I have worked in education as a teacher and an education officer for many years.
I think it is time that education stopped being a political football. Children and the needs of our communities should be at the heart of education policy.
Instead we have Mr Gove who thinks his friends in the world of big business can offer quick fix solutions with free schools and academies. But, the latest research shows the same pattern of failure being repeated. Only a percentage of academies have been judged good by OFSTED.
30 per cent of free schools have been judged poor or inadequate. Thank goodness Sheffield City Council has resisted the attempt to have free schools here.
We have long had underachievement in Sheffield. This is masked by the overall figures for achievement in Sheffield where schools like Silverdale pull the figures for the city up. The fact is there is a divide in the city with the more affluent areas showing higher achievement and relatively poorer areas struggling.
We need to address inequalities across the city. Free school meals for all primary age children will help here.
Second, we need the restitution of the Education Maintenance Grant which allows young people from poorer households to stay on at school.Third, we need to work with parents, with young people and with teachers.