220px-NickyH&SJan10

1. She is the first child of the ’70s to take the role. Born on 1st October 1972, Morgan is 8 years younger than the average age of entry to the Education Secretary circuit which runs at 49.

2. Morgan was born in Kingston-Upon-Thames, making her the 10th Edu Sec to be born in a London Borough. (That’s about a third of them).

3. So far, all Education Secretaries born after 1952 attended private school. Morgan is no different. She attended Surbiton High School an independent, Anglican school for girls aged 4-18.

4. At university, Morgan studied Jurisprudence. She is the fifth Conservative Edu Sec to do so, trailing Mark Carlisle, Keith Joseph, Ken Baker and Ken Clarke.

5. In another predictable twist, Morgan studied at Oxford. However, she is the first to come from St. Hugh’s College, so at least that’s novel. (You laugh, but more Edu Secs studied at Christ Church than comprehensives).

6. Her full name is Nicola Ann Morgan. She is the first female Edu Sec to be officially known by a shortened version of her first name.

7. Morgan has one child. The average for an Edu Sec is now 1.76. The most common number is still zero.

8. Though many Edu Secs studied law, few practised it. Morgan, however, worked as a Corporate Solicitor advising on mergers and acquisitions. This will likely do her some favours when dealing with the thorny legalities of academies.

9. Morgan’s predecessor, Michael Gove, was in power for 1525 days – almost double the average for an Education Secretary. To match this longevity Morgan would need to still be in post on 16th September 2018.

10. Finally, 42 words and phrases rhyme with the word ‘Morgan’. Start drafting your blog headlines now.

 

 

Stanley Baldwin to Butler: “That was a good speech, Rab. But I got damn bored. You went too fast; you need not think everybody has a quick brain” (p.38)

“If ever we were careless with our food, Mary Thring would say: ‘Captain Scott would have given his eyes for that egg.’ We came less and less appreciative of the great explorer” (p.8)

Churchill, on Ghandi: “(it was) alarming and also nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well-known in the East, striding half naked up the steps of the Viceregal Palace” (p.40)

Today is Quintin Hogg’s Birthday so I am reblogging his best quotes. Enjoy!

Quintin Hogg

1. “Incidentally, the difference between those who are admittedly first class in their own field, and those who are not, lies very often precisely in this, that the first are able to give coherent accounts, in lucid terms, of what they are trying to do, and what they believe, whilst the others are not.”

2. ” ‘Doing what comes naturally’ can cover almost any kind of moral obliquity and permissiveness. Indeed, since we are all inhabitants of the natural world, there is practically no sort of action, good or bad, which cannot, in some sense be described as natural.”

3. “Civil society is not a voluntary organization in its nature, and all talk of a social contract or compact which can bind its members is specious and pretentious nonsense”

4. “All religion has its myths. Anti-religion has its myths and its mythmakers no less. Two of the great myths of our time owe their origin to Sigmund Freud & Karl Marx… they have, I believe, done more to undermine Christian philosophy than any two men since the Crucifixion.”

5. “I think that the modern world needs loyalty and respect for authority more than anything else”

6. “Law is, of course, in a sense, no more than a gigantic confidence trick. If enough people did not obey the law it would be totally unenforceable.”

7. “The Labour Party never presented to me a package which I would have been happy accepting for myself”

8. “After four months of office this was promotion with a vengeneace. But strangely enough I was not at all pleased. I had given my heart to the Navy, and I believed I was popular”

9. “At the time, like most educational enthusiasts, I was a dogmatic supporter of the raising of the compulsory school leaving age to 16. I am now, at best, an agnostic, at worst an unbeliver”

10. “I do not wish in any way to reduce the credit of Harold Macmillan in achieving this. But I do not think he could have done it without me.”

11. “Some of the makers of opinion are beyond reach, because they are on the other side. But before an election even these can be pressed into service. They can be made to take notice, to twitter with rage and scream in derision and, if they can be made to twitter and scream at the wrong things, or, rather, from their point of view, at the wrong things, powerful allies can be wheeled into support from sources normally neutral, or, occassionally, even unfriendly.”

