Dear Mr Gove by Jess Green

I’ll be honest, it takes quite a lot for me to sympathise with teachers, mainly because so many of them do seem so quick to complain about how hard they work, yet have only ever worked in teaching so have little to compare their experience with. However, spoken word poet, Jess Green strikes a pretty raw nerve in her poem Drear Mr Gove, and with my own concerns about proposed education reforms, I understand why.

Dear Mr Gove by Jess Green

According to an article in The Independent Jess Green studied creative writing at Liverpool John Moore’s University before working as a freelance poet, leading poetry workshops and working as a librarian. The article goes on to explain that she’s also in the process of writing a full length comic play about education to be staged at this year’s Edinburgh Festival entitled Burning Books, which she admits is “quite left-wing” and that she is also due to perform at Latitude festival later this year.

What I enjoy about this impassioned piece of poetry is that it exists, and is being celebrated. Teachers are relating to it, and taking comfort in it, and it’s raising awareness outside of the education sector about a plight and frustration. It’s poetic politics, and it wouldn’t be reaching the audience numbers that it is currently reaching were it not 1. very good or 2. creative. What concerns me, however, is who Jess’ audience might be in ten, or fifteen years time when the number of creative, critically thinking “quite left-wing” individuals has severely diminished due to Mr Gove’s proposed absence of arts subjects in mainstream education. It concerns me that the Jess Greens of this world might not go to University to study creative writing, and might not graduate to go on to pursue a career working as a freelance poet, leading poetry workshops, and working in schools empowering young people with the art of the spoken word. I’m concerned – we all should be.

For any matters relating to Dear Mr Gove’s role as Secretary of State for Education, please contact him at the Department for Education directly:

Write to: DfE, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT
Tel: 0370 000 2288

I’ve blogged / ranted on and around this subject before – Painting a sobering picture – what does the future hold for art education, art schools, and artists in the UK? And a trip to London Art Fair… and here – All about the rich kids…

Reflecting upon this, I find myself wondering if I would be motivated to blog / rant / bring people’s attentions to perceived wrongs / areas of concerns / injustices / areas of brilliance / causes for celebration if I hadn’t had the creative, first class, comprehensive school education that taught me to think, to critique, and to believe that I have an opinion that’s worth voicing!? Probably not. Concerning, isn’t it!?


Check out more of Jess Green’s work here