No going back on Gove’s reforms, pledges new Education Secretary

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has vowed to “be nice to teachers”, but warned she would not row back on predecessor Michael Gove’s controversial reforms.

Mr Gove, who was demoted to chief whip in the reshuffle, frequently clashed with the teaching unions as he forced through his radical shake-up of education.

Mrs Morgan said working together with teachers, heads and governors is crucial to getting the best results for children.

But she insisted she would not turn her back on the changes championed by Mr Gove, who oversaw the creation of new free schools and academies in an effort to provide greater choice and competition.

“There will certainly be no soft-pedalling on reforms,” she told The Sunday Times. “I think Michael has been a fantastic education secretary and the reforms he has put in place, particularly freeing schools from Whitehall interference, have been phenomenally successful.”

She rejected calls to perform a U-turn on rules to punish parents who take their children out of class during term time, saying the policy “sends a firm signal”.

Mrs Morgan also backed the policy of allowing lessons to be taught by people without formal teaching qualifications: “If (heads) say that the best person to teach economics is somebody who has worked in a bank in the City of London, then fine.”

She also supported Mr Gove’s policy of allowing new free schools to be opened where there is demand, even if there is no shortage of school places in the area. “If there is parental demand for free schools, that’s where they should go,” she said.

“It is very much about what parents want... whether they want to send their children to academies or grammar schools.”