National Union of Teachers gives unanimous vote of no confidence in Education Secretary Michael Gove

Motion is first time in NUT's 143-year history union has taken such a step over Education Secretary

Teachers ended their conference season today by unanimously backing a motion of no confidence in Education Secretary Michael Gove – the first time in its 143-year history that the National Union of Teachers had taken such a step over a Secretary of State for Education.

It meant that the season both started and ended with a no confidence motion in Mr Gove  – delegates at the traditionally moderate Association of Teachers of Lecturers passing a similar motion at the first of the Easter conferences of the teachers’ unions ten days ago.

The move at the NUT conference at Liverpool was greeted with enthusiastic chants of “Gove must go” by delegates.

Nick O’Brien, from Norwich, supporting the motion, recalled how Mr Gove had dismissed teachers and professors who had opposed his curriculum reforms as “dogmatic Marxists and enemies of promise”.

“How dare he!” he added. “It is Gove and his government who have broken the hearts and futures of our brilliant young people by fixing exam results, scrapping educational maintenance allowances (for 16 to 18-year-olds) and being part of a vicious government whose policies have caused mass youth unemployment.

“How dare he! That’s why Gove has to go.”

Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, added:  “Quite simply the Secretary of State has lost the confidence of most teachers.”

Research had shown only eight per cent of parents thought the Coalition Government had had a positive impact on education.

“If the Secretary of State chooses to plough on regardless with such little support his ‘poll tax moment’ could be just round the corner,” she added.

In her conference speech, Ms Blower tried to list the points of conflict between the NUT and the Government – including forcing schools to become academies, scrapping annual incremental pay rises for teachers, increasing pension contributions,  reforms to GCSEs and A-levels, tougher inspections and new national curriculum proposals.

In an attempt to emphasize the growing opposition to his proposals, she stopped her speech to show the names of the 100 professors of education who had opposed his curriculum reforms for “dumbing down” standards in a letter to The Independent.

In reality, the motions of no confidence do little but show the deepening divide between Mr Gove and the teachers’ organisations.  There is little prospect, therefore, of any solution being agreed between the two sides before strikes over the Government’s pay and pensions proposals start in earnest in the summer term.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education, responding to the proposals, said: “For too long other countries have been outpacing us.

“Our reforms are giving teachers more freedom, increasing choice for parents so every child can go to a local school and ensuring we have an education system that matches the world’s best.  This ambition is surely something the NUT should approve of.”

She added:  “We have significantly reduced bureaucracy, given more autonomy to schools than ever before through our academy and free school programmes and are ensuring good teachers are better recognised through the pay system.”  (Ministers will replace annual increments for teachers with heads being given the power to decide on pay rises for themselves.)

It therefore seems, following the conferences, to be a case of – sadly – let battle commence.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Science SEN Teacher, perm vacancy, Medway school

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education are working w...

Play Leader

£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Bristol: Play Leader Stroud - Gloucesters...

KS4 SEN Teacher, Margate, Permanent Position, Sept 2014

Competitive package: Randstad Education Group: We have an exciting opportunity...

Year 6 Teacher - Part-time

Negotiable: AER Teachers: We are currently working on behalf of a Primary scho...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform