This morning Michael Gove gave a speech at the London Academy of Excellence on improving ‘bog standard’ state schools. Here’s what he said:-
It’s a pleasure to be here at the London Academy of Excellence - and to be able to congratulate the students and teachers of this superb new free school on their amazing successes. This start-up – a genuinely independent school which is free to all, socially inclusive and academically excellent, drawing its students from one of the most disadvantaged boroughs in the country, but sending them to the best universities in the world – is a wonderful example of what's changing in state education. The pace of change in our education system recently has been fast - and the reaction at times furious.
I appreciate that since I became Education Secretary I have been asking a great deal – a very great deal – of those who work in our schools.
And today I want to thank them.
By pointing out quite how much they've done.
The people who work in our schools at the moment have, I think, made history.
History, as some may know, is one of my passions.
And it seems to me we are living through a historic period in state education. One of my favourite history books is a classic work which analyses how a once apparently secure consensus can be overturned with amazing speed. George Dangerfield's "The Strange Death of Liberal England’ describes how the thought-world of Edwardian Liberalism – which seemed to be intellectually all-conquering – collapsed, never to return, in a remarkably short space of time. Dangerfield argued that the disruptive forces of the suffragette movement, the rising Labour party and unionist reaction together overturned a status quo which had seemed impregnable.
Modern opinion divides on whether Dangerfield's analysis was correct in every regard.