Listening to Bridget

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

The Labour party manifesto hit the streets yesterday.  NAEE has the education-focused details and it's fair to say that it's not Earth-shattering.  I then heard Bridget Phillipson on the BBC PM Programme where Evan Davis asked her a number of probing questions about policy on social care and higher education – ie what they would be doing about them.  Davis said that what was written down tended to be soundbites about vague aspirations rather than a setting out of clear policy.  It was not enlightening, as Bridget showed her entrenched ability to talk in clichés without saying very much.  Was that a lack of forward thinking, I wondered, or just an instruction to say as little as possible at all?  The latter, I guess, as I can't believe they are as clueless as Bridget sounded.  You can hear her stonewalling / waffling from 34 minutes into the programme, repeating "fully costed and fully funded" as often as possible.

There was no mention of climate education (or for example, natural history) in the manifesto to the disappointment of activists.  This is on a par with a lot of the manifesto so we shouldn't expect that just because there is no mention of something doesn't mean that they won't do it.  Exciting or terrifying, depending on your point of view.

Wikipedia has a helpful list of English Education ministers down the years.  There have been 42 (so far) in my lifetime.  This is an average of more than 1 every 2 years.  Most (>60%) have been Conservative).  It is a not a job to linger in.  And there have been 10 of them in the last 14 years.  So where will Bridget stand in this pantheon?  Will she be remembered with respect as an innovating minister who transformed things for the better?  For example, will she be an Anthony Crossland, a Charles Clark or a David Blunkett?  Or sadly will she be an Estelle Morris, or a Fred Mulley?  I know what I think.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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