Minister ‘is undermining’ our schools

Meeting call: Michael Gove
Meeting call: Michael Gove
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Lancashire’s teachers are demanding face-to-face talks between Education Secretary Michael Gove and County Hall chiefs over his claims that Lancashire has “too many failing schools.”

The local education authority and teaching unions have been at loggerheads with the minister since he sent a letter to MPs urging them to persuade more schools to be made academies.

The letter pointed out that the county had one of the lowest numbers of academies in the country and criticised the number of school below the national benchmark (currently one per cent).

County council leader Geoff Driver has already written to Mr Gove pointing out Lancashire is one of the best performing LEA’s in the country.

Now the National Union of Teachers (NUT) says the row is in danger of “undermining” the work being done in schools and affecting morale of staff and students.

In a statement to the minister, the union said: “Questions regarding the quality of delivery of education in the county of Lancashire could be seen to be undermining much of the good work being done within the authority and could also have a negative impact upon the confidence of pupils, parents and those working hard to deliver the service.”

Mr Gove has been asked “to open active order that any misunderstandings may be overcome in order that confidence in the service can be restored to all stakeholders.”

The Evening Post recently revealed that Mr Gove own’s constituency has four times as many failing primary schools as Lancashire but the minister has so far refused to comment other than through a DfE spokesman, whixh said: “We are in discussions with local authorities across the country about all schools that have a history of underperformance.”