School leaders were jumping with joy this week with the publication of the DFE White Paper, dubbed Nadhim’s WOKE Paper by his supporters. It’s a masterful piece of work.
Nadhim Zahawi has set out a set of proposals for creating Well-Organised Knowledge Environments across the country , bringing “Schools” bang up to date with the latest thinking. Hailed as yet another triumph for Boris Johnson’s government, hot on the heels of all his Covid-management and post-Brexit successes, the radical proposals are set to really properly raise the bar of educational standards, at long last. Here’s a flavour of what we can expect:
- Teachers will be required to teach actual proper knowledge, really properly including hard sums and everything.
- Schools will have lessons, breaktime and lunchtime and some assemblies and other stuff, taking up the whole day.
- There’s a guarantee to provide classrooms where children will go to sit down at tables, on chairs with some kind of board for teachers to write on.
- All children will have something to write with and something to write on – no exceptions.
- Children will read books and have stories read to them. Special ‘carpet areas’ will be set up for younger children for this purpose.
- Teachers will be required to explain things really properly, to ask plenty of questions and then get students to do some writing or take some tests to see if they have understood any of it.
When asked how these visionary Well Organised Knowledge Environments would differ from existing schools, Zahawi suggested a few key factors.
We’ll be a lot more ambitious. Way more than half of students will be in the top half and we’ll exceed the previous low ambition of only having 10% of students in the top 10%. We’ll be taking lessons from our wonderful Grammar school sector, borrowing some of their DNA. This means that all schools will be able to choose only the best students in the area – leaving the other kids to… to go … to go.. well,,, somewhere else… something something mumble mumble… and we’ll have a few Privately Owned Study Hub WOKEs up North, because well.. aren’t we all suckers for a bit of POSH? .
When asked about funding for this great vision, Zahawi was quick to celebrate that school funding levels are now all the way back to the levels they were in 2010. This inspiring stance, opens the door to all schools to set targets aspiring to reach the standards they were at 12 years ago – a lofty aim, as everyone will agree.
So, congratulations Nadhim. You’ve made your mark. Any talk of a war on WOKE will now be seen as the low Bigotry of soft expectations it really is. And we should all be grateful for that.