School Report: Gove says teachers deserve more pay
Education Secretary Michael Gove says teachers should be paid more.
Mr Gove also said comprehensive schools were in many cases better than their private counterparts.
The Conservative minister was interviewed by 12 School Reporters from across England.
The interview followed the closure of thousands of schools in England and Wales on Wednesday, as teachers joined picket lines in action over pay, pensions and conditions.
Mr Gove, who is responsible for the education system in England, said that a lot was demanded of teachers because more was required of students entering the modern-day workplace.
Debts 'paid off'
Asked about the difficulty graduates have repaying student loans, Mr Gove said those in lower-paid jobs such as teaching were not required to pay off their loans at the same rate as higher wage-earners.
"Teachers should definitely be paid more than they are at the moment," he said.
But he added that his department paid off the debts of some teachers at the start of their careers in the form of bursaries or additional support - particularly those teaching key subjects such as maths, physics or chemistry.
The government aims to introduce performance-related pay - which would allow heads to pay some teachers more.
Unions are concerned such a policy could mean some teachers will lose out, perhaps if they do not get on with the head teacher.
Questions posed by the 12 reporters covered the proposed lengthening of the school day, changing of exam grade boundaries, scheduling of exams, discipline and league tables, among other topics.
Asked about the introduction of a common entrance exam, Mr Gove said this could be an optional tool to benchmark both a school's and its students' performance.
"It's also a way for state schools to point out that in many cases they are better than private schools," he added.
Acne, first kiss, Game of Thrones
In a quickfire Q&A session at the end of the interview, the former journalist for The Times said the Shakespeare character with whom he identified most was Horatio from Hamlet.
"I'm not Hamlet… I'm the lieutenant," he said, in reference to the Danish prince's key adviser - the only major character to survive at the end of the tragedy.
He said his worst childhood memory was acne, identified his guilty pleasure as hit HBO TV series Game of Thrones and said his first kiss was with a girl called Kay from St Margaret's School for Girls in Aberdeen.
"Kay, if you're watching, I hope you've recovered," he said.
The education secretary even rapped for his interviewers - performing a short rendition of the Wham Rap!:
"Hey everybody take a look at me, I've got street credibility, I may not have a job but I have a good time with the boys that I meet 'down on the line'."
A report about the interview was shown on Thursday's BBC News at Six on BBC One.
A longer version of the interview is available online.