Raising standards and extending opportunity

Publication date

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Approval date

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

“We inherited an education system which was one of the most stratified and segregated in the developed world. We’re implementing a long-term plan for schools — rooted in evidence — driven by moral purpose.” (Michael Gove)

Speaking to the British Chambers of Commerce about vocational education, literacy and numeracy, the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove stated that the Government reforms aim to give children from all backgrounds a “chance to flourish”.

He explained that the most successful education systems in the world have autonomy for frontline staff, “more intelligent accountability” and drive up the standard of teaching and so the reforms are both “raising standards and extending opportunity”.

However, Mr Gove did agree that more is needed, particularly where vocational skills are concerned including English and maths; he therefore outlined a “national ambition” to “eliminate illiteracy and innumeracy in Britain” so that no child’s future is “irredeemably blighted by illiteracy and innumeracy”.

To this end, new policies are to be introduced, with a check at the end of Year 1 to make sure children are decoding words fluently, a progress check at the end of Key Stage 1, and a test at the end of primary school when it is hoped at least 85% will be at the level of literacy and numeracy that indicates they are likely to achieve good grades at GCSE.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said he shares Mr Gove’s focus on school standards but “fears his method” is “condemning too many young people to a second-class education”.