Commenting on Michael Gove’s speech to Conservative Party Conference, Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: "NAHT eagerly awaits Gove's real speech on education. We've heard some warm-up words - and very nice they were too - but surely no Secretary of State for Education would complete a speech on education today without addressing the GCSE marking debacle, currently blighting the prospects of tens of thousands of students.
“We were heartened to hear praise for teachers and school leaders but what remained was a speech which dodged some of the big issues of the moment, like the mis-marking of GCSEs, or the able readers failed by the phonics screening check at the age of six.
“There must still be a speech to come on the ten thousand new classrooms required to meet population growth. What about the phonics tests for six-year-olds, the school inspection regime, funding, A-level reform, the abolition of GCSEs and their replacement with the English Baccalaureate Certificate?
“And, as we heard a lot about trust and independence, presumably there will be further announcements that the government will stop trying to tell teachers how to teach literacy and rewrite a curriculum which actual bans certain books from being read to children?
"We welcome recognition of the strongest generation of teachers ever. It's true. But why are they feeling so under-valued then? Words on the stage need to be matched by action in the system: ambition and innovation will only be delivered by a proud and confident profession, which is far from the case at the moment.
“Those in schools – those who Mr Gove praised in his speech – are keen to hear what the Secretary of State has up his sleeve next. He appears to be short on ideas for some of the real problems we face. Given the chaos rising in the system excessive tinkering on funding, school places and exam reform, perhaps we should be grateful.”
Page Published: 09/10/2012