Education secretary Nicky Morgan was jeered and heckled this morning when she told a teaching union conference that the education system was better now than it was five years ago and urged the union to stop being negative about the profession.
Teachers at the NASUWT annual conference in Birmingham jeered when she said the system was now “much better” than it had been before the Conservatives came to power. And their leader suggested that the education secretary seemed to have deliberately incited the response
Teachers laughed and shouted "has the penny dropped?" when Ms Morgan noted that of 20 press releases on the union’s website, only three were positive.
"If I were a young person making decisions about my future career, and I saw some of the language coming out of NASUWT as well as some of the other unions, would I want to become a teacher?" Ms Morgan continued.
“If I read about a profession standing on the precipice of crisis would I consider a life in teaching? No, I wouldn’t."
Delegates also laughed when Ms Morgan said she accepted that her government "hasn’t always got it right".
However, teachers also applauded Ms Morgan when she said she was "disgusted" by the findings of NASUWT research which found teachers were being abused on social media.
"There is never an excuse to threaten or harass a teacher," she said, to applause from the crowd.
After the speech NASUWT, general secretary, Chris Keates, told Ms Morgan: "I heard what you said about not turning back, but I ask you to think again and ditch that proposal to force every school to become an academy."
Speaking to journalists later, Ms Keates, said: "Occasionally she got a bit of heckling, but I think what it appeared was that there was some deliberate intent in the speech almost to incite that, and I can't understand why a minister who says she wants to communicate with the profession would then be delivering a speech that seemed to want to press negative buttons."