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Teachers denigrated by Gove - Clegg

The removal of Michael Gove as education secretary will allow the Government to "turn the page" and rebuild relations with teachers who were "denigrated" by his approach, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said.

Mr Clegg appeared to question Mr Gove's insistence that his replacement by Nicky Morgan and his appointment as chief whip in Tuesday's reshuffle did not amount to a demotion.

And he suggested that the former education secretary might privately concede that his "divide and rule" approach created a "destructive" relationship between teachers and the Government.

Mr Clegg told LBC radio: "I think this is an opportunity - and I am assuming that in a quiet moment he would concede this - for us to turn the page on what I think had become a really destructive relationship between the Department for Education and many, many teachers across the country.

"I meet many teachers - really good teachers, who want to do well for children in their care and in their classrooms - who really felt quite offended by the way in which Michael Gove and his team appeared to brand all teachers as a 'blob', (and to say that) all teachers somehow weren't doing a proper job, all teachers were resistant to change, all teachers were resistant to reform.

"I thought that was a divide-and-rule approach to teaching which doesn't get the best out of teachers... There are good teachers, there are bad teachers, teachers up for change and teachers who aren't, but you don't get the best out of teachers by branding them all as folk who don't want to do their best.

"That's why I would like to think that with a change of personnel we can now turn the page and instead of denigrating teachers, we can celebrate what many, many teachers across the country do."

Asked whether he regarded Mr Gove's move as a promotion, Mr Clegg said that was "apparently" what it was being presented as, before adding: "I see it as a move to a more political position."

He added: "He and I may disagree on a bunch of things, but he is a talented guy, a bright guy, a colourful guy, a fervent Conservative.

"If I understand it correctly, the move is to give him a seat at the top table on how the Conservative Party are going to seek to do well in the election next year, and I wish him well in that."

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