Exclusive: 'I don't want to be education secretary again,' says Michael Gove

Speaking exclusively to Tes, Michael Gove says that he has no regrets about the policy decisions he made during his controversial tenure at the Department for Education

Will Hazell

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Michael Gove has said he would not take the job of education secretary if he was offered it for a second time.

In an exclusive interview in today's Tes magazine about his legacy, the former secretary of state for education also said that he did not regret labelling some of his opponents as “the Blob” and “enemies of promise”.

Asked whether he would have a second stint as education secretary if he was offered the chance, Mr Gove responded: “I don’t think so, no.

“I had four years doing it, I wouldn’t like – six years after I was appointed – trade union leaders to suffer another nervous moment. I have too much regard for their health and welfare to want to inflict that on them.

“I had my years on the ship and now it’s under different captaincy.”

Tactical muddles

While he admitted to “tactical snafus” during his time as education secretary, Mr Gove said he did not regret any of his policy decisions or using the labels “the Blob” and “enemies of promise”.

He said Labour had "deliberately misapplied" the two phrases: “‘The Blob’ – which I used very rarely – was specifically a reference to the 100 education academics who wrote a letter saying there were too many facts in the national curriculum, and I linked them to ultra militant figures in the trade unions. And that was it.

“The ‘enemies of promise’ were those people who opposed the forced conversion of an underperforming primary school, which is now doing brilliantly.

“The argument there was not that these were teachers, it was just the Anti-Academies Alliance, in essence the Socialist Workers' Party.

“So there were very specific groups that I was targeting."

This is an edited article from the 31 March edition of Tes. Subscribers can read the full article here. This week's Tes magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

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