Geoff Barton, headteacher and writer, spoke at the Stephen Perse Foundation conference, What Is Learning For, this week on a panel which I chaired. I videod his contribution, which you can see below. Barton was a leading figure in the fight against the English Baccalaureate exams Michael Gove tried to foist upon a reluctant profession this year, but has now backtracked on. He was characterised by an anonymous political critic on the Local Schools Network website as an extremist but when you hear him speak you realise that this is utter nonsense; I got the sense he is a real “middle-of-the-road”, sensible teacher. He argues for a curriculum which does contain “facts” as E.D.Hirsch, Michael Gove’s favourite educationalist, argues for; but he also wants a curriculum which is broad and balanced, where every child can learn a musical instrument, or work as a team. I thought his passionate plea for children to experience and learn about other cultures was very interesting because he speaks as a teacher who works in Suffolk, a largely white county which he jokingly refers to as “Suffolkating”. Unlike Gove who wants to ram British History down children’s throats with his new History Curriculum, Barton sees the importance of children learning about other cultures as a vital part of their education. Barton is particularly scathing about Gove’s new grammar tests, which appear to be rather nonsensical and abstract.