Labour’s Powell lays into Morgan’s ‘top-down academisation drive’
SHADOW education minister Lucy Powell accused the Conservative government of doing nothing to address teachers’ real issues, launching a “top-down” academisation programme instead.
Speaking on Sunday night at NASUWT’s annual conference, Ms Powell attacked her opposite number Nicky Morgan for doing little to address the key issues affecting the British education system.
Her words came after a weekend in which Ms Morgan slammed teachers for not co-operating with the government, for supposedly “doing down” the profession by talking about the schools crisis and even for having “ridiculous” marking rules.
“The Conservatives’ plans for an unnecessary and costly top-down reorganisation of our school system is something that we will fiercely oppose,” Ms Powell told NASUWT members.
“Schools are facing a whole array of big issues, be it teacher shortages, places at crisis, the widening attainment gap between rich and poor, real-terms budget cuts. The white paper [on forcing schools to become academies] does nothing to address those.”
She said the government’s claims about academies were a “false argument.”
“There are some excellent academies and some excellent community schools, there are some poor academies and some poor community schools and other types of schools.
“No school has a monopoly on excellence and no school has a monopoly on not doing so well either.”
Talking to the Star aout Ms Morgan’s conference address, Ms Powell said: “Given that there is a really serious and chronic issue with teacher shortages, which the government are only just starting to admit exists, one would have thought in that context you would be a lot more willing to work with the profession.
“It was a bit of a poor political choice to come here and be so combative.
“For sure, there’s always going to be a bit of a tension between government and teaching unions or other unions, but I think she could have come here with a more constructive approach and that might’ve work better for her.”
Ms Morgan has been severely criticised after a weekend of laying into teachers and education professionals.
Despite heckles during her conference address, she was adamant that the white paper was here to stay.
“There will be no pulling back from that vision, there is no reverse gear when it comes to our education reforms,” Ms Morgan said.