James Forsyth James Forsyth

Michael Gove’s ‘personal crusade’

Michael Gove’s speech to today’s education reform conference is a robust defence of his reforms. He calls closing the attainment gap between rich and poor a ‘personal crusade for me’.

But I suspect that the headlines will be grabbed by his claim that the teaching unions aren’t standing up for education but for their ‘own pay and pensions’. He says that the status quo isn’t good enough and ‘we mustn’t keep going backwards – and failing the poorest above all.’

What I found most striking, though, was Gove’s praise for how academy chains are turning round failing schools such as Downhills. Indeed, Gove clearly envisages a far greater role for these chains. Describing the schools system he wants to see in 2024, he says that he wants to see ‘A marked and sustained rise in school quality, driven by every school being part of a supportive, collaborative chain or network’. I suspect that scaling up academy chains is going to be one of the next features of Gove’s reform agenda.

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