With all these U-turns, the DfE is going nowhere

It is the constant flip-flopping with education policy that drives us all crazy – why can’t those in charge of education think through their plans in advance?


It’s been quite a year. A year of so-called populist politics, when the populace bared its teeth and bit back. Brexit, Trump, the rise of the “alt-right” in the US and closer to home in Europe (ahem, while it is still “home”, that is). There’s no two ways about it, we are at low ebb. We are floundering, seeking an identity and a way to claw ourselves forward.


We can see the fingerprints of populist politics at play in our own sector, too: policy after policy that hasn’t been quite thought through, but which might plausibly be brigaded under a manifesto of “Making Education Great Again”, ends up on the trash heap, quietly canned.


You can always spot the failure of these manoeuvres a mile off, though, as politicians and press officers start talking insistently about the importance of “listening” and being “responsive” and of “revisiting” ideas, while remaining completely, utterly and resolutely committed to the spirit of the plans to [insert policy flavour of the month]. Read: “OK, it’s a fair cop. We cocked it up. RETREAT!”


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