Young people present their views to Michael Gove

Secretary of State for Education, takes young people’s questions on Social Enterprise, January exams & listening to teachers.

Blog post by InspirEngage Young Ambassador Zainab Ali

Hello everyone! InspirEngage had a great day at the Education Festival yesterday and met lots of great people – especially the youth who attended the event!

Prior to the event, InspirEngage ran the campaign #GoveYouthView Twitter on put your views across to the Education Minister Michael Gove and get responses to them!  We received lots of responses to the campaign and displayed at our stall throughout Friday.

Later in the day, Melody ran an InspirEngage boot camp ‘Secretary of State of Education for the day’ where we brought out the best of young people‘s views and together came up 5  key questions which we asked Mr Gove himself later in the day! These questions were very perceptive and were on a range of topics which many people have been eagerly waiting for the responses for a long time!

Here are the responses to them:

Q: “If I were Education minister for the day I would ensure that all school and colleges have good resources for Careers Education as there is an unfair distribution of some schools having lots of resources for Careers and others that have hardly any. How would you tackle this?”

Gove: In 15 years’ time, you might want to have a career in a sector which doesn’t exist now so the most important careers advice you can receive is to cultivate those habits which can speak in any workplace. Qualities such as being able to work collaboratively in a team, being able to defer gratification, to be able to display the grit needed to cope with adversaries so I think that the Careers advice that you and others should be receiving are exemplars of teacher who can act as mentors so you can grow up as young people and be whatever you want to be.

Q: “If I were Education Minister, I would back social enterprises like InspirEngage International who help build life skills and social action into the curriculum. Do you have any plans to integrate this into the curriculum?” 

Gove: What I am discovering this afternoon about the work of InspirEngage,  I do think that when we teach Citizenship which is in the national curriculum, we should think not just about a dry and dusty passing on of knowledge about  how Parliament works or executive legislatures and so on.

We should encourage active citizenship and I have been impressed by the number of Social Enterprises who are helping young people to play a bigger role in the community and across the country. I think it’s a wholly good thing and one of the things I’ve been discussing with head teachers is, not necessarily how to put something into the curriculum but how we can make it easier to help young people and help schools in playing a part in active citizenship in schools of the kind that InspirEngage exemplifies.

Q: “If I were Education minister I would involve the views of teachers into my decisions about Education. Mr Gove what would you do to strengthen the bond between teachers and the government in order to make teachers feel more invested in what they’re doing?”

Gove: I think we need to have teachers playing a bigger role at every level to help drive improvement in the education system. The principle behind the academy programme is that the people who should be running schools are heads. The principle behind some of the changes that we have made to the curriculum is that people who decide on teaching methods should be individual teachers and the principle behind teaching schools is that teacher training and professional development is something that teachers can do together, collaboratively – not something that is imposed on them. The fact that the person who is in charge of teacher training and all the advisors are teachers reflects to others the fact that we want to have this conversation. The other thing is that now thanks to the development of social media, the voices of teachers come bubbling up on blogs and on the Twittersphere  so that we can hear and appreciate good arguments from engaged teachers on how practices can be improved and are shaping the Education debate far more powerfully than any politician.

Q: ‘If I were Education Minister I would ensure that there are schools suited to ability so that high achievers are not hindered and under achievers have better means to achieve their goals”

Gove: That’s a great statement, I agree.

Q: “If I were an Education Minister I would bring back January modules to take less stress off students. Would you reconsider your position?”

Gove: Getting rid of January retakes in essence ensures that we spend less time on preparation on exam techniques and more time on deep learning. One of the problems that we have with some A levels, particularly Maths and Physics is that there are still in inadequate preparation for university and I think one of the beneficial changes that the A level reform will bring is more engagement from universities in what’s taught and they’ll be better preparation as there will be more teaching funds.

The young people asked Mr Gove some very good questions which showed their deep understanding to what was going around them in Education.  At the end, we also presented to Gove all the #GoveYouthView tweets and views of the young people so that he good have a good read of your views and what you would do if you were Education Minister for the day!

InspirEngage had a great time meeting some amazing young people and here’s what one person, Tom aged 15, had to say about the bootcamp.

“I enjoyed being able to get the opinions of other people my age across and actually being able to do something with those opinions- especially to  Mr. Gove. The Youth have opinions but they simply aren’t heard enough. I gained confidence and public speaking skills and from what I’ve seen of the work of InspirEngage, I think that they are absolutely brilliant “

As a social Enterprise we are thoroughly passionate about developing life skills of people through innovative, interactive ways to make people confident, work ready and enterprising! We really enjoyed the Education Festival 2013 and cannot  wait to come again next year! If you would like to know more about us then please follow us on Twitter @inspirengage and ‘Like’ us on Facebook for more details and services that we offer!






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