Nick Gibb addressed the Association of Teachers and Lecturers’ annual conference this morning, and spoke about teacher recruitment, problems with Ofsted and the DfE’s mistakes on the new key stage 2 assessments.

Here are the main points made by the schools minister:

Teacher recruitment

There is no recruitment crisis – “it’s a challenge” – something he has said to Schools Week before

The government has taken “every possible measure” to deal with the recruitment “challenge” and its advertising campaign has been “very effective”

There are always going to be people leaving the profession, but 14k returned last year



The government is “taking the workload issue very seriously”; last weekend it released three expert reports on the matter



Academisation is about “making sure we don’t have two systems of oversight”



Since Ofsted was established, some things they’ve been telling schools to do are not based on accepted evidence

Some Ofsted inspectors have their own view of how to teach

Gibb says he didn’t press for Ofsted to be abolished, and doesn’t know where rumours came from that he did


Cost of academisation

Labour is wrong on the cost of academisation, because they haven’t factored in money from the spending review


Academy finances

On high rates of CEO pay, he said people will “make mistakes from time to time”, but financial scrutiny of academies is more rigorous than local authority maintained schools

The recent education act gives government more power over scrutiny of academies, including over finances


Academy performance

The government is taking “very swift action” against academy trusts that are underperforming – although Schools Week revealed last summer that some academies have been inadequate for several years

Regarding allegations of academies excluding difficult children, Gibb said all academies are subject to admissions and fair access codes



“I’ve been worried about the challenge of assessments, I have to admit”

Gibb admitted mistakes were made with the new key stage 2 tests, including an error in an exemplification document published by the government that led to confusion

Regarding GCSE and A level specs that aren’t out yet, he said there’s at least one exam board in place for each subject

Gibb said he “personally put huge pressure” on Ofqual and exam boards over unreleased specifications


Parents on school governing boards

Having one parent on board of governors doesn’t necessarily mean a school is responsive to parental concerns

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  1. Janet Downs

    Gibb claims Labour is wrong over the cost of wholesale academization. But giving £25k to each school to manage the legal costs of conversion would cost half-a-billion alone. Added to that are inducements for sponsors; start-up grants etc. There’s also the cost which falls on local authorities: council taxpayers have to stump up to pay for the decoupling of schools from LAs to academy trusts. And that’s without any deficits which are left with LAs while surpluses are transferred.

  2. Janet Downs

    If ‘financial scrutiny of academies is more rigorous than local authority maintained schools’, why did it take whistleblowers to let the EFA know about financial irregularities at so many MATs including the latest, Perry Beeches?
    Auditors of MAT accounts only have to ensure the accounts are made up correctly. They don’t have to ensure value for money so inflated salaries for CEOs, the £5000 desk for the executive principal and thousands of pounds on ‘hospitality’ can breeze through. Academy trustees are supposed to declare conflicts of interest and related party transactions but while they exist there will always be the perception of possible wrongdoing. Margaret Hodge, ex-chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said such transactions should be banned.

  3. Janet Downs

    ‘Having one parent on board of governors doesn’t necessarily mean a school is responsive to parental concerns’, said Gibb. So the answer is to scrap them. Is it still April 1?