Michael Gove: ‘Too early to say if everything I did as education secretary was right’

The TES is reporting that Michael Gove has said he does not yet know if everything he did during his controversial four year period as education secretary was right.

Asked why he thought he was sacked as education secretary in 2014, he said: “I think ultimately I got involved in too many arguments. As to whether or not everything I did was right, it’s still, for me, too soon to make that judgement.

“I’m really heartened by the fact that there are people who are, I think, objective about it who think that education improved over those four years.”

His wife, journalist Sarah Vine, told the programme: “Michael worked his absolute heart out, and the teachers hated it and the unions hated it, and he took all that opprobrium and all those people saying all those horrible things.

In response, he said change was necessary because young people were getting qualifications that employers did not trust, and bright students were arriving at university without skills in spelling, punctuation and grammar, or essay writing.

Told that children now had “tremendous anxiety” because of the amount of homework they are set, he said the amount his children received was “demanding” but not “excessive”.

More at: Michael Gove: ‘Too early to say if everything I did as education secretary was right’

What do you think about his time as education secretary? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie

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  1. DenrooneyDenise

    SchoolsImprove think you’ll find michaelgove that you didn’t get anything right in education and ruined many things. A generation let down

  2. cllrsamwebster

    SchoolsImprove he certainly killed off vocational & technical education in most secondary schools. No surprise attainment gaps are widening

  3. JaneCordez

    SchoolsImprove I watched this in horror on Sunday morning…the man is deluded! I might have also shouted at the TV U0001f600U0001f633

  4. birch_david

    JaneCordez SchoolsImprove It’s not too soon for the schools and students who have suffered his meddling to ‘make that judgement’

  5. JaneCordez

    birch_david SchoolsImprove Totally agree! It’s shameful both for the kids and the staff and he is the sole reason I let the profession.

  6. JaneCordez

    cllrsamwebster abbyaug SchoolsImprove He is responsible for a lost generation and kids being set up to fail U0001f621

  7. CherylSalmon

    Gove took education in the opposite direction to that of the most successful economies (like Germany where vocational education is not seen as a second class alternative). His policies were based on his own personal views, talents and prejudices, not what is best for ALL children. 

    By ratcheting up the wheel of accountability for teachers and making them responsible for fixing all society’s problems, he drove many hardworking, dedicated people out of the profession. What happened with Boris and the PM contest was very revealing of his motivation and morals and he got what he deserved as a result.

    The only thing he did which was useful was increasing the emphasis in schools on accurate grammar and spelling – it was embarrassing (and bad for our PR as the originators of an international language) that many foreign speakers of English had a better grasp of the rules than many native speakers.

  8. eleonorasfalcon

    abbyaug SchoolsImprove I’ll tell you in 2.5y if dropping AS was right (I think it would have helped D1) as for rest U0001f44e

  9. Nairb1

    Gove ratcheted up the ‘don’t trust teachers and heads, school’s are failing’ rhetoric to a level never seen before and as a result has caused lasting and significant damage to education. Coupled with Ofsted’s punitive ethos this has resulted in a system where innovation is stifled and all focus is on narrow test outcomes. And given Gove’s recent actions one must conclude that the whole mess comes from a self-serving arrogance, the only aim to make a name for himself. Well he’s done that … probably the most despised and mistrusted SoS in recent times, possibly ever.

  10. CherylSalmon Were there any schools which didn’t emphasise accurate grammar and spelling?  Gove’s fixation with ‘rules’ (ditto Nick Gibb’s) of grammar is based on a false understanding of how English grammar works.  It isn’t based on pseudo-rules governing split infinitives, ‘less’ v ‘fewer’ etc.  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2015/05/oliver-kamms-english-usage-guide-poleaxes-the-pedants-gove-admired
    And requiring 11year-olds to name the parts doesn’t encourage articulate and expressive English.

  11. Nairb1 Gove’s entire education policy was based on the lie that the UK had plummeted down international league tables in ten years.  Under his tenure the DfE was out of control.   Gove saw the world as black and white – you were with him (and likely rewarded with a gong) or you were against him (and vilified as ‘enemies or promise’. ‘bigots’, Marxists or the Blob’)
    And Lady Macbeth (sorry, Sarah Vine, who thought nothing about revealing what went on, or rather didn’t, in the Gove bedroom) wonders why people were beastly to him. http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2016/04/maverick-dfe-out-of-control-under-gove-laws-book-reveals

  12. CherylSalmon

    Janet2 CherylSalmon No, but they aren’t mutually contradictory either. As a head it was embarrassing to receive job applications from teachers with lots of mistakes. It is a matter or credibility, and, in our international communication age for business, good PR. 
    I’m not saying that everyone should obsess about it, but if you know you have challenges in that area, it’s always wise to get someone who is a grammar/spelling “geek” to check before sending…

  13. CherylSalmon Janet2 Accuracy and expressiveness are absolutely essential – I don’t disagree with that.  But obsessing about pseudo-rules and naming the parts does nothing to help this.  The opposite is the case – it diminishes confidence and a love of English.

  14. CherylSalmon

    Janet2 I agree about the pseudo-rules (some of which are
    controversial anyway, like the correct use of the subjunctive ) but a basic grasp of
    when to use an apostrophe (NOT in a plural as someone has in this thread!) and
    using ” you were” instead of “you was” is the least we can
    expect if we want to give the right impression. Because I help run a translation agency, I am very conscious of how our clients want to present the right image to their clients. One of them, a genius structural engineer, was very grateful when we offered to correct the “typos” in his project proposal in the original English while we translated it into French, since he was anxious about the impression that needed to be made on his Oxford-educated client in the middle east.

  15. CherylSalmon Janet2 It doesn’t follow that in dismissing pseudo rules that I believe anything goes.  The correspondence of subject and verb (eg ‘You were’ not ‘You was’) is a rule of English grammar which is picked up by any native English speaker although some dialects accept deviations.  Children need to be taught appropriateness – ie in formal situations and when producing academic work then Standard English is the dialect to use.  Anything less makes the writer appear ignorant.
    The correct use of an apostrophe is punctuation, not grammar.   Many pedants who moan about the dire state of English grammar are actually talking about spelling or punctuation.

  16. Nairb1

    ‘ … although some dialects accept deviations. ‘
    Indeed. For most people in the area I live ‘We was ..’ and ‘I were ..’ are common usage, presenting an additional challenge for the local schools.

  17. DarvitWendy

    UnaRoseauthor Oh! but it really isn’t too early to decide that *at least something* he did wasn’t right (Let me count the ways..)

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