Conservative Diary

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Michael Gove's message of delivery

In some ways this is a difficult Party Conference in the political cycle. It is what under New Labour was described as the "post euphoria, pre delivery phase." The advantage for the Education Secretary Michael Gove is that the delivery has been remarkably swift.

The warm up act was the Prime Minister via video link from a school visit in Manchester.

Quddus Akinwale, a 17-year-old studying A-levels at Burlington Danes Academy in Shepherd's Bush gave a powerful speech introduced by his headteacher Sally Coates.

Gove gave an coalition friendly introductory tribute to "our Ministers" in his team including Sarah Teather. Before his main (unscripted) speech.

Gove said:

"When we came to power there were just 200 academies across the country. There are now more than 1,300. A total of 1,000 opened in the last year. One million children are now educated in academies.

"They benefit from longer school days, smaller class sizes, better-paid teachers, personalised learning, improved discipline and higher standards all round."

But his fervently aspirational message balanced his progress report with emphasis about what a long way there was to go:

"We used to be fourth in the world for our science education, now we are 16th. We used to be seventh in the world for the quality of our children’s literacy. Now we are 25th. We used to be eighth in the world for the quality of our maths, now we are 28th.

"It is not just a national pride that has been knocked by this decline. What it means is that for millions of young people who have been through the education system under Labour, they go into a world economically more competitive than ever and whose demands are more competitive than ever, and they are not as well equipped as children in other countries to succeed to win those jobs."

Gove is very much a big hitter both in terms of presentation and substance.



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