Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

6% parents 'trust Gove on schools'

Education Secretary Michael Gove 'does not have the confidence of the profession or parents', a union claimed

Parents are concerned about the effect the Government is having on their child's education, a poll suggests.

Around one in 12 (8%) parents think the coalition has had a positive impact on the education system since it took power, while almost half (44%) said the impact has been negative.

The survey of about 2,000 adults, commissioned by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), indicates the majority would entrust their child's education to school leaders.

Asked who, other than themselves, they trust the most to educate their son or daughter, more than half (59%) of those questioned said head teachers, followed by the local authority (16%) and school governors (13%).

Around 6% said they would trust the Secretary of State for Education, a post currently held by Michael Gove, and the same proportion said they would trust an academy chain.

The poll also reveals just 2% believe politicians should be able to prescribe what teachers teach, while a third (35%) said teachers should be able to exercise their professional judgment to meet the needs of their pupils. The survey comes as the NUT meets for its annual conference in Liverpool.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: "The fact that only 8% of parents think that the Government has had a positive impact on the education system is very significant."

She added: "It appears that it is now only the Secretary of State who believes that his policies are taking education in the right direction. Michael Gove's proposals for examination reform, the national curriculum and academies and free schools are all being questioned."

The poll shows Mr Gove "does not have the confidence of the profession or parents", Ms Blower said.

But a Department for Education spokesman said: "This survey in fact demonstrates the high level of parental support for our reforms. Almost two-thirds of parents want heads and teachers running their schools, rather than councils - that is why we have given schools more freedom than ever before to do just that through our academies programme."

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