Nicky Morgan’s three messages for school leaders

Nicky Morgan will address the Association of School and College Leaders today. From what we’ve seen of the speech so far, we’re not expecting anything new. Here are her three main messages.

Educational underperformance is often focused in certain parts of England

“I don’t need to tell you that too many of those struggling schools are concentrated in certain parts of the country – many in our coastal towns and rural areas.

“Simply hoping for improvement isn’t enough, because these areas are not only underperforming, but they also lack the capacity and support that they need to improve.

“Quite simply that means – just by virtue of being born in one part of the country, a child is destined to receive a worse start in life.”

When it comes to running schools, heads are best

Why do we want all schools to become academies? Because we believe that the people best placed to lead schools are you – the heads.

“Why do we believe in multi academy trusts? Because we want the best leaders to extend their reach to as many schools as possible.

“Why have we stripped back the national curriculum? Because you know – better than we ever could – how best to inspire and engage your students.”

Council oversight of schools does not equal accountability

“Let’s dispense with this notion once and for all that somehow local authority control of schools led to democratic accountability.

“Let me honestly ask you, how many local elections in your patch have been fought over the quality of education? I don’t ever remember being on a doorstep and being quizzed on what my local authority was doing on local schools.”

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  1. John Fowler

    Interesting that the Secretary of State does not appear to know the difference between local democratic accountability and local democratic legitimacy. I can’t say I met anybody knocking on my door during the general election asking me what I thought of the coalition government’s track record either, but that does not change the legitimacy (under our current constitutional arrangements) of the Government to propose changes to the school system, for better or worse.

  2. wizzobravo

    For goodness sake, can’t anyone put this Minister to some serious questioning and actually challenge her unsubstantiated sound bites? How do multi-academy trusts offer any democratic accountability? Parents, teachers, heads, governors and local authorities have no influence on whether a school can be taken over by an academy chain. The Regional School Commissioner is appointed, the DfE is not directly accountable to local communities and neither is the Minister for Education. So much now seems to depend on one person’s views. Last time I looked, this pretty much summed up the definition of autocracy.

  3. I think if the ASCL swallows this garbage as it has consistently done for the last 5 years, one has to ask, “what is the point of this organisation”?

    ASCL has sat on its hands whilst the education system in this country is being destroyed. If you don’t resist this condemnation of the profession then you accept it in the eyes of the public. It’s nothing to do with politics.

    I guess there is no-one in the organisation prepared to speak truth to power. Do the Headteacher members of ASCL feel happy about this state of affairs? Do they like being treated like naughty 5 year olds?

    The Secretary of State, as did Gove before her, says Headteachers are brilliant whilst at the same time dropping a cart load of manure on their heads. Come on ASCL. Show some bottle for a change!

  4. Janet Downs

    Morgan’s robotic responses only confirm the comments by the new chair of the Education Select Committee: the DfE response to educational change is ‘Acting first; thinking later.’ But in Morgan’s case it seems to be ‘thinking never’.
    Her utterances follow a familiar line: knock the North and repeat that only heads in academies have ‘freedom’. The ‘schools don’t feature in local elections’ line has been trotted out before to supposedly scupper the argument that LAs are democratically accountable when it comes to education. But parents hold LAs responsible for dealing with concerns about schools (even academies over which LAs have no influence) – that’s’democratic accountability’ in action.