‘Education given a backseat by a government fixated on Brexit’

Tes is reporting that education has “taken a backseat” and is “not a priority” for the government because it is “completely fixated” on Brexit, the former chief inspector of Ofsted has said.

Sir Michael Wilshaw claimed that political energy in the educaton system had “dissipated” since he worked as a headteacher in the days of New Labour.

Appearing on a panel at the Best in Class summit organised by the Sutton Trust in New York last week, Sir Michael said: “I think political mood music is really important.”

Sir Michael said: “It wasn’t just about the money – there was certainly more money put into education – it was about the energy of government and its commitment to improving standards and its commitment to reform. That energised the whole system.”

“One of the reasons has been Brexit, where government is completely fixated with the whole very complex issue about leaving Europe, and education and educational issues have taken a backseat.”

Sir Michael’s claim that parents were not interested in education at the last election conflicts with polling which suggested that concerns about school funding caused more than 750,000 voters to switch their support.

Sir Michael also called for the government to introduce a “national leadership programme” to deploy school leaders where they were most needed. 

“What we need are national leadership programmes which identify potential leaders early on and bring them through, and secondly and most importantly, put them into those parts of the country which have long legacies of underperformance and failure. Because that’s not what’s happening.”

Read more ‘Education given a backseat by a government fixated on Brexit’

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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