Gove accuses unions of ‘soft bigotry’
ONE of the most senior Scots in the UK government yesterday launched an attack on the unions and accused them of “bigotry”.
Education Secretary Michael Gove warned that the unions could hold the UK back because of their opposition to reform.
Commenting on his efforts to reform schools in England, Mr Gove claimed that unions had “low expectations” for children.
Mr Gove has pioneered a Swedish idea in the UK by introducing free schools in England, something that was first proposed by the Scottish Tories for north of the Border.
The two largest teaching unions have mounted a campaign of industrial action over issues including pay, pensions and workload. Mr Gove warned their actions would “hold back our children”.
Mr Gove also criticised union general secretaries who asked him not to single out high-achieving schools for praise because it would make others feel “uncomfortable”.
Mr Gove told activists in Birmingham: “How can we succeed as a country when every time we find success and celebrate it there are those who say ‘No, someone might feel uncomfortable’. What I feel uncomfortable about is the soft bigotry of low expectations that lead so many to believe that some people can’t be as good as the rest.”
Mr Gove insisted he viewed teaching as the “noblest profession, the highest calling”.
However, he added: “At the moment, the general secretaries of some of their unions are making it very difficult. The general secretaries are ordering – ordering – their members not to cover classes where another teacher might be ill or away at a relative’s funeral.”
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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