Grow Up @toryeducation!
@toryeducation have been in the news rather a lot lately, at least the news that I read (ie:Twitter). The bombastic and bamboozling ‘twitter feed’ that comes straight from the heart of the DfE, is somewhat controversial, to say the least. To say that the people behind this speak their minds, and tackle controversy and argument head-on may be just a slight understatement.
But I’m not convinced it was always thus…
I have ‘followed’ this account for some time, and watched them mundanely churning out the latest ‘news’ re Conservative Party education reform and policy. I agreed with some of it, some of it I didn’t. Nothing exciting; nothing controversial (in the reporting). Just ‘stuff’.
But something has changed, I know not what, but “something” is different. The tone of this account has become more argumentative, as if they have suddenly found a voice. A teenager rather than an obedient child. They want to argue. They want to stand up and be counted. Goddamit..they are gonna be heard! They are on the defensive AND the offensive, too! Policy qualms? Fists raised “I’ll ‘av you-outside!” Last week, they even went so far as to insinuate that national treasure, Michael Rosen, was a member of some Socialist group! What an insult! They have reached the age where they are right (sic) about everything. They’ve got an ‘attitude’. They have, in fact, become the archetypal teenager.
The problem with having an ‘attitude’, as many (ex) teenagers will tell you, is that it gets you excluded. You may find yourself excluded from the local youth club, maybe from a particular circle of friends. It may even get you excluded from school. In @toryeducation ‘s case, it has led to them being viewed as DfE-led troublemakers and has got them (more or less) excluded from Twitter, The other night, for example, @toryeducation ‘s lone voice could be heard echoing around the corridors of the DfE; (okay: Twitter) “We have such a bad effect on Twitter, maybe we should all leave!” *bedroom door slamming* In response, at least one voice that I ‘heard’ shouted “Yes please”!
Which brings me to the elephant in the room…
Who (exactly) is running this account?
Now, this is actually quite a serious point. It would/will be a HUGE faux pas if it were/is proven that the DfE are behind this account. Outwardly, Twitter can appear featherweight, fluffy and futile, but a single tweet can do a great deal of damage to one’s reputation, as others have, and will continue to discover. The current Twitter feed for this account is certainly more ‘iron fist’ than ‘kid gloves’, which is a little odd for a government department that should be trying to nurture public relations. Entire governments have been brought to their knees for lesser crimes than implying membership of a prominent Socialist group. McArthyism? Oh no, not that again!
Later last week The Observer (@tobyhelm) released an article claiming that the controversial feed was going to be brought into line. Michael Gove was not keen on the way the account was shaping up and would be imposing restrictions. The DfE employees responsible for running the account would, seemingly have very sore knuckles and very short wings. In fact, they were in a whole heap of trouble with big daddy Gove who may well be grounding them and stopping their pocket money, too. THEN…bang on cue , the mysterious shadowy goths running the account swooped in and began to deny the above through a series of tweets along the lines of:
“Sorry to disappoint you all but-the Observer (@tobyhelm) is officially publishing fantasy stories”
They were flying high, after all..”Nothing’s changing” and “Don’t believe everything you read” they proclaimed, and flounced off to the local (cyber) pub.
In short: they completely denied having anything, whatsoever, to do with the DfE…Now I can’t elaborate on the truthfulness of this, or not. Time, as ever, will tell.
Meanwhile, in a parallel universe..a whole new curriculum, style of teaching, exam system, way of working, way of marking and subject matter is creaking through the tubes and pipes of the great government policy making factory. It is being pressed into online and ‘hard’ documents for the perusal of teachers, and other interested parties, countrywide. The Ebaccs are all but buried and GCSEs are undergoing major reforms, in their image. Some are agonising over the curriculum and what’s included and what’s been left out. Some are agonising over the final exams, themselves. The education of the next generation is being widely debated and people who care deeply about this are getting themselves informed.
Let’s be thankful for that. It’s a jolly good thing we, as a nation, are not easily distracted by trivia and nonsense, that’s all I can say. We may be in danger of taking our eye off what’s really happening around here.
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