Oh dear. As I explained yesterday, the most likely thing the Coalition parties could do to defuse Tristram Hunt’s troublemaking teaching qualifications debate this afternoon would be to table an amendment to the Labour motion which acknowledges the differences that both sides have, while supporting current government progress on education reform. This was the amendment that ministers came up with, signed by David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Michael Gove and David Laws:
Line 1, leave out from ‘House’ to end and add ‘notes that this Coalition Government is raising the quality of teaching by quadrupling Teach First, increasing bursaries to attract top graduates into teaching, training more teachers in the classroom through School Direct and providing extra funding for disadvantaged pupils through the pupil premium which schools can use to attract and reward great teachers; notes that the part of the Coalition led by the Deputy Prime Minister believes all schools should employ teachers with Qualified Teacher Status, and the part of the Coalition led by the Prime Minister believes free schools and academies should retain the freedom to hire teachers without Qualified Teacher Status; further notes that funding agreements with academies and free schools will not be altered in relation to Qualified Teacher Status prior to the next election; and regrets the findings of the recent OECD skills report which revealed that those young people educated almost entirely under the previous administration have some of the worst levels of literacy and numeracy in the developed world, underlining the need for radical schools reform and demonstrating why nobody can trust the Opposition to protect education standards.’
Unfortunately, the Speaker has just rejected the amendment because of the last line arguing that ‘nobody can trust the Opposition to protect education standards’. It may be that the Speaker accepts an amended amendment without the overtly political line at the bottom.
Privately, Gove’s allies are aware that Hunt has had a good start to his job, and expect that given the problems that some free schools have experienced in recent weeks, the Shadow Education Secretary will have another good outing this afternoon. Hunt is continuing his broadcast tour, with more interviews this evening. He’s certainly making more of an impact than his predecessor, partly because he has a natural aptitude for this sort of thing, but also because Clegg’s intervention in the education debate has finally exposed a weak spot for Labour to play with.Tags: Education reform, Michael Gove, Tristram Hunt, UK politics