Viewpoints: Michael Gove's exit as education secretary

Michael Gove Mr Gove, who privately described the educational establishment as "the blob", is moving on

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Michael Gove is to step down as education secretary, as he becomes the chief whip in Prime Minister David Cameron's cabinet reshuffle.

Mr Gove has been replaced by Treasury Minister Nicky Morgan, as Mr Cameron promotes more women into top jobs.

Here are a range of views from the education world on his departure from the Department for Education.

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Emilie from Cardinal Newman Catholic School, Hove

We never really know what is going on”

End Quote Emilie, Year 10
BBC School Reporters from Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Hove

Emilie: I think having a different education minister will have a positive impact on my personal education because the changes that Michael Gove made were quite impactful in a negative way.

We were sort of influenced heavily to do subjects that weren't necessarily our first choice, which meant that we might not have got such good results. But the fact that we have already chosen those subjects means that we probably won't be able to change them at this stage anyway, so his impact is still impacting on us now.

We never really know what is going on, because the changes always happen quite quickly and they are always quite dramatic or they have been recent and sometimes even our teachers are not completely sure how they will impact us.

It is good because the year groups after us won't have to go through what we went through with all the changes and not really knowing what is going to happen to their education.

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Ben from Cardinal Newman Catholic School, Hove

I didn't agree with all of the points of view that he had”

End Quote Ben, Year 10

Ben: He has made our education more academic and harder, and he tried to make our education like his grammar school education, which he saw as the perfect education - but that isn't suited to everyone nowadays.

It was a bad thing that he tried to get rid of the creative subjects because that brings out the intelligence in some people if English or science are not their main subjects.

I think it's the right decision. I didn't agree with all of the points of view that he had, and I'm not sure most of the country agreed with his points of view, and I am sure Nicky Morgan will do a better job.

She needs to know what the kids want and to be able to understand what is important for them and how they can make the most out of their education.

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Brian Lightman

Many of his reforms have been highly controversial”

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Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders

As someone who has had extensive contact with Michael Gove, I have absolutely no doubt that he has a passion for improving the life chances of young people.

Many of his reforms have been highly controversial, and time will tell what the impact is.

For the new ministerial team, the key priority is to give schools and colleges time to implement the large number of reforms already under way.

The temptation for a new minister is to make their mark, but the last thing students and teachers need is another raft of reforms.

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Dr Mary Bousted

Gove is more of a liability than an asset”

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Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers

David Cameron has, belatedly, realised that Michael Gove's ideological drive is no substitute for measured, pragmatic reform of the education system.

Time after time he has chased newspaper headlines rather than engage with teachers.

The dismantling of the structures which support schools, the antagonism which he displayed to the teaching profession and the increasing evidence of chaos in the bodies he established - in particular the Education Funding Agency - has led Cameron to one conclusion - Gove is more of a liability than an asset.

Successful education systems value the views of the teaching profession, which Gove insulted when he called them "the blob". ATL looks forward to a more constructive relationship with his successor, Nicky Morgan.

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Lord Baker

I think he's been successful, he's changed things”

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Lord Baker, former Conservative Education Secretary

Michael Gove was a successful education secretary because he brought vitality and passion to the job to drive up standards.

The enduring element of what he's done is the creation of more academies, free schools and university technical colleges - that's irreversible.

I think it's sensible for him to move now because there's only nine months to the election and he's changed so much, there's not much more to change. We've got to now work through the changes and see how they develop.

I think he's been successful, he's changed things. No education secretary is very popular - I know that myself, that goes with the job.

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Christine Blower

We remain in dispute over the direction of government policy”

End Quote
Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers

Michael Gove has clearly lost the support of the profession and parents for justifiable reasons. His vision for education is simply wrong.

His pursuit of the unnecessary and often unwanted free schools and academies programme, the use of unqualified teachers, the failure to address the school place crisis and endless ill-thought out reforms to examinations and the curriculum have been his hallmark in office.

Michael Gove's search for headlines over speaking to the profession has clearly angered teachers. We remain in dispute over the direction of government policy, which we believe is undermining the education service.

We will be seeking a very early meeting with Nicky Morgan, the incoming education secretary, and we look forward to not only a new personality but a more conciliatory approach, one that demonstrates an improvement in policy for children, teachers and young people.

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Natalie Evans

Free schools are more than twice as likely to be rated as outstanding”

End Quote
Natalie Evans, director of the New Schools Network

Michael Gove introduced legislation that has allowed thousands of parents and pupils access to great new schools.

Over 330 schools have been created in just four years, and the momentum shows no sign of abating - both in people wanting to set up free schools or send their children to them.

The whole point of these new schools is to raise standards, and they are doing just that.

Free schools are more than twice as likely to be rated as outstanding by Ofsted and what's more, they are 10 times as likely to be opened in the most deprived communities than the most affluent areas.

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Russell Hobby

Now is a time for rebuilding trust and confidence”

End Quote

To have set these changes in motion is a hugely significant achievement.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers

Michael Gove had a radical and sincere vision for transforming education but he largely failed to bring the profession with him.

His diagnosis was frequently astute, but his prescriptions were hard to swallow.

It is now time to rebuild trust and confidence between government and teachers so that improvements can endure.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT

The NASUWT has always sought to engage constructively with the Secretary of State for Education and will continue to do so.

Ms Morgan inherits a teaching profession on the brink of a recruitment and retention crisis after an unrelenting assault on teachers' pay, pensions and conditions and their professionalism. Teachers are buckling under the pressure of increased workload and the threat of job loss, and morale is at an all-time low.

Whilst some may celebrate the departure of Michael Gove from the office of secretary of state, the issue for the education service, for teachers, pupils and the general public is not a change of secretary of state, but a change of policy.

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