Poll demonstrates opposition to education reforms
Councils should keep responsibilities over schools and that teaching profession requires dedicated training, the majority says
Teaching unions assembling for their annual Easter conferences will be emboldened by the results of the Guardian/ICM poll suggesting strong public opposition to planks of Michael Gove's education reforms.
The chief single structural modify to English education since the coalition came to power has been the speedy conversion of secondary schools to semi-independent academies. There has been comparatively modest opposition at Westminster, not slightest for the reason that New Labour initially invented the schools. These are independent from local authorities while being financed through private contracts.
Although poll uncovers that the voters are not convinced: only 32% say that "it is better for schools to become academies, and cut free of local councils".
On the contrary, a majority of 57% states that councils have a significant educational role, in addition to "should keep responsibilities in relation to schools".
Academies are typically strongly opposed by the oldest, which voters over 65, 63% believe it would be improved if councils kept their responsibilities, however Gove can relax from a fair division from young people – 48% of the under-25s see town halls as having an important role, as against 47% who would rather see schools cutting loose.
Gove will be evenly happy that Conservative voters are at the back of the stampede to academy conversion – by 56% to 38% they want councils to get out of the way. There is a clear majority other than amongst voters of all other stripes – 68% of Labour supporters, 58% of Lib Dems and 58% of Ukip supporters as well – for councils retaining their responsibilities towards schools.
"Effective implementation and not permanent revolution" was what the ATL union's conference in Manchester that schools needed said the poll came as David Laws, the Lib Dem schools minister.
In a finely concealed disapproval of Gove, Laws said he understood the burden that the rapid pace of change in education policy has placed on teachers, adding that "some politicians seek consensus, and others prefer their "dividing lines" – they search out controversy and seek to perpetuate it."
Policy change was inevitable when new governments come to power after long periods of single party government, he said, but "there is a balance to be struck between governments having the right to introduce new policies for which they have a democratic mandate, and the need to avoid an excessive politicisation of key aspects of education policy."
Gove's characteristic bends on the academy idea is the free school.
This rule is yet less popular compared to the general move towards academy status – overall 63% of voters say that "teaching is a profession which requires dedicated training", nearly twice as many as the 33% who say "people with different career backgrounds should be welcomed into the classroom, to expand the teaching talent pool".