Natural History and the DfE

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

The DfE is saying nothing about the chances of the GCSE in natural history getting approval.  The proposal  is "with ministers" I understand.  But what advice are they getting from civil servants do you suppose?  The fact that it wasn't announced at COP26 seems ominous for its prospects.  I know almost everyone thought that Nick Gibbs’ going would unblock all kinds of initiatives, but I wasn’t convinced, seeing über conservative civil servants in the DfE's curriculum division as the problem.  Their arguments are likely to be that the proposed GCSE is a poor fit with how we (ie, DfE) views what schools are for. 

I was, therefore, struck by this article by Kate Bingham in The Times.  In it, she writes:

"The machinery of government is dominated by process, rather than outcome, causing delay and inertia. There is an obsessive fear of personal error and criticism, a culture of groupthink and risk aversion that stifles initiative and encourages foot-dragging."

She might have been writing about the GCSE proposal. 

And so we wait.  Incidentally, the more I listen to Mary Colwell talk so eloquently about the benefits of the proposed GCSE, the more it sounds like a sound rationale for a complete revision of secondary science education.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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