Michael Gove's Education Changes Put Children's Schooling At Risk, Say Parents

Three out of four parents believe Education Secretary Michael Gove's school reforms will damage their children's education, according to a survey out today.

The poll of just over 1,000 parents by the National Association of Head Teachers reveals 73 per cent believe introducing too much change too quickly damages their child's education.

Schools are facing a range of changes in September, with a new national curriculum coming into force and the syllabus for new tougher exams being introduced into the classroom for the first time.

The last four years have seen radical changes pushed through by the Coalition Government, with the growth in the number of academies and the introduction of free schools. According to the parents' poll, 62 per cent believe the introduction of new exams will either make no difference or make standards worse. In addition, 71 per cent believe academies and free schools will not raise standards.

Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the NAHT, said heads wanted reforms to be planned in advance and scheduled 'sensibly' .

Laying out exactly how all-encompassing the changes are for teachers and pupils, he said: "By autumn this year, schools will have introduced new safeguarding advice in staff recruitment, ensured their practices comply with new freedom of information policies, made decisions on new pay policies, adopted new codes of practice for special needs pupils, introduced an entirely new curriculum, redesigned assessment and ensured every primary school is ready to offer free school meals to infants regardless of existing kitchen facilities," he added.

"Many will also be building new classrooms to meet pupil demand or keeping up with Ofsted's changing guidelines. Some of these new initiatives are sensible ideas, but all at the same time?"

Hobby said that while most school leaders recognise the need for reform, the Government's initiatives would garner more support 'if they appeared to be better planned'.

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"There are no silver bullets in education reform, no bright ideas that will transform everything overnight," he said. "Getting the basics right in every school, doing a few things consistently well over an extended period of time – these are the only 'secrets' of success."

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