Education secretary Michael Gove brushed aside criticism of leaked proposals to bring back O-levels during a visit to Norfolk, where he praised the county for its willingness to embrace reform in schools.

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Mr Gove was visiting Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey to turn the first sod on a £14m revamp and hailed Norfolk and Suffolk for “motoring” on educational reform.

Highlighting the academy and its principal Rachel de Souza for special praise, he said: “If only every school could do what they’ve done here.

“You had a school full of lovely young people with poor discipline, low achievement and staff who weren’t really supported. It wasn’t going anywhere.

“And then a mixture of the school becoming a sponsored academy, having support from outside and having a great principal in Rachel de Souza has turned it around.

“If anyone asked me what my ideal education policy would be it would be to clone Rachel 23.000 times.”

With a number of other academies and free schools having opened locally, he said: “I think that Tania Sidney-Roberts’ free school [in Norwich] is one of the most innovative in the way in which they have transformed a very handsome building.

“In Great Yarmouth we now have Greenacre Primary School - one of the weakest primary schools in an area of real deprivation - becoming an academy, sponsored by Theodore Agnew and that’s fantastic.

“Also, there are MPs in Norfolk who take a real interest in education.

“In that sense, you’ve got the political leadership, you’ve got wonderful people in civil society... doing a great job and more and more teachers who are stepping up to the mark.

“It’s important that we do that because I think one of the problems there has been in Norfolk in the past is that we knew where the jobs are coming from, so perhaps schools weren’t pushed and students weren’t pushed like they should be, but now things are really motoring.”

5 comments

  • Really? I thought in most cases it has either been bought with massive "bribes" of funding not available to the existing schools or has been forced through despite the opinion of many Norfolk residents. Witness the little kids being picked up from a city centre free school hours after little tots from Norwich infant schools are safely home. Wonder why the air pollution monitors at the bus station are not saying that the air in their playground is pretty filthy when the monitors on Castle Meadow often show pollution from traffic fumes is high. Question how they got away with Heartease-spending all that dosh on a fancy building, handing over control for a small percentage of the financial input and still not really doing much better according to Ofsted. Wonder whether the results at other academies are really down to taking a different set of exams and question whether a 33 year old really has the teaching experience to be a head teacher of a notoriously difficult school when they propose a 45 hour week or whether they are a ladder climber who knows what Gove wants. Terrible waste of money, terrible slur on the teaching profession and those who thought it was a good idea will eventually rue the day when they realise that parents do not have any more control than previously and that funding meant for educating children is being diverted into pockets of management companies.

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, June 23, 2012

  • Parents are unable to judge this issue at all, they are blinkered about the unfairness this causes. Beccles schools would not agree that this was a success. Michael Gove has disrupted schooling, just as his predecessors, education ministers seem unable to keep their morals out of education.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, June 25, 2012

  • What a strange world Mr Gove lives in where academy head teacher = great no matter how bad they may be and maintained school head teacher = bad however good they are. He has much to learn.

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    Sportswagon

    Saturday, June 23, 2012

  • Yes, very fair points D R. Have you dared look at the money going to Executive Head Teachers to manage Federation Head Teachers who then manage individual academy head teachers? Shed loads of money is being wasted yet the so-called independent Tax Payers Alliance is very quiet about it all. This centralist control is very Stalinist!!!!!

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    Sportswagon

    Saturday, June 23, 2012

  • These are great schools and parents want to get their kids into them, so good luck to the staff and pupils involved. It's not Gove running them, it's committed teachers and headteachers trying to do their best for the pupils in their care. All schools are moving to offer 'after hours' care to help working parents manage childcare - not everyone can do a 3.15pm pick up. These are not the days of the workhouse, there are lots of fun extra curricualr activities going on. Volunteer to help at one and you can see for yourself!

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    a fine city

    Saturday, June 23, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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