Risks of Gove?s Ofsted exemption

Letter from General Secretary to TES on academies and Ofsted inspection.


"Gove’s Ofsted exemption risks shifting ’outstanding’ schools into reverse gear":
TES letters, 4 June 2010

Full text of original letter sent on 28 May 2010. Sections in italics not published inTES:

"Dawdling" (Michael Gove interview, TES, 28 May 2010) is one thing but running at breakneck speed before you can walk is another. I share Michael Gove’s stated enthusiasm for ‘getting education right’, and education can’t stand still, but I am concerned about the pace of his "work".

Instead of learning from his predecessors’ mistakes, Mr Gove is rushing ahead with reckless speed, bringing in hasty legislation on academies and writing to schools before the Bill has been debated.

Any government should be keen to get started but needs to implement its programme within a practical and fair timescale. A new title – be it ‘free school’ or ‘academy’ – does not guarantee success. There must be proper and rigorous consultation with staff, parents and local communities. We are now in the summer term and with the long vacation to come, it is impractical and foolish to try for a change of status by September.  

Exempting certain schools from inspection is reckless. It’s like giving a car that’s passed its MOT exemption from further tests unless someone reports it for going through a red light.  As the head and staff/driver and pupils/passengers change, so will the school.  ‘Success’ is about more than exam results and league tables.

Voice worked successfully – and generally "harmoniously" – with "competing organisations" ("The Week") in the Social Partnership and so we look forward to working with Mr Gove in a "more inclusive" relationship. However, if it is to succeed, the Partnership must be more than a consultative body on "behaviour and discipline" – crucial though they are – it must still be a forum for progressing the full range of national pay and conditions issues.

Philip Parkin

General Secretary




Email: philipparkin@voicetheunion.org.uk

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