Gove adviser: Genetics claim

In a controversial thesis, special adviser to Michael Gove, Dominic Cummings has argued that an individual child's performance is primarily based on genetics and a child's IQ, rather than the quality of teaching.

Lord Baker dismisses 'unhelpful' genetics teaching claim

by - Political Correspondent
Lord Baker pictured in 2010. Credit: Empics

The former Education Secretary Lord Baker has waded into the row over a Tory special adviser's comments on the influence of genetics on school performance.

In a leaked memo, Dominic Cummings, who is stepping down as special adviser to the Education Secretary Michael Gove, suggested 70% of a child's abilities might be down to genetics.

He was quoting research from the behavioural geneticist, Professor Robert Plomin.

Lord Baker told ITV News: "I don't think that's accurate or helpful. If it's all genetics, why bother to have schools?"

He was speaking ahead of the launch of a new type of secondary school - a "career college" - which is backed by his educational charity, the Edge Foundation.

Teachers and '3rd rate' education slated by Gove adviser

One of the most influential advisers to the education secretary Michael Gove has argued in a 250-page paper that "real talent" is rare among the nation's teachers.

While some children will always be blessed by a brilliant teacher, by definition that is not a scaleable solution to our problems: real talent is rare and mediocrity is ubiquitous.

– Special adviser to Michael Gove Dominic Cummings

In the controversial paper, he also criticises what he describes as 'third-rate higher education institutions".

In many third-rate higher education institutions there is a large amount of 'social science' work in economics, anthropology, sociology, literary theory and so on of questionable value both from an intellectual perspective and from the perspective of students, jobs prospects.

– Dominic Cummings

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Gove adviser: Social mobility talks 'ignore genetics'

In a controversial thesis, special adviser to Michael Gove, Dominic Cummings has argued that an individual child's performance is primarily based on genetics and a child's IQ, rather than the quality of teaching.

Dominic Cummings is special adviser to Education secretary Michael Gove. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/Press Association Images

In it he said: "There is strong resistance across the political spectrum to accepting scientific evidence on genetics. Most of those that now dominate discussions on issues such as social mobility entirely ignore genetics and therefore their arguments are at best misleading and often worthless."

According to an article in The Guardian, he claims research shows that as much as 70 per cent of a child's performance is genetically derived. The paper was written just weeks before he is due to step down from his post.