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Gove attacks Norfolk “left wing”

22:00 10 October 2012

Education Secretary Michael Gove attacked unions in Norwich.

Education Secretary Michael Gove attacked unions in Norwich.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Education secretary Michael Gove has piled in to the attack first launched by the prime minister yesterday on the “left wing” education establishment in Norfolk.

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Speaking at Conservative conference David Cameron specifically said the “left wing” establishment in Norwich, comprised of unions and some teachers, had tried to stymie school reforms he said would help pupils.

He highlighted policies such as the creation of free schools and the roll out of academies, both of which are types of school that are free of council control.

Speaking to the Eastern Daily Press immediately after the speech Mr Gove backed his leader’s comments and specifically praised two Norfolk headteachers – Tania Sidney-Roberts, of the Free School Norwich, and Rachel De Souza, of the Ormiston Victory Academy.

He said: “One of the things I’ve seen with my own eyes is that in parts of East Anglia there have been people who have been sceptical about free schools and sceptical about the academies movement.

“Having worked with Tania Sidney-Roberts and Rachel De Souza at Ormiston, I know there have been individuals that have not been happy, but they have been shown up by these two fantastic female headteachers.”

Mr Gove went on: “We can’t get into an exercise of saying it’s him or it’s her because we’d like people to realise: ‘let’s get with the programme’. But it’s certainly been the case that there has been institutional resistance from unions and others.

“Show don’t tell is always the best way. If people see what Rachel and Tania are achieving, the opposition will melt away.”

Meanwhile Labour city and county councillor Bert Bremner admitted his party opposed free schools but said he could think of no specific examples of when he and his colleagues had blocked their progress. He said: “They are creating a storm without a story.”

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