to be introduced for some years, and in the case of some GCSE subjects, teaching the new syllabus will not start until 2016.
Yes, your polecats
So that’s after the next General Election, which means that, should Young Dave and his jolly good chaps get ejected from the Government benches, much of Gove’s heavily trailed legacy will be stillborn. Worse, his retinue of polecats would follow Gove out the door, to peals of derisive laughter from all those who had been routinely abused on a strictly non-attributable basis.
That prospect clearly weighed heavily on those polecats in charge of the @toryeducation Twitter account, believed to be Dominic Cummings – so toxic that Andy Coulson vetoed his appointment – and Henry de Zoete. That weight was so much that the news, slipped out yesterday in the apparent hope that Syria and the G20 would keep it off the front page, could not just be reported.
No, there had to be some kind of valedictory action from @toryeducation, and so it came to pass. The announcement was by Ofqual, not the DfE, so for starters it was nothing to do with Gove. He could not possibly be at fault for the non-introduction of new GCSEs, which have gradually slipped from 2014, to 2015, and now 2016. A big boy clearly did it and ran away.
Then the polecats had to dole out some good old-fashioned abuse, so Times hack Greg Hurst was summarily sneered at, as was Warwick Mansell, who had pointed out the continued slippage of the new syllabus’ introduction. For some reason, @toryeducation showed an obsession with the idea of more people working for the Chinese, as if this was A Very Bad Thing.
Then the goalposts moved, with “working for the Chinese” transformed into “better jobs [going to] Asia and Silicon Valley” (that the education system in the USA does not score as well as that in the UK, on just about any measure available, is a thought that is not allowed to enter). Then there was a particularly nasty snark at MP Kevin Brennan, petulantly asserting “you lot buggered GCSEs”.
All of which guarantees that, should Cummings and de Zoete get positively identified as being behind @toryeducation, their feet won’t touch the ground as they are ejected from the DfE. And they clearly aren’t confident that the Gove revolution will survive the next election intact. So all that is left is to throw a few mardy strops, while going through the motions of defending a minister who only talks the talk.
Still, it’s good entertainment, but it’s hardly worth all that taxpayer funding, is it?