Why can’t education at least be immune from ministerial reshuffles?

Yesterday David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, made a series of announcements about changes to the ministerial posts in his Government – though only those involving Conservative MPs.

David Cameron

David Cameron

My main interest was in the education sphere (in England only) where there was a wholesale change of posts, including the removal of the Secretary of State who had been in place since the previous General Election, Michael Gove MP, admittedly not everyone’s cup of tea – the only untouched one being the Liberal Democrat Minister of State for Schools, David Laws MP – but something may happen to him come September when his party leader may apparently make changes to his share of the Coalition Government ministerial list …

I have to admit being perplexed by all of this taking place a mere 8-10 months prior to the next General Election campaign and subsequent voting, which may well result in a further complete change of personnel. Is this what we really want in education policy? This is no criticism of the new people in place, as they may well carry out their briefs diligently within what I would term ‘constrained circumstances’. The fault doesn’t lie with them, though they are part of the system.

It seems clear that the changes in education as a result of the reshuffle were made more for political reasons than for the real benefit of education. This makes me feel more and more strongly that politics and education in England (and possibly elsewhere) need to be separated from each other by a ‘cordon sanitaire’, as was recommended in the Royal Society’s recent Vision report about which I blogged in June.