NUT says survey shows education secretary needs to accept his is wrong

Tim Lezard

GoveA You Gov survey of 2,008 parents commissioned by the NUT shows that after almost three years in power only 8% of parents believe that the government has made a positive impact on the education system.

After themselves, parents thought head teachers (59%) and teachers (58%) were the people they most trusted with their children’’s education. In sharp contrast, only 6% of parents trusted either Michael Gove or an academy chain.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: ““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. Michael Gove does not have the confidence of the profession or parents. He needs to urgently accept that he is wrong and rethink his vision for education to one which includes all children and does not involve the privatisation of our education system”.”

Only 14% of parents believe that academy status improves educational standards. 78% of parents disagree with Michael Gove and believe that all schools including academies and free schools should follow the same national curriculum.  Again, in contrast to the stated government view, a majority of parents (60%) believe that there should be a national pay system for all teachers.

73% of parents described the quality of teaching in their child’s school as either good or excellent. A majority of parents (59%) said that, within a prescribed curriculum, teachers should be allowed professional freedom to teach in the best interests of children.

There was a similar negative response to many of the government’s policies and vision for the future of education. Just 1 in 5 parents (19%) believed that the academies and free schools programme is taking education in the right direction. An overwhelming 84% of parents are opposed to Michael Gove’’s willingness for state schools to be run for profit and only 9% agree with the government’’s policy to allow academies and free schools to employ unqualified teachers. The majority of parents (56%) do not agree that free schools should be allowed to open in premises without planning permission for school use.

The responses of primary school parents reflect many of the views and concerns of teachers. The overwhelming majority (93%) of primary school parents felt that time for reading for pleasure in the curriculum is important and 89% felt there should be time for fun and learning through play in the school day. The majority of respondents were not convinced that the Year One Phonics Check was helpful, with 73% of parents believing that the use of nonsense words in the tests such as ‘snemp’ or ‘thazz’ could confuse some children.

Parents are clear that where decisions are being made about primary schools becoming academies it is parents (76%) and teachers (68%) whose views should be taken into account. Only 5% of parents believed that the view of central government should be prioritised.

85% of parents of children in secondary schools believe that the curriculum should be broad and balanced and embrace both vocational and academic subjects. 60% agree that GCSEs provide a good breadth and depth in range of subjects and 61% do not believe that getting rid of coursework and having an end of course examination is the right decision.


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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