Children from chaotic homes must receive state intervention, says Gove
The Education Secretary has uncharacteristically called for state intervention in domestic affairs, in the case of children who are “actively harmed” by chaotic homes.
In a speech at the centre-right Politeia thinktank in London, Michael Gove warned that some of the most disadvantaged young children were being “actively harmed” by family life, leaving them “unprepared” for school.
He was asked by Graham Allen, Labour MP for Nottingham North, about his stance on early intervention. Allen cited the experiences of some primary head teachers, who had noted that children arrived at school unable to read, speak in a sentence, or recognise the difference between letters and numbers.
Allen explained that evidence suggests that early intervention gives primary level teachers better “raw material” to work with.
Gove, who conceded that Allen was “absolutely right”, cautioned that it is important to "exercise a degree of restraint" with state intervention.
The Education Secretary, however, did agree that in some cases state intervention would be necessary.
“I think we both agree that there are a group of children for whom the state has to intervene because they will grow up in circumstances so chaotic that it's not just a case that they are neglected, it is the case that they are actively harmed by the failure to be in a nurturing environment," he said.
Gove continued by again championing the conversion of failing schools into academies in an effort to “raise standards”. He said there were hundreds of under-performing primary schools, and that he would be writing to MPs to ask them to support his plans to turn poor primaries into academies.
According to Gove, 310 poor primaries have now become, or are in the process of becoming academies.
Gove also called for the freedom to spend taxpayers’ money on ambitious policies that might turn out to be mistakes.
Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg countered: "Michael Gove's education policies are putting standards at risk. 10,000 teachers have left the profession, we've seen the biggest cuts to education budgets since the 1950s and thousands were let down by his GCSE fiasco”.