Michael Gove in 5 minutes

I was asked by a friend to give him a quick summary of Michael Gove’s policies. Here it is:

Free Schools – most important – and other systemic changes

  • Gove has made it possible for any primary or secondary school to become an academy. There has been HUGE take up, despite what the unions were warning. Academy status means:
    • Freedom from the Local Education Authority in financing – usually the LEA keeps 10% of the school’s budget to spend how it wants; academies keep 100% of funds.
    • More freedom from the LEA over staffing: hours, holidays, pensions, salaries.
    • No more freedom re: admissions (although academies tend to be more imaginative: e.g. West London Free School has quite a rare lottery system for 25% of its admissions – see point 15)
  • Pupil premium: more disadvantaged children get more state money, so teachers get paid more for teaching them.


  • Gove believes that most children are capable of an academic education based on a slimmed-down, core curriculum.
    • His English Baccalaureate (EBacc) ranks schools on how many A* – C they have in English, Maths, 1 Language, History/Geography, 2 Sciences. And it’s working!
    • This is a noticeable departure from previous, more progressive, educational thinking that stressed ‘skills’ as being on a par, or more important, than ‘knowledge’.
  • Return to synthetic phonics taught for children learning how to read. (Ruth Miskin appointed as reading tsar)

In the classroom

Other points


Three policies on which he has received most flak: cancelling of Building Schools for the Future; scrapping Educational Maintenance Allowance; raising tuition fees.