New Education Secretary: some thoughts

 No. 10 Downing Street, where it all happened. Photo is copyright of www.gov.uk.

No. 10 Downing Street, where it all happened. Photo is copyright of www.gov.uk.

Just as I was going to take a bit of a break from updating this website several times a week, in order to focus on a Bett guide, Bett preview and a couple of books, the Prime Minister decided to hold a cabinet reshuffle. So inconsiderate. Anyway, as part of that reshuffle, Justine Greening, the Education Secretary, resigned. She has been replaced by Damian Hinds.

I liked Justine Greening for two reasons. First, she struck me as someone who actually listened to teachers and other educationalists. Secondly, since she took over the reins at Sanctuary Buildings education technology and associated matters were back on the agenda. After several years of 'coding, coding, coding' there was suddenly a real possibility that issues such as digital literacy might be promoted -- really, not just as lip service.

Ms Greening was due to open the Bett show, which was also a good sign methinks, and I had been hoping to meet her.

So, I don't know where ed tech will stand on Mr Hinds' watch. I do know that he faces a few other challenges, such as teacher recruitment, school funding and, I should think, change fatigue. I was somewhat alarmed when I read somewhere that he is a reformist, because what I think we need for a while is a consolidationist, if such a word exists. On the other hand, he did tweet:

Delighted to be appointed Education Secretary – looking forward to working with the great teachers & lecturers in our schools, colleges & universities giving people the opportunities to make the most of their lives.

I note the use of the word 'with' as opposed to 'on' -- always a good sign!

If reform is back/still on the agenda, one especially welcome change would be the reintroduction of a wider variety of IT-related qualifications at GCSE and 'A' Level. As well as providing variety, it would probably go some way to encouraging more girls to take the subject to higher levels. (See the pretty grim statistics I cited in my article about the Royal Society report, After the Reboot.)

This website wishes Mr Hinds all the best in his new role. And if he needs any suggestions of names of educators who have been around for a few years and who also know about education technology I'd be happy to supply them.