'Not in the best interests of children': Headteachers vote no confidence in Michael Gove's reforms
Unions say vote 'sends strongest possible message' to Education Secretary and Government that policies are failing children
Saturday 18 May 2013
Headteachers today passed a vote of no confidence in the Government's education policies.
Many of Education Secretary Michael Gove's reforms are "not in the best interests of children", according to delegates at the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) conference in Birmingham.
The union raised particular concerns about the new national curriculum, major test and exam reform and schools being forced into becoming academies.
Tim Gallagher, proposing the motion, said: "Enough is enough. This motion's intention is to send the strongest message possible to this government that many of their education policies are failing our children, their parents and the very fabric of our school communities."
The NAHT is the first headteachers' union to pass a vote of no confidence in the Government's education reforms.
The UK's three biggest teachers' unions, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the NASUWT passed similar votes at their Easter conferences.
The NUT and the NASUWT are already planning regional strikes in the North West next month in a continuing row over pay, pensions and workload with the prospect of a national walkout looming in the autumn.
The latest vote of no confidence is a further sign of the worsening relations between the Government and the teaching profession.
Mr Gove is expected to defend his education reforms when he takes part in a question and answer session with headteachers at the conference later this afternoon.
Mr Gallagher, a consultant headteacher from Worcestershire said that many of the government's education policies were "ill thought through, not based on empirical evidence and devoid of meaningful consultation and lacking in understanding."
He also suggested that ministers are attempting to push reforms through in a way that is "disruptive, damaging and pernicious."
"With this government it is ideology gone mad," Mr Gallagher told the conference.
Vince Burke, senior vice principal of All Saints Church of England Academy in Plymouth suggested that the government is trying to reform too much of the education system at once.
"If the Secretary of State had a business plan he would know that to be successful you don't change everything at the same time."
Ministers are currently attempting to overhaul the curriculum, assessment, accountability and funding, he said.
The resolution called on the NAHT's executive to ensure that the Government is left in no doubt that that the union represents the "serious concerns" of the profession.
It was passed with 99.3 per cent of the vote.
Delegates also passed a second resolution raising concerns that "too much power is currently given to one person to determine national policy on the basis of personal preference and ideologically-driven assumption."
Steve Kirkpatrick a deputy headteacher and member of the NAHT's executive said that he had two children and was concerned about their education.
"This is so important," he said. "This is so important because I want to stop people playing political ping pong with my children's education."
The NAHT represents around 85 per cent of primary headteachers and 40% secondary leaders in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Before the conference broke for lunch, NAHT president Bernadette Hunter appealed to delegates to "remain professional" when Mr Gove takes to the stage later this afternoon.
She suggested that they could show their displeasure by staying silent, which would have a stronger effect.
A Department for Education spokesman said: "We need to raise standards so we have an education system that is on a par with the world's best.
"Our academies programme is turning around hundreds of underperforming schools, we are introducing a world class curriculum and our reforms to exams will create qualifications that will keep pace with the demands of universities and employers. Surely this is something the NAHT should be supporting.
"We will not stand by when schools are failing our children. Sponsored academies are turning around hundreds of underperforming schools and ensuring pupils are given every chance to fulfil their potential.
"We are also overhauling special educational needs provision to put young people and their families at its centre, with more say in where they study and more control over the support they receive."
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Follow the latest events from this Champions League fixture
Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice
Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'
techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say
Ukraine crisis: Donetsk 'tactical missile' explosion at factory sends blast wave across rebel-held city
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Oscar de la Renta dead: Legendary US fashion designer dies after long cancer battle aged 82
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties 'call for his head' over disability comments
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 5 The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
£100 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: IT teacher required immediately...
£100 - £140 per day + Flexible with benefits: Randstad Education Group: Key St...
£100 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: This good to outstanding school...
£100 - £160 per day + mileage and expenses: Randstad Education Leeds: This out...