Last week Nicky Morgan demonstrated that she couldn’t control the NASUWT teacher’s conference, let alone a classroom. During the annual conference the Education Secretary was heckled and told to get off the stage whilst outlining her plans to turn all schools into academies by 2020!
Ms Morgan was initially applauded when she took to the stage in Birmingham, however parts of her speech were met with frosty responses from delegates. When Ms Morgan claimed that the government “didn’t always get things right” there was laughter and clapping from the crowd. The Education Secretary also claimed that she would do more to protect teachers from online harassment, however she was unable to protect herself from the heckling crowd and was told by one delegate to “get off”.
Nicky Morgan’s speech told teachers that they could either step up to the challenge of improving education or spend the next four years battling the government. Ms Morgan accused the NASUWT and other teaching unions of peddling too much negativity towards the profession and claimed if she heard some of the language coming out of the unions she would be put off the profession. “I recently visited the NASUWT website and found that the last 20 press releases that the NASUWT has issued only two said something positive.”
She also claimed there was no reverse gear for the government’s plan to make every school convert to academy status by 2020. The scheme has been met with resistance from teachers unions and opposition parties, but Ms Morgan believes that the plans will improve the education system in England. The Education Secretary stated that pushing schools to become academies allowed the children’s education to be put into the hands of the teachers, “it isn’t for me, officials in Whitehall or Ofsted to decide how best to teach or run schools. It’s the teachers who know better than anyone, what works in the classroom.” The Education Secretary did however admit there are still concerns about red tape and workload that need to be addressed in order to make the profession more attractive.
Lucy Powell, the shadow Education Secretary, said that Ms Morgan’s speech displayed “how out of touch she is with what’s going on in education today.” She also added that Ms Morgan would be foolish to ignore the comments made by the teachers at the conference, due to parents being just as angry about her costly, unnecessary reorganisation of our schools.”
Ms Powell and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn believe that the reorganisation of the schools has nothing to do with raising standards and everything to do with ideology. Ms Powell stated that “yet again today, Nicky Morgan has failed to provide a single compelling argument as to why these changes are necessary” and that this was a step towards ‘asset stripping’ and privatisation.
What is your opinion on this? Is Nicky Morgan correct with pushing the reforms forward? Allowing teachers to make the decision seems like a fantastic idea but does every school really need this? NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates urged the Education Secretary to abandon imposing the academies system on all schools. “If you want education excellence everywhere, then recognise outstanding community schools, outstanding foundation schools and outstanding voluntary aided schools which proves academies do not have the monopoly on excellence.” But what do you think? Have your say here…