Norfolk fears over education overhaul

The biggest overhaul of England's schools since 1997 was announced by education secretary Michael Gove today.

The much-trailed white paper, called The Importance of Teaching, includes a host of proposed reforms to schools, with Mr Gove promising it would give the nation the chance to 'become the world's leading education nation'.

But his plans were immediately criticised in Norfolk as a 'punitive attack on teachers'.

Mr Gove told the commons he would:

Reform and improve teacher training


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Introduce Troops to Teachers, to attract the best 'motivational leaders' from the forces to become teachers

Take 'decisive action' on discipline, by abolishing the need for 24 hours notice for detentions, introducing stronger powers to search pupils and new rules to protect teachers from false allegations

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Encourage schools to bring back blazers and ties and house systems

Improve education for troubled youngsters by bringing in outside organisations to run alternative provision

Slim down the curriculum to focus on the 'core knowledge' needed for each subject - freeing up teachers to inspire and innovate

Reform assessment to stop 'teaching to the test'

Abolish modules to make GCSEs more rigorous

Restore the recognition of spelling, punctuation and grammar in exams

Provide a �110m endowment to turn round underachieving schools.

Mr Gove also confirmed that the minimum acceptable percentage of five A*-C GCSEs including English and maths would rise from 30pc to 35pc, with those falling below the floor target being the subject of possible intervention.

In this region, it means six schools currently fall below the threshold, including City Academy Norwich (26pc in 2010), The Hewett School in Norwich (25.5pc), Open Academy in Norwich (33pc), The King's Lynn Academy (formerly The Park High - 21pc), Kirkley High at Lowestoft (31pc) and Thomas Clarkson Community College at Wisbech (27pc).

Colin Collis, Norfolk secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: 'The government is working on a punitive basis to attack teachers.

'I've been aware of teachers with a first class honours degree from Oxbridge who couldn't teach for toffee. I've seen people with instructor qualifications who were absolutely top notch.

'I think it's about time that we stopped using teaching and education as a political football.'

Are you a headteacher, teacher, governor or parent with a view on the overhaul? Call Steve Downes on 01263 513920 or email steve.downes@archant.co.uk.

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