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Michael Gove hits back at Academies critics

05/01/2012 Kelly
Michael Gove has spoken out against critics of the Academies programme, saying that people who are against the autonomous schools project are "happy with failure".

Mr Gove has made academies a lynchpin of his tenure as education secretary and wants more schools to adopt the status, which sees them achieve autonomy from local authority control.

Pointing to various pieces of research which he says support the value of academies, Mr Gove referred to those campaigning against academies as "the enemies of promise".

There are currently 1,529 academies in England, with 45 per cent of all state secondary schools now either open or in the process of becoming academies.

More than 1.25 million pupils are now taught at academies.

Mr Gove referred to evidence from the OECD and the universities of Stanford and Munich, all of which he said found that pupils in autonomous schools performed better.

Defending the programme, the Conservative member of parliament said that far from being ideological driven, academies were in fact a practical, evidence-based solution which was started by Labour and built upon by the coalition government.

In a speech in front of people in teaching jobs in a London academy, Mr Gove acknowledged that the Academies programme will continue to face opposition but he said those against the project were themselves following an ideological process.

"The new ideologues are the enemies of reform, the ones who put doctrine ahead of pupils' interests," he said.

"Every step of the way, they have sought to discredit our policies."

Mr Gove said that becoming an academy was a liberation for schools, allowing head teachers the freedom to make decisions that make a difference.

"Longer school days; better paid teachers; remedial classes; more personalised learning; improved discipline; innovative curricula – these are just a few of the things that academy heads are doing to give the children in their care the best possible education," he said.

Commenting on the speech, NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates criticised Mr Gove for prioritising academies and free schools over regular schools which make up the vast majority.

He also questioned the reliability of the evidence which Mr Gove uses to support the academisation project.

Posted by Alan DouglasADNFCR-2164-ID-801256364-ADNFCR
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