Parents worry Gove reforms risk ‘damaging’ kids

Three out of four parents believe that pressures on schools to implement Michael Gove's reforms could harm their child's education, a new survey has found.

Seventy-three per cent of parents agreed that pressures on schools to bring in Gove's reforms could harm their child's progress.

Gove's claims that free schools are popular with parents was also thrown into doubt after the survey found 71% of parents believe that academies and free schools will not raise standards.

Parents were also concerned about Gove's plans for a new examination regime, with 62% saying the new exams will either make no difference or even make standards worse.

The survey of 1000 parents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was conducted by the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) ahead of their annual conference this weekend.

NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby called for Gove to slow down the pace of change in schools.

"By autumn this year, schools will have introduced new safeguarding advice in staff recruitment, ensured their practices comply with new freedom of information policies, made decisions on new pay policies, adopted new codes of practice for special needs pupils, introduced an entirely new curriculum, redesigned assessment and ensured every primary school is ready to offer free school meals to infants regardless of existing kitchen facilities,” he said.

"Many will also be building new classrooms to meet pupil demand or keeping up with Ofsted’s changing guidelines. Some of these new initiatives are sensible ideas, but all at the same time?”

The survey comes as schools come under pressure to improve security, following the fatal stabbing of teacher Ann Maguire in Leeds.

Campaigners have called for the government to install knife arches at schools. Asked about the proposals yesterday, deputy prime minister warned against turning schools into "battles zones."

"In terms of our reaction, I don't want to see every school feel like an airport terminal. We want our classrooms to be classrooms, not battle zones," he told LBC listeners.

"I say this with some caution – I didn't know Ann Maguire, of course – but I suspect from what little I have read about or know about her, a dedicated teacher like that wouldn't want to see the education system – I think her headmaster has said that she herself wouldn't want see the school system turn into a high-security environment. So that's the balance we are trying to strike."

Clegg is at odds with other cabinet colleagues, including Michael Gove who want to introduce tougher legislation to deal with knife offences.

Proposals for mandatory jail sentences for possessing a knife, were rejected by Liberal Democrat ministers, according to cabinet papers leaked today to the Daily Mail.