So, what next for British education now that voters have spoken?
At 5 or 6:00am this morning, many teachers would have woken to hear that early indications of a ‘Leave’ vote was likely. This may or may not have disappointed you.
The referendum revealed a great divide in Britain. According to YouGov polling, the overwhelming majority of university graduates — 70 per cent — were for Remain. But among those with nothing above some GCSEs, a similarly big majority — 68 per cent — were for Leave. (Spectator)
Therefore, what does having an education say about our voting preferences?
Image: The Telegraph
Cameron, then Morgan?
After confirmation to ‘Leave the EU’, we then heard David Cameron tend his resignation at 9:00am to say that he would step down from leader of the Conservative Party. The time-frame for this to be completed is before their political conference in October 2016.
The likelihood of Boris Johnson (favourite) or ex-Secretary of State Michael Gove leading the Conservative Party is odds-on, but after a change at the helm, surely the position for the Education Minister Nicky Morgan (and other cabinet members) will be questioned as a new leader establishes their own team.
This image captured of Morgan is poignant.
Image: The Telegraph
EU Impact on Education:
Leaving the EU will have an impact on students in the UK and across Europe. What that may entail is yet to be discovered by all of us, so I am writing here to speculate. Whatever our views, the Secretary of State – whoever it will be – by the end of the year has the following challenges to address:
- To grow UK education and economy to create jobs for our students; particularly literacy and numeracy.
- To encourage home-grown enterprise and attract top students to the UK; those living outside the British Isles including Ireland and now, potentially Scotland.
- To enable cutting-edge study and bursaries so that academics continue to lead the forefront of evidence-based research.
- Attract the world’s most talented teachers to the UK and raise the status of education and achievement.
- To address the immediate recruitment and retention crisis; including fair-funding so that schools are not damaged by a likely recession.
Image: The Telegraph
According to Jonathan Wolff, professor of philosophy at University College London:
“What would happen if the UK left the EU? The doomsday prediction is that all [education between EU states] would disappear. It would be the end of mass year-abroad education. EU students would stop coming to the UK, and we would see large-scale course cancellations, redundancies and perhaps the closure of some universities.” (The Guardian)
Nicky Morgan is not putting her name into the ring for leadership of the Conservative party.” (Schools Week)
Does the reader believe she won’t after a prominent position in the cabinet?
What next for Nicky Morgan?
I am not confident that Nicky Morgan will survive a cabinet re-shuffle, never-mind put herself forward for Conservative leadership. The EU referendum has been a distraction, but once the dust settles, what next for education?
According to Laura Mcinerney‘s research of longest-serving Education Secretaries, the average length of service is 851 days. Nicky Morgan was appointed on 15th July 2014 after Michael Gove was demoted to chief whip. At the time of writing, Morgan has been in her position for 710 days (1 year, 11 months, 1 week and 3 days to be exact).
We are reaching the two-year itch of her tenancy as Secretary of State and the recent reforms implemented by Gove are still embedding; the White Paper (March 2016) and forced academisation are not yet forgotten by teachers up and down the country. With the ‘National Union of Teachers walking out on Tuesday 5 July, after 91% of those who voted backed strike action‘, how long does Morgan have left before – similar to Gove – the Tory leadership would rather see a new face on the block to quell teacher dissent?
“… the last 20 press releases, only 3 were positive. Wouldn’t it be more helpful if [teachers] were more positive!” says Morgan. (NASWUT conference)
Time to re-build?
It must be time for Morgan to build bridges with unions and teachers?
Media sources say Morgan is a potential (outside) contender for party leadership. My bets are, either way, she will be not be in her current position come October 2016.
As for the UK, what happens next is unknown to everyone. It would take a minimum of two years for the UK to leave the EU. Before this, we face new political leadership across the country, and possibly another Scottish referendum.
Pushed out by policy:
What I am confident of, is that the potential leadership in education will be questioned. With new leadership will be a need for a cabinet re-shuffle. How secure is Morgan’s position? Either way and regardless of our views, what we have to do is continue to teach our students about British and European politics, as well as the importance of casting one’s vote from an informed position.
“Every election is divisive, but none has pitted rich against poor like this one.” (Spectator)
I just wonder what the impact will be on our students and schools for the foreseeable and long-term future. We already know funding is cut and with a weaker pound (sterling £1), the financial state of the land will worry many head teachers.
Politicians will come and go, but teachers will always be here for the kids, as long as we are not pushed out by policy. It’s just a shame to see we are so divided as a nation, in terms of what we want for ourselves that cuts far deeper …