Michael Gove is the new Minister for Schools.
What can we expect? Well, he is keen on returning to traditional values in education. This is a popularist term, but is rather vague, suggesting that anything in the past, specifically the Victorian age is good. Unfortunately many social ills were popular in the past, such as high infant mortality, child prostitution, the absence of a welfare state, no minimum wage, and so on.
Gove does get more specific. School ties help raise standards (oh, and blazers).
Yes, he really does believe this. In this article in the Daily Mail he is reported as saying:
“It is no coincidence that many of the best-performing state schools have proper school uniforms”
The conservatives carried out this ‘research’, looking at GCSE results and school uniform, and so claim this as evidence. Their research findings did not, however isolate the key item of school uniform as some of the most successful schools did not have blazers.
Most sociological research on educational attainment has left out school uniforms as a predictor of attainment, instead they have highlighted social class, ethnicity, and gender. Inequalities in educational attainment are persistent, even existing in traditional times, however, maybe ties are indeed the solution. I doubt it, however.
Gove also wants to restore discipline by using ex-soldiers in schools. However it is not sure whether these soldiers will need to have a minimum degree classification of a 2:2 before they are allowed to become teachers. The Conservatives have promised to raise the standard of teacher training by limiting entry to only those who achieve a minimum 2:2 degree.