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Schools minister calls for education stability

15/04/2014 Kelly
Schools minister David Laws has called for a period of calm following the coalition's substantial reforms of the education system.

Under the coalition government, a large number of changes have been introduced, with subjects made more rigorous and demanding and inspections toughened up.

Speaking at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' (ATL) annual conference in Manchester, Mr Laws called for a period of stability to allow the reforms to be implemented.

Mr Laws drew a distinction between politicians who prefer dividing lines and others who seek to forge a consensus.

He said the "permanent revolution" that has affected the teaching profession has been challenging and occasionally disruptive.

Nevertheless, Mr Laws defended the coalition's programme of change, saying it was inevitable after another party had been in office for a long time.

"I think that consensus, and the policy stability that can come with consensus, is something worth pursuing, provided it is on the basis of effective policies which work," he commented.

Mr Laws denied his remarks were intended as criticism of coalition colleague Michael Gove, who has attracted controversy in the past for his often-outspoken views on education. He said Mr Gove has done a great deal to depoliticise education. 

The schools minister drew one significant distinction between his views and those of Mr Gove, however, saying the Liberal Democrats would require all teachers to have qualified teacher status (QTS) or be working towards it.

In contrast, the Conservatives have allowed some people without QTS to take up teaching jobs in academies and free schools.

Mr Laws said teaching is not just a matter of having the relevant subject knowledge; it is also about being able to teach well.

The minister's comments about the politicisation of the education system echo remarks made by Professor Sir Roy Anderson's report Making Education Work.

In January, the report made headlines for claiming the English education system is too subject to the vagaries of the electoral cycle and requires a long-term strategy to guarantee the stability necessary to raise standards.

Posted by Alan DouglasADNFCR-2164-ID-801712722-ADNFCR
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