Michael Gove slammed for ignoring Tower Hamlets schools’ successes

Education Secretary Michael Gove

Education Secretary Michael Gove - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Achievements of schools in Tower Hamlets are being overlooked by ministers because they are not down to government policies, a former education secretary has warned.

Estelle Morris accused Tory education minister Michael Gove of ignoring the performance of East End schools – despite above average GCSE results in difficult circumstances.

“Why don’t we hear more from the government about Tower Hamlets?” asked Ms Morris, who was education secretary in 2001/02. “It is undoubtedly a beacon of success of which we should be proud and from which we should learn.

“Yet mention of its achievement is rare in the speeches of education ministers or on the department for education’s website. Maybe another statistic about the borough offers the explanation: only two of its schools are academies.

“If the ambition is for more first-rate schools, the evidence from Tower Hamlets shows that not every school has to be an academy to achieve it,” she added in an article for the Guardian newspaper.

Mr Gove has urged more schools to apply for academy status, under which schools are run by central government rather than local authorities.

But Ms Morris’ criticisms were echoed by Kenny Frederick, principal of George Green’s School on the Isle of Dogs, who said schools in Tower Hamlets had a positive relationship with the local authority.

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She said: “I think it’s appalling the only schools Gove is interested in are academies, with community schools seen as the poor relations.

“He is just pushing his own agenda. It’s a personal thing with him and he just wants to ignore Tower Hamlets.”

A spokeswoman for the department for education insisted it recognises the mertis of schools across the country.

“We would encourage the highest performing schools in Tower Hamlets to become academy sponsors, in order to share their expertise and ensure other schools across London achieve such high standards,” she added.