Education Secretary Michael Gove cited PR-comissioned opinion polls when he claimed that teenagers were ignorant of important historic events, a Freedom of Information request reveals.
Retired teacher Janet Downs sent the request to the Department of Education, asking for evidence to support the claims made by the Secretary. After three weeks the department replied that it could not provide any such evidence, as the poll was ‘commissioned and conducted by UKTV GOLD’, the Guardian writes today.
Downs did not let the Department off the hook and asked about other polls, as mr Gove claimed that ‘survey after survey’ was the foundation for his outburst. After four weeks she received an answer detailing the other surveys used by mr Gove, and they did not make his case any stronger.
The reply included a poll commissioned by Premier Inn, which used its research to suggest historical ignorance was something that “can be rectified by visiting all the fantastic landmarks and places of interest the UK has to offer”, and an article in the London Mums magazine.
None of the pieces included links to the original research, and none of the articles cited stated whether the research was commissioned by professional polling companies, or met the standards of the British Polling Council.
If mr Gove and his department wants kids to take education more seriously, they should start by taking facts more seriously themselves. Mr Gove has failed to use any credible sources for his essay on historical ignorance and recieves an F for Failure. Setting a good example is usually a good tactic, mr Gove.