Education Secretary calls striking unions ‘the enemies of promise’

Thousands of schools were closed on Tuesday as members of the two biggest teaching unions escalated their protest against Government reforms including performance related pay. On the same day Michael Gove praised teachers, but accused their unions of putting ideology over pupils’ interests.

At least 2,500 state schools across a large part of northern and central England were shut as members of the NUT and NASUWT took part in the latest wave of regional strikes, the Telegraph reports.

Tuesday’s action affected schools in 49 local authorities and the NUT’s Christine Blower described it as a ‘huge success’. “There can be no doubt left about the feeling of anger towards this government’s treatment of the teaching profession,” she said. “Strike action is never a step that teachers take lightly and we are very aware and concerned about the inconvenience it causes parents. Unfortunately we are faced with a coalition government that is refusing to listen to the reasonable demands of the profession.”

As many teachers gathered for marches and rallies, Michael Gove thanked the profession for transforming schools, but accused teaching unions of standing in the way of progress in his speech to the Conservative party conference. “…there is one group of people who I can’t thank. They’re the people who are standing in the way of progress. They’re the people who are the enemies of promise.”

A further regional strike is planned for the 17th October, with plans for a national one-day walkout before Christmas.

What do you think of Michael Gove’s comments? Share your views with us!

11 thoughts on “Education Secretary calls striking unions ‘the enemies of promise’

  1. Gove is a walking catastrophe. He changes policy whimsically without thinking about the impact it will have on kids or the profession. The only “enemy of promise” here is him. Gove must go.

  2. I think Mr Gove mistakes teachers for naive pushovers! By simply thanking us for our ‘hardwork’ (patronising) he thinks this will soothe the frustration and anger that is currently manifesting among us PROFESSIONALS. This will not take away from the sheer ignorance being demonstrated by the coalition towards our profession, they are simply targeting those who work hard with a genuine love and passion for their role.
    Our profession is being devalued in terms of recognition despite the extra hours we put in, which please note Me Gove we do out of our commitment , if we have extended school hours how could we fit any thing in?!!! Also , when added up, the majority of us would be paid well under the minimum wage , why can’t you see it is not the unions stepping in the way of progress, we all want to see progress, that is after all out ultimate goal! We are simply angry at you ignorance of recognition for our achievements and hard work we deserved to be paid in honour of our hard work and looked after in our later years…!

  3. A new tactic Mr Gove? Trying to divide, in order to conquer. I neither respect you enough, nor have a big enough ego to fall prey to this devious new tact.

  4. How can Mr Gove justify the comment that teacher and union actions are standing in the way of progress? He needs to focus on what is best for our children and not on scoring cheap political points in an attempt to further his own career. Teachers and unions embrace change that helps to enrich the lives of our children and if Mr Gove was prepared to actually talk to the profession then he might get somewhere.

  5. I hope the fact that many teachers did strike on Tuesday sends a message to the secretary of state. I live in hope that he will amend his policies but I fear that he is just not ready to listen. He is putting ideology before the interests of educating our children.

  6. The Secretary of State has made many decisions that support and raise expectations and standards. But, the late announcement regarding changes to how early entry strategies and results count in school figures is hugely damaging. This decision makes schools choose between the best interest of pupils and the interest of the institution. At times these conflict, particularly as no time has been given to amend strategies and plan for current KS4 pupils. For this decision alone the Secretary if State should be asked to stand down as thus will reduce life chances for the most vulnerable pupils.

  7. Gove is the biggest threat to education in the UK in the last 30 years. he refuses to meet the unions to even talk and will not discuss any of his ridiculous reforms.
    The biggest resource and asset of any school is it’s staff. His ‘reforms’ are seriously damaging all morale and good will of teachers nation wide. His ‘ideology’ has no logic, merely malice towards the teaching profession. it is a vindictive ‘witch hunt’ on hard working teachers, who in most other countries are actually respected. His refusal to participate in any form of negotiation just proves his ignorance and arrogance.

  8. Gove places dogma above the interests of our children. He flouts the law, refuses to engage in meaningful discussion with the profession. His continual denigration of teachers may play well to the Daily Mail groupies but whilre he tries to prove what a hardcase he is our state education systen is systematically destroyed.

  9. I think Michael Gove is right. Many of the teaching unions are ideologically driven and are committed to opposing everything this coalition government does. This government has been right in trying to reform many aspects of school and college education which, due to the previous government, has deteriorated considerably. (I say this as a former teacher): Most comprehensive schools are so awful it is no wonder rich people send their kids to private schools. Whilst there are lots of good teachers in comprehensive schools, there are also lots of awful ones too (badly trained, unprofessional, mediocre), and many schools are badly managed by head-teachers who have no idea about education. I hope the government make many more far reaching changes and push even harder to change the culture of the education profession in this country.

  10. I fail to see how Micheal Gove can accuse unions of putting ideology over pupils’ interests when he is constantly changing exams and the curricilum and demoralising teachers to push through his personal agenda without consulting anyone who knows anything about education. He seems to think that we should be offering a babysitting service as well as educating academically gifted children, and that those teachers who can jump successfully through the ever-moving hoops should be rewarded financially at the expense of their hard working colleagues who are more interested in educating children than collecting the right bits of paper to “prove” they are doing their job. I notice that the Government are “having a go” at NHS workers now to take the spotlight off education.

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