220px-Tristram_CroppedTristram Hunt is not an Education Secretary. But he was announced today as the new Shadow Education Secretary.

So: What do we know?

1. Hunt was educated at University College School, an independent school. This is not unusual. 93% of previous Edu Secs were educated at selective schools. 

2. His birthday is 31 May 1974. Until 2004, no Edu Sec had ever had a birthday in May. If Hunt became Edu Sec in 2015, he would now be the third. 

3. Hunt was born in Cambridge. No Edu Sec has ever been born there. Or within 60 miles of there.

4. Hunt studied History at university. This is the most common degree for an Edu Sec to study. *Yawn*.

5. Hunt attended Trinity College, Cambridge. He would not be the first Edu Sec to go there. Geoffrey Lloyd also attended.

6. Hunt will be 40 at the next election. If elected, he would be a whole decade younger than the average Edu Sec taking up post.

7. Hunt has three children. This is the same number as four past Edu Secs, including Ed Balls (who was also 40 when he took up post).

8. He would be the first Edu Sec with the name Tristram.

Sir David Hancock

I have a filter in my RSS reader that picks up obituaries with the word ‘education’ in them. Sounds morbid, I know, but few things are more inspirational than reading about people whose lives were used to improve schools.

Last week Sir David Hancock appeared in the feed. Working as senior civil servant for the DfE during the tenure of Keith Joseph and Kenneth Baker, he is credited with getting the Education Reform Act 1988 onto the statute books (arguably the most important reform since the 1944 Act).

What surprised me as I read the obituary is how influential Hancock clearly was, and yet how few of the Edu Secs biographies so far have really discussed the role of civil servants, at least not in complimentary ways. I’ve started reading Maurice Kogan’s “The Politics of Education” in which he interviews Edward Boyle and Anthony Crosland, and dissects the way education policies are implemented. While short shrift is often shown to civil servants, he quotes a senior official saying:

“I can honestly say that there is not one new policy in my sector of responsibility that I have not either started or substantially contributed to over the last twenty years”

If this is true, does treatment of one’s civil servants matter? Do the Secs who eschew thanking others end up being considered more “great” simply because they have stolen the limelight from others more deserving? Or can their civil service relationships affect whether or not policies are successfully implemented?

It’s another thing to watch for as I continue reading….

So it’s true….. you read Shirley Williams’ autobiography in a blitz only to find out that a newer biography of her is about to be released. Typical.

It came out via Biteback Publishing last week. So that’s another one for the book pile….

Am currently pondering starting Michael Stewart’s “Love & Labour” versus Maurice Kogan’s “The Politics of Education: An interview with Anthony Crosland & Edward Boyle”. Am starting to suspect Stewart will win.

Shirley Williams Biog

Quintin HoggTwice-Education Secretary Quintin Hogg died in 2001, however his words on ‘twitter’ are remarkably apt to today’s political context.

In his 1975 autobiography he wrote the following about his time as leader of the Conservative election strategy:

“Some of the makers of opinion are beyond reach, because they are on the other side. But before an election even these can be pressed into service. They can be made to take notice, to twitter with rage and scream in derision and, if they can be made to twitter and scream at the right things, or, rather from their point of view, at the wrong things, powerful allies can be wheeled into support from sources normally neutral, or, occasionally, even unfriendly

Two things are remarkable about this quote. One: if you put a capital letter on the word ‘twitter’ it would make absolute sense in the context of today’s social media use. And, two: this tool has been an absolute mainstay of Gove’s time in office. He has been unbelievably canny in using soundbites to start a twitter storm of opponents shouting out against things they would otherwise normally be more sensible about, or pushing them to be more extreme in their reactions and hence framing themselves as unreasonable.

It’s a good trick, but it’s an old one. And it’s one worth bearing in mind as we head further into party conference season.

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