Nick Gibb Compared To Chairman Mao After Defending Academies On Radio 4

A 'car crash interview'

Schools minister Nick Gibb appeared on Radio 4 on Friday morning to defend his party's recent proposal to force schools in England to convert to academies.

The Tory MP's appearance didn't go down too well with the general public, however, with one listener dubbing it a "car crash interview".

Gibb insisted there should be "one system" for schools, which led to some going so far as to compare the minister with Chinese communist revolutionary Chairman Mao.

Gibb was pressed to explain why the government would convert already successful schools into academies.

"We can't have two systems, a local authority-run system and an academy-run system. In six years' time we want to make sure every school is an academy."

More than two thirds of secondary schools have already been converted to academies, and 18% of primaries.

"We want to make sure we have good schools in every part the country," Gibb said. "Even in good local authority areas, like Oxfordshire, there are schools which are not as good as the popular schools that parents want to send their children to."

Some listeners raised questions over where private schools fitted into Gibb's "one system" vision.

He continued: "If you can get a headteacher who is running a successful school to have that school become part of a multi-academy trust, where he can spread that formula, use his expertise, to take the winner formula that made his school successful and change weaker schools into the kind of school he is leading.. that is the essence of a multi-academy trust programme."

Gibb's characterisation of a typical headteacher as male also raised some eyebrows.

Writing on his website, former political columnist Michael Rosen said: "It should also be noted that this morning [Gibb] seems to imagine that all headteachers are men.

"When we say that these Tories are stuck in some strange parallel universe made up of nannies, private schools, laughing at people who write to Jeremy Corbyn, ex-members of the Bullingdon Club, talking about people as a 'bunch of migrants' is staggering to hear them confirming the narrow, secluded culture they grew up in, on a mass media outlet like radio."


What's Hot