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Michael Gove warns teachers they risk weakening their reputation by going on strike next week

By Matthew Barrett
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Michael Gove appeared on BBC One's Andrew Marr Show this morning, and was able to outline his position on a number of issues relating to his department currently in the news. On strikes planned for next week, Mr Gove first disagreed with their decision to strike:

"If schools aren’t open on Thursday, there will be massive inconvenience for working parents, particularly single working parents who will have to rearrange childcare at very short notice. I think it is wrong for people who are working very hard to have their lives disrupted in this way so I think it is right for schools to stay open."

Mr Gove then emphasised his respect for teachers:

"I have been worried for some time now that the reputation of teachers in this country is not as high as it should be. They do an amazing job. In other countries teaching is a high-prestige profession. I think over the last few years we have been moving in that direction


More and more respect has been accorded to teachers, and taking industrial action, being on the picket line, being involved in this sort of militancy, will actually mean that the respect in which teachers should be held is taken back a little bit and I think that will be a shame really for all of us who wanted a better education system."

On reaching a deal with teachers, Mr Gove sounded an understanding note but said that, while any deal must be fair for teachers, it must also be fair for tax-payers. 

Asked about exam standards, Mr Gove said:

"One of the things that’s happened over the last ten years is that other countries hae had more rigorous exams, they have had curricula which are more relevant to the 21st century and we’ve got to catch up."

Mr Gove said exams did not properly give students a "deep and rounded knowledge" of the subjects they are studying, and also said the Government is "going to make sure there is an emphasis once more on spelling, punctuation and grammar", in subjects where there is "sustained writing" involved. 

Mr Gove was also asked about grammar schools. He re-affirmed the Government's position: no new grammar schools will be built - although good, existing grammar schools can expand in the same spirit good comprehensives and other types of school can. 

9pm: Watch a four minute section of Michael Gove's interview and his warning against union "militancy"


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