Ever wondered how many bad teachers there are in the UK’s state schools? Well, wonder no more, because no less a personage than the Secretary of State for Education himself has given a definitive answer – and it might be a few more than you think.
The moment of revelation came during a Newsnight interview last night (Wednesday 9th July – it’s still up on the BBC iPlayer at time of writing; the interview in question is about 25 minutes in) when, in the context of a piece on today’s strike action by NUT, Unite, GMB and other union members, the interviewer pointed out that, according to a recent poll, just 16% of teachers supported Gove’s reforms of the education system. Gove’s riposte after spluttering that he wasn’t sure about the accuracy of the poll (ironic really considering what he was about to say) was to point out that actually ‘outstanding teachers and head teachers’ supported his reforms. The reporter asked if that meant that only ‘bad teachers’ opposed them, to which Gove responded unequivocally (unusually for a politician) ‘yes’.
So there you have it. If you support Gove’s wholesale dismantling of the state education system, you’re good. If you oppose it, you’re bad. Nice to see such a nuanced, thoughtful response from a man with such massive responsibility. If Gove is right and those 84% of teachers who don’t support him are the bad ones, then the number of bad teachers in Britain’s schools is approximately 367,920 (based on the latest figures available from the DoE that say, as of November 2011 there are 438,000 full time teachers in the nation’s schools). That’s a lot of capability proceedings right there. Good job I’m in a union, eh?