Right wingers trying to drag education back decades have suffered an embarrassing set back today.

The Tories have been on a crusade to get rid of modern teaching methods and return to a ‘knowledge-based curriculum’ since 2010.

It was an obsession of Michael Gove’s and the flame of ‘good old fashioned teaching’ is now being carried by Schools Minister Nick Gibb.

The “neo-traditionalists” thought they’d made a major breakthrough last July when a private university launched the first knowledge-based teacher training course.

The prospectus says students will:

“Review the evidence calling into question popular but unproductive teaching methods such as discovery-based learning, minimal teacher guidance, and the tailoring of lessons to pupils’ individual learning styles.”

The programme director is Robert Peal, a history teacher at the West London Free School, which was founded by Toby Young.

Peal also spent a 12 month secondment at the Department for Education where he acted as a policy advisor and speech writer to Gibb, who recently gave a speech titled: “The importance of knowledge-based education.”

The Tories and their allies have a lot of political capital invested in the project.

So news today that Peal’s course has been discontinued just 5 months after it was launched represents a major failure of the dogma they’ve preaching for the past 7 years.

The Times Education Supplement reports that the course is being closed to new entrants for “strategic reasons.”

It reveals the content of a note sent to tutors by Peal:

“I am very sorry to have to tell you that the BPP programme will not be continuing next academic year. I spoke with the deputy dean of education services on Friday, and they explained that BPP had decided to withdraw the programme to new entrants….

“…Let me apologise again for this disappointing news. I was greatly looking forward to working with you next year, and am sad that this will no longer be the case. I wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavours.”

As in so many public services, Tory ideology fails when it’s put to the test…

MORE: ‘School pioneer’ Toby Young tweets about MP’s breasts during PMQs

  1. Of Course all this wonderful theorisng does nothing but make for even less educated pupils. And then we get commerce and industry whining about how unwducated the workforce is. Are tories really this woefully ignorant?

  2. his was the agenda of many of the Telegraph views on education.
    Who would have thought it? The Telegraph being wrong.
    Well, me. Most of the time.

  3. Chris, yes, the Tories really are this woefully ignorant. the Minister is an amateur, in a world of professionals. And Tories don’t do evidence based policy making, they do policy based evidence making.

  4. Teach them knowledge, most of which, will be out of date by the itme they use it.
    OR
    Teach them how to learn, and enjoy it, so they are always up to date

  5. Look back over 40 years at the Department of Education (and its various aliases). It has the highest number of incumbents of any government department of state and only one of them (Estelle Morris) had a professional qualification in teaching. The rest of them adhered to the fallacy – ‘I went to school – therefore I know how this works’ – with the obvious consequences; a load of domineering politicians dicking around with young people’s lives and the potential of the country.

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