Reading the papers over the last few days, you’d be forgiven for thinking that no teachers backed Michael Gove and his agenda. But a letter in The Sunday Times yesterday told a very different story.

Signed by 76 people, most of them head teachers of outstanding schools in deprived areas, it praised him as ‘a man of great conviction’ and declared that his ‘passion to level the playing field has been unwavering.’

The letter is a reminder that many of the best heads in the country were in favour of the Gove agenda because they realised that the status quo was not good enough.

Here’s the letter and the full list of signatories:

Many column inches have been afforded to teachers celebrating the departure of Michael Gove as secretary of state for education, but we as head teachers, teachers and educationalists think it vital that we also mark his achievements and thank him for the difference he has made for some of the most disadvantaged children.

Politics aside, Gove is a man of great conviction. In education that conviction has always been to ensure that where you are born doesn’t have to determine where you end up. Gove witnessed the power of a great education first hand and has used his tenure to champion opportunities for children and families who too often have little choice.

His achievements range from laying the foundations for the first free state boarding school for children from the inner city and giving great teachers more opportunity than ever before to turn around failing schools in the poorest parts of the country to allowing great head teachers to set up new schools in disadvantaged areas to ensure that more children can benefit from outstanding teaching. These are all important and brave strides forwards that should not be overlooked.

Gove’s passion to level the playing field has been unwavering, but we will see the impact of much of his work only in years to come as children benefit from a more rigorous examination system, a more competitive teaching profession and a narrowing of the gap between children in the richest and poorest boroughs.

Change breeds controversy, and while we don’t all agree with every policy or priority, we do believe that, in time, history will remember him alongside Lord Adonis and Lord Baker as a great reformer in education. We warmly welcome Nicky Morgan into office and hope she will continue with the zeal, determination and passion of her predecessor.

Sir Greg Martin, Durand Academy; Professor Julian Le Grand, LSE; Dame Joan McVittie, Woodside High and former president of the Association of School and College Leaders; Sir David Carter, Cabot Learning Foundation; Sir Dan Moynihan, Harris Federation; Victoria Beer CBE, Ashton on Mersey School; David Hampson OBE, Tollbar Academies; Joan Deslandes, Kingsford Community School; Amanda Phillips, Old Ford and Culloden Primary Academies; Pamela Wright OBE, Wade Deacon High School; Professor Alison Wolf, King’s College London; Dame Sally Coates, Burlington Danes Academy; Patricia Sowter CBE, Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust; Anthony Seldon, Wellington College and Wellington Academy; Jane Simons, Berkhamsted School; Judette Tapper CBE, The Platanos Trust; Liam Nolan, Jackie Powell, Russell Bond and Darren Foreman, Perry Beeches Academy Trust; Dame Rachel de Souza, Inspiration Trust; Adrian Ball, Thetford Academy; Dr Chris Tomlinson, Harris Federation; Paul Smith, Parbold Douglas CE Academy Trust; Alison Edmonds, Woodpecker Hall Primary Academy; Richard Cairns, Brighton College and London Academy of Excellence; Sharon Ahmet, Cuckoo Hall Primary Academy; Matthew Laban, Kingfisher Hall Primary Academy; Lord Ralph Lucas, Good Schools Guide; Barnaby Lennon, London Academy of Excellence; Mike Griffiths, The Samworth Church Academy; Jane Bass, Powers Hall Academy and Connected Learning MAT; John Townsley, The Gorse Academies Trust; Kris Boulton, King Solomon Academy; James Easy, ARK Academy Primary; Mary Elcock, Heron Hall Secondary Academy; Sarah Counter, Canary Wharf College; Tom Clark CBE, formerly George Spencer Academy; Dame Helen Hyde, Watford Girl’s Grammar School; Martin Latham, The Robinswood Academy Trust; Dame Susan John, Lampton School; Marc Jordan, Creative Education Academies; Maura Regan, Carmel College; Hamid Patel, Tauheedul Education Trust; Charles Rigby, Challenger Trust; Toby Young, Hywel Jones & Robert Peal, West London Free School; James O’Shaughnessy & Briar Lipson, Floreat Education; Tim Knox, Centre for Policy Studies; Katharine Birbalsingh, Barry Smith, Jonathan Porter, Katie Ashford, Joe Kirby, Michaela Community School; Dennis Sewell and Ben Thompson, Trinity Academy; Jo Glen, Dolphin School; Sir Andrew Carter, South Farnham School; Mark Goodchild, Challenge Partners; Karen Walsh, Cedar Mount Academy; Alison Colwell, The Ebbsfleet Academy; Dame Dana Ross-Wawrzynski, Gary Handforth, Elizabeth Allen CBE, Bright Futures Educational Trust; Professor Anthony O’Hear, University of Buckingham; Jennifer Bexon-Smith, Tudor Grange Multi-Academy Trust; Mark Lehain, Bedford Free School; John Tomasevic, Torch Academy Gateway Trust; Alan Davies, Great Sankey High School; Kate Dethridge, Churchend Primary; John Mcintosh, former head of the London Oratory

Tags: Cameron, Education, Education reform, Michael Gove, Reshuffle