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.

Smart guy

David Miliband grows and grows in my estimation. First there was the interview with the FT; now, I’ve just come across this speech thanks to David Smith’s blog:

To quote David Smith’s post in full:

In two recent speeches, UK politicians are beginning to show they understand the web. First, George Osborne. And now, David Miliband:

When we think of education, we tend to think of formal teaching in classrooms by teachers. This remains important. But the range of resources to support learning is far wider than that – from workplaces and museums to individuals with skills to contribute, and passions to share. They lie beyond the school gates and they are 24/7. And the key to genuine educational transformation is inspiring children and adults to learn more for themselves – what Yeats called ‘lighting a fire’ as opposed to ‘filling a pail’. So the challenge is to connect people with skills and time to give, from university students, part-time employees and people in retirement, to others with similar passions and interests. ‘Every citizen a teacher’ may be a bit of a stretch, but it is not impossible to imagine an educational world where a large minority of citizens play an active role, either on a voluntary or paid basis in supporting learners as personal tutors, running after-school clubs, or integrated into the curriculum and the classroom. The web can create the potential to aggregate the dispersed supply of citizen-teachers and connect them to learners with particular interests. It can also help learners filter the good from the bad through peer to peer recommendations and make sense of a world where educational resources are much more diverse.

And much more besides: ‘I believe the businesses and government that succeed in the future will be those that give people greater power to shape the future of their individual lives and greater capacity to collaborate. A sense of I can and we can.’

Exciting stuff

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