The decline of education journalism is worse than I thought.  Last week’s TES led with an important story about how Michael Gove is taking money from schools’ technology budgets to finance his free schools.  And not a single national paper picked it up.


A clearer case of a politician depriving hard-up schools of vital learning tools in order to finance a pet scheme it would be harder to imagine.

Time was when national newspaper education correspondents would watch the TES like a hawk, and would have rushed that story into print as soon as they saw it. 

The TES – which I was less than fair to last time I wrote about this – went through a bad patch when it was first sold by Rupert Murdoch, and it ceased to be the case than anyone who wanted to be taken seriously in education had to read it.  Judging by my experience in the last two days, big newsagents including W.H. Smith stopped stocking it.

But it’s getting its edge back.  That story – as news editor Ed Dorrell pointed out to me over a pint last Friday – did not come wrapped in pink ribbon. The paper got it because its reporters kept their ears to the ground.

What’s changed is that national papers have stopped caring. The Independent has stopped publishing its education supplement. The Guardian’s education pages have stopped trying to keep up with what’s going on; they look as though lots of people have sent in articles, and the paper has printed them. The Guardian has fewer education stories than the Mail.

Education - real education, that is, not training in the skills required for work - is in greater danger than it's been in my lifetime.  Education journalists, who a decade ago would have been sounding the alarm, don't have access to their platforms any more.