Forest of Dean & Wye Valley


In R.Richardson on September 3, 2014 at 8:07 pm

The big news on the education front as this issue of the Clarion goes to press is, of course, the departure of Michael Gove as Education Secretary.  He has held the post for four years, and in that time has introduced many measures unpopular with teachers and others in the world of education.  An article in Tribune earlier this year by Graham Lane (former chair of the LGA’s education committee) declared that Michael Gove  was a disaster, particularly with regard to his promotion of academies and free schools with their lack of accountability. Gove is one of the least popular politicians in Britain today. And this, of course is why he had to go, especially with next year’s election looming.


If Gove wasn’t so obnoxious in every way,  one might almost feel sorry for him. After all, he has promoted good, if questionable, Tory values with zeal, presumably with Cameron’s approval, and has taken the flak for it. Downing Street initially tried to portray his new job as Chief Whip as a sideways move. But his salary will be considerably lower, and he can attend Cabinet meetings only as an observer.

And in case one were in any doubt about this being a definite demotion, Gove’s wife, Sarah, apparently tweeted that the decision was “a shabby day’s work which Cameron will live to regret”.  Sarah Vine (to give her professional name) is a columnist in the Mail and hitherto a close friend of Samantha, Cameron’s wife.  A friendship that, perhaps, will not endure?


The new Education Secretary is Nicky Morgan, pictured in the papers striding out with four other newly appointed women. It’s thought that Ms. Morgan will pursue the same policies as Michael Gove, but perhaps not with the same ideological zeal.

She was elected MP for Loughborough only four years ago, so has climbed the career ladder quite raspidly. She attended a private school in Surrey, studied Law at Oxford and became a corporate lawyer before standing as an MP. Just the right background for an Education Minister?  A committed Christian she opposed same-sex marriage and supported a Bill to stop abortion-providers giving counselling to women.


The tasks that Nicky Morgan will have to undertake in the next few months include a response to the dispute with the NUT over pay, pensions and workloads. Further industrial action is threatened in the Autumn.

Another task is to oversee the launch of  the teaching of the revised GCSEs and A levels, as well as the new national curriculum, championed by Michael Gove. An increasing problem is the growing number of primary school pupils who will put pressure on budgets within the Education Department.

We must wait and see how MS. Morgan copes with these and other challenges in the months leading up to the election. In a statement following her appointment she said:  “I look forward immensely to working alongside parents, teachers and schools to ensure we have world class schools and the skills that will get our young people great jobs.”





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