Has Cameron passed the peace pipe to teachers, or raised the white flag?

by Kevin Meagher

Last night the big news was William Hague’s exit as foreign secretary, but the real significance of this reshuffle is Michael Gove being moved out of education.

Gove is a bell-weather for the Government’s intellectual self-confidence in a way Hague isn’t. It is in schools policy where the Tories have been truly radical (for good or ill, depending on preference).

Free schools and the acceleration of the academies programme were totemic for Cameron in opposition, providing a solid direction of travel in an area of policy where the Tories struggle to convince people they are on their side.

But Gove’s central problem is that he governs like he’s still a newspaper columnist; dividing opinion with something approaching reckless abandon. Little wonder, then, that in term of teachers’ voting intentions, Labour leads the Conservatives by 43 per cent to 12.

This figure is actually not bad for the government given that a YouGov poll found that just 6 per cent of teachers think that academies and free schools are taking education in ‘the right direction’.

David Cameron may be belatedly recognising that the teaching profession is an area where he can quickly mend fences after Michael Gove has – perhaps too gleefully – spent four years kicking them down. With his education reforms embedded in the system, the scope is there to now pass the peace pipe to the profession and narrow the gap with Labour.

One thing will be certain, his new chief whip will be watching to make sure his boss doesn’t instead wave the white flag on his cherished reforms.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Labour Uncut


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2 Responses to “Has Cameron passed the peace pipe to teachers, or raised the white flag?”

  1. swatantra says:

    The whole teaching profession will raise a cheer that Gove has gone.
    The man is better at writing fiction journalism than Education policy.
    One less nerd at Westminster.

  2. Ex labour says:

    Gove and the Tories in general are trying to reinstate educational standards to something like 20 or 30 years ago. Labour dumbed down the system so they could show an improvement in standards, when in fact it was no such thing. Of course the teaching profession, by nature socialist, leftist and union dominated, were opposed to changes which may upset the status quo. Of course there will be resistance to change by agitators in the unions stirring up nonsense and trying to paint Gove in a bad light.

    As one head teacher said yesterday, Gove was focused on the low achievers and the under educated and was trying to bring the whole system up to a level where everyone could attain a higher standard, more rounded education and that was a good thing.

    Fortunately Gove’s replacement believes in his policies, so hopefully there will be no U-turn, but at least the media and unions will not have a ‘bogey man’ to demonise everyday.

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