The Education Secretary Mr Gove has said recently that research in Hong Kong, Singapore and other East Asian nations showed that expectations of mathematical knowledge and scientific knowledge were “at every stage” more demanding than in Britain.
“In order to reach those levels of achievement a higher level of effort is expected on behalf of students, parents and teachers,” he said.
“School days are longer, school holidays are shorter. The expectation is that to succeed, hard work is at the heart of everything.”
Polly Toynbee in a piece for today’ edition of The Guardian reminds Mr. Gove that he that it’s not just expectations that are different.
Gove, calling for payment by results, cited Singapore’s high-achieving school system, “where expectations are higher”. What he didn’t say is that Singapore, like top performer Finland, is one of the most equal of developed nations. As his government drives up inequality, his schools face an ever tougher task compensating for the society they inhabit.