Teachers welcome Michael Gove’s departure

The NUT described Michael Gove as “a demented Dalek on speed who wants to exterminate anything good in education”, but what legacy does this radical reformer leave? 

Over the last four years Michael Gove‘s reforms dominated the education debate and they were often influenced by his own upbringing, prejudices and passions, the Telegraph reports. Many of the changes he made were controversial and his confrontational approach alienated part of the education establishment, who he described as ‘the Blob’.

He leaves a significant legacy including:

  • the introduction of performance-related pay for teachers
  • almost 60% of secondary schools are now academies and there are more than 300 free schools open or approved
  • the qualifications system in England is now more traditional and exam-based
  • the curriculum has been rewritten, with an emphasis on greater academic rigour
  • school league tables no longer place total reliance on five ‘good’ GCSEs.

Mr. Gove’s confrontational approach fuelled teaching unions’ resistance to his reforms and their leaders welcomed his departure. NUT’s Christine Blower said he had “clearly lost the support of the profession and parents for justifiable reasons” and that: “His vision for education is simply wrong. His pursuit of the unnecessary and often unwanted free schools and academies programme, the use of unqualified teachers, the failure to address the school place crisis and endless ill-thought out reforms to examinations and the curriculum has been his hallmark in office.”

ATL’s Mary Bousted said: “Time after time he has chased newspaper headlines rather than engage with teachers. The dismantling of the structures which support schools, the antagonism which he displayed to the teaching profession and the increasing evidence of chaos in the bodies he established has led Cameron to one conclusion – Gove is more of a liability than an asset.”

Michael Gove now takes over the less senior role of Government Chief Whip. Although Downing Street denied that this is a demotion, his salary has been cut from over £135,000 a year to just under £98,740. Talking about his new job, he joked: “I’m happy to be in this role. Demotion, emotion, promotion, locomotion, I don’t know how you would describe this move, though move it is, all I would say is that it’s a privilege to serve.”

What do you think of Michael Gove’s departure as Education Secretary? Share your views with the Eteach community!

5 thoughts on “Teachers welcome Michael Gove’s departure

  1. Gove upset parents by bringing in fines for term-time holiday takers. So Cameron distances himself in the election run-up. This stance was one of the few that most teachers support.

    If Gove had called the Free Schools ‘Research Schools’ perhaps parents would have been in a better position to consider the risks in choosing to send their children to these schools.

    Gove clearly did not give a damn about teachers and I don’t believe Cameron does either. But an election looms …

  2. I do not know many professions that work as hard and as long as teachers. It is a comment that I have heard too from those ‘coming in from industry’. What galls me is that someone who has put up the backs of this profession was paid that sum and in ‘demotion’ still gets paid infinitely more than the workers who tried to execute his ludicrous plans.

  3. Once again we have that odious sector of teaching, ‘ progressive education’, whereby an abject educational legacy is all we have so far underpinned by an unrealistic romanticised view of children, a highly damaging belief. When such an educational doctrine is based on such premises as: child centred education is a must, knowledge is not a central part of education, strict discipline and moral education are seen as oppressive and socio-economic dictates success; then it is no wonder that the state school system which is an example of progressive education being an orthodoxy within and is as close as one can get to the root cause of huge educational failure in Britain.

  4. Education has been failing for at least 30 years. A large number of current teachers are a product of this failed system, hell bent on producing a generation of young people totally incapable of being productive members of society. It’s hardly surprising employers constantly bemoan the poor quality of school leavers and graduates. A return to more traditional methods and a linear examination system is long overdue. Teachers were against Give because he simply exposed a system that doesn’t work and a profession bogged down by trendy leftie views that have destroyed the education system in this country.

  5. I am surprised at the level of support that Michael Gove is receiving, given the abuse he tends to attract. Certainly the NUT has discredited itself by using playground language to abuse Gove (“demented Dalek on speed”) and, like all unions, by failing to address the problems in teaching, preferring to criticise any changes that are proposed.

    Some of the changes introduced under his watch should be welcomed. I was delighted to see the ending of coursework in subjects where it has no place; such a system, in my experience, encourages cheating by pupils, parents and teachers. I was also pleased to see the ending of the A*-C measure for assessing schools. As for pay and pensions I guess teachers have to bite the same bullet like most employees in the UK, as the government is spending more money than it takes in taxes, and needs to reduce this deficit. Regarding academies and free schools I always felt that schools wanted more freedom from government and LEA control and not less, together with greater involvement from parents; so the response to them will necessarily be mixed. As for banning students to take holidays in term time, except in exceptional circumstances, this seems like common sense. Also anything which can be done to change the one size fits all aproach to lesson plans is to be welcomed. Personally, I like weekly written tests of students’ work but my school thinks I rather overdo “reinforcement”. One of the issues that I feel strongly about is the pace of change in syllabi, which always seems to be too fast. I think it will take time to assess Gove’s performance as Education Secretary but I don’t think that a new face will change the direction of policy overmuch.

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