Schools Minister David Laws calls for a period of calm for teachers

 

Education Editor

Teachers need a period of calm and consensus in education rather than a "permanent revolution", Schools Minister David Laws said today.

In what was widely interpreted by teachers as a swipe at his boss Education Secretary Michael Gove, the Liberal Democrat minister said "some politicians seek consensus and others prefer their 'dividing lines' - they search out controversy and seek to perpetuate it."

Mr Gove has dismissed his opponents as "enemies of promise" and likened them to "The Blob", an amorphous monster which ate humans in a 1958 science fiction film.

Speaking to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference in Manchester, Mr Laws went on: "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."

Mr Laws went on to admit there was "a deep dividing line" between the Coalition partners over Mr Gove's plans to allow schools to hire unqualified teachers. This, he added, would not be bridged this side of the election.

"My own view and that of Liberal Democrats is that all teachers in all state funded schools should have QTS (qualified teacher status) or be working towards it. Teaching is, in my party's view, not just about subject knowledge but about knowledge of how to teach well. Our plans for all teachers to secure QTS will be set out in our general election manifesto."

Mr Laws added: "I also accept that there is a balance to be struck between governments having the right to introduce new policies for which they have a democratic mandate and the need to avoid excessive politicisation of key aspects of education policy."

He said there was a need to take an evidence-based approach to policy "rather than the whim of here today, gone tomorrow governments and ministers".

"Politicians are supposed to be communicators and quite often we need to do better in communicating a more balanced and positive message to those who serve in our schools," he added.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL, said: "You're not afraid of disagreement but you seek consensus unlike someone you work with very closely who has a preference for dividing lines.

"We're happy to have a period of calm provided we're in the right place [to begin with]."

However, Mr Laws insisted that under Mr Gove there had been progress in reducing some of the direct political influence on education, with the growth in influence of independent regulators like the exams watchdog Ofqual.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
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

Recruitment Genius: MIS Officer - Further Education Sector

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Operating throughout London and...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: Project Manager

£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K - £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been we...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?