Fear and loathing in an annual union conference

We have now reached the nadir of Michael Gove's tenure at the education department, a significant role that has a direct impact on the futures of students and households. Reportedly, to disagree with his version of standards and progress is to be "defeatist". Clearly even to disagree with him warrants a personalised attack, as the leaders of the NAHT headteachers' union discovered from newspapers after the organisation's annual conference. I disagree with Mr Gove on his view of standards. I disagree with Mr Gove on his methods of measuring progress and using Ofsted as a weapon to impose metrics as a motivating force to improve teaching and learning. I have no doubt that Mr Gove is an intelligent man. Intelligent people welcome debate, listen to debate (rather than to sycophantic self-interested advisers) and are prepared to reflect and adjust their strategic thinking. Isn't it time for such a pause for reflection before this personalised abuse brings not just Mr Gove but the national education system into disrepute?

Bill Boyle, School of Education, University of Manchester.

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