Only 1 in 5 thinks Education Secretary is doing well – latest poll is grim news for Gove

Janet Downs's picture
Only 20% think that Michael Gove is doing a good job as Secretary of State for Education, according to the latest YouGov poll. At the same time 51% said he was doing badly while 30% didn’t know.

So what could account for this lack of confidence in Gove? Perhaps readers could offer their ideas.

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agov's picture
Sun, 23/09/2012 - 11:43

Given the vast absurd propaganda churned out by press, DfE etc etc telling everyone how wonderful Gove is, and a main Opposition party of at best utter uselessness, that is a surprising result.

It reminds me of when a tory government expanded parental representation on governing bodies.

Intended to show parents that state schools were awful and kept vast financial reserves for no reason: the parents should therefore support tory attacks on community assets. Actually it increased parental support for schools, made them more aware of the need for a prudent level of reserves and increased hostility to the tory government.

Another 'oops' perhaps.

Janet Downs's picture
Sun, 23/09/2012 - 15:24

Gove’s popularity will not have been helped by the GCSE grade debacle despite his assurance that he had nothing to do with changes in grade boundaries half way through a year. His disdain for GCSEs and desire for more “rigour” has been well-publicised. His rubbishing of GCSEs and the speed with which he wishes to replace them devalues the work done by pupils and teachers and makes the qualification worthless. This has alienated parents, teachers and pupils. I don’t think the 16 year-olds whose grades dropped this year will forget it in 2 ½ years time – they’ll be old enough to vote in 2015 (unless the Government collapses before then).

Janet Downs's picture
Sun, 23/09/2012 - 16:00

Gove’s popularity will further plummet when parents and pupils realise that his plans for exam reform are misguided, ill-conceived, not underpinned by evidence and accompanied by a sham consultation. This will put real reform – bringing in graduation at 18 as in most other developed countries – by years. Parents with children in English state schools should be alarmed. And the rest of the world probably regards England with incredulity for hanging on to an out-of-date system.

Marigold Doyle's picture
Sun, 23/09/2012 - 19:06

I expect his popularity will also further plummet when the reception place crisis erupts over the next few years and more and more families will be left without a school place, let along a local school place.

It is estimated that there will be approx 100,000 shortfall of places in just London over the next 4 years, and the population would be better served by a SofS who was attempting to address this issue, rather than giving thousands of pounds to unnecessary pet projects of free schools.

Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 24/09/2012 - 07:25

Marigold - according to the New Schools Network, one of the reasons that free schools are established is to address the shortfall. However, this doesn't seem to be the case. Few of the free schools are in areas where places were needed and some of them (eg Beccles) are in places where there is actually a surplus. See link below for further details:

Fiona Millar's picture
Mon, 24/09/2012 - 10:38

That is an important point and I would add that the DFE should be working with local authorities to establish need, potential sites and capital costs rather than just parachuting often unnecessary schools into some areas where there happens to be a free school bid that appeals to them.

Steve Paris's picture
Mon, 24/09/2012 - 00:37

My gripe with Gove has to do with Steiner education - he simply didn't do his homework on that one and he's now let in an educational movement that believes bullying should not be interfered with.

My wife and I even made a video about it, raising three questions which he should be asking, but will he?

Sadly, even if he does now, it's too late, isn't it.

Everything in this video is factual, and we've got the documents to back it all up:

Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 24/09/2012 - 14:42

Another reason for his unpopularity especially for schools and parents who’ve been on the receiving end: Gove allowing DfE officials to bully schools into converting into academies or implying that Governing bodies would be sacked and replaced if they didn't play ball over academy conversion. This offends a sense of fair play. It’s not what the public expect in a democratic country.

Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 24/09/2012 - 14:46

Perhaps Gove’s unpopularity stems from what he’s abolished. One of the first things he did was to halt the Building Schools for the Future programme with no consultation. This left many secondary schools without promised improvements. Six local authorities took legal action. High Court judge, Mr Justice Holman, described Gove’s lack of consultation as “an abuse of power”. Or maybe it was slashing funding for the successful School Sport Partnerships. Or perhaps it was axing funding for the Bookstart scheme only to reinstate it later at a much lower amount. And there’s the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance, running down GCSEs to be replaced by nobody-knows-what-at-break-neck-speed…

Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 24/09/2012 - 14:48

Don’t forget that he’s allowed academies and free schools to hire untrained teachers. And he says that school food standards need not apply to academies while making an unsubstantiated claim that food in academies was better than in other schools. Parents want to know that the people teaching their children have proper training and that academies aren’t feeding their children rubbish because (a) it’s cheaper, and (b) they can.

FJ Murphy's picture
Mon, 19/11/2012 - 20:43

Whereas it is true that the poll shows that Michael Gove is not highly regarded, there are some other findings which you have chosen to ignore: little difference in trust between Conservatives and Labour, even split on academies, almost as much support for free schools as opposition, more support for return to traditional teaching, a lack of confidence in GCSEs and a feeling that they have become easier.

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