Education Secretary Michael Gove apologises to his former Aberdeen teacher

Michael Gove Michael Gove was a pupil at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen

Education Secretary Michael Gove has apologised to one of his former teachers for being a "clever-dick".

Mr Gove said he was taught French by Dan Montgomery at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen.

In a letter published in the Radio Times, he writes: "It may be too late to say I'm sorry. Thirty years too late.

"And all we could do was compete to think of clever-dick questions to embarrass you."

He said he also indulged in "pathetic showing off".

Start Quote

As I've grown up - and become a father myself - my gratitude only grows”

End Quote Michael Gove

He wrote: "When I look back at the 15-year-old I was, lurking at the back of your French class at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, I cringe.

"You were trying, patiently, doggedly, good-humouredly, to broaden our horizons.

"You were, without any pretension or pomposity, attempting to coax a group of hormonal lads to look beyond familiar horizons and venture further.

"You weren't just dinning irregular verbs into our heads, you were opening up a different way of seeing."

'Great teacher'

Mr Gove acknowledges that because they misbehaved they missed out, and thanked Mr Montgomery for his perseverance.

He wrote: "As I've grown up - and become a father myself - my gratitude only grows. To you, and to everyone else in your profession."

Mr Gove goes on to tell the teacher that his work, and that of the rest of the teaching profession, is "hugely appreciated".

He ends by saying: "So Danny, it may be too late to say I'm sorry. But, as my mum told me, it's never too late to set the record straight.

"And you were a great teacher, one of many who helped introduce me to the work of great thinkers and writers, and thus gave me the greatest gift of all - the chance to write my own life story."

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