Educating Yorkshire: TV teacher’s education standards call

EDUCATION PLEA: Thornhill Academy deputy head Micheal Steer, with Beth, Sheridan and Max.
EDUCATION PLEA: Thornhill Academy deputy head Micheal Steer, with Beth, Sheridan and Max.
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The deputy headteacher of Educating Yorkshire’s Thornhill Community Academy has written an open letter to the Government calling for much-needed reform of education standards.

Michael Steer – one of the stand-out stars of the TV show, which followed life at the Dewsbury school – published a letter to education secretary Michael Gove in this week’s Big Issue magazine.

He called for education standards in Britain to be placed at the forefront of reform and into the hands of experts, rather than in the political playing field.

Mr Steer wrote: “Michael Gove is very vocal about the need for improvement, and in actuality, everyone working in education would agree with him but that won’t happen with a series of, seemingly, knee-jerk policy changes and a culture of blame and finger pointing. Whilst education standards remain a political weapon any improvements will always happen on a political timescale rather than an educational one. If there is a serious desire to have a ‘world class’ education system in this country, then why not remove it from the political arena? Hand it over to the experts and the academics who have dedicated their lives to the study of education and learning, to the thousands of dedicated staff who are committed to securing the best possible outcomes for young people. Let’s be radical Mr Gove, try working with us instead of against us, support us instead of denigrating what we do, don’t try and compare us directly against each other when it is clearly a meaningless exercise.

“Sit down with us, ask our opinions, see if we can come up with a shared vision and think of creative, yet practical ways to implement it. You may be surprised with what the Enemies of Promise are capable of.”

Educating Yorkshire was a major TV hit when it aired earlier this year on Channel Four. The show became an instant national favourite – propelling staff and students into the limelight.

While Thornhill Academy, which was also the setting for a Christmas special, will not be hosting the programme for a second time, the stars of the show are not yet set to disappear from our screens.


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