Gift for the teaching unions as Gove dropped as education secretary

Teaching unions were celebrating today after the shock announcement that Michael Gove was stepping down from his role as education secretary to become chief whip.

The former journalist had dismal approving ratings and was engaged in an increasingly bitter war-of-words with teachers and unions.

Although the Tory party had a small lead in the opinion polls among teachers heading into the election, it was converted into a 40% deficit after four years of Gove at the Department for Education.

A recent YouGov poll showed people opposed schools becoming academies by 41% to 31% and schools becoming free schools by 53% to 23%.

However, the move may not be as much of a demotion as it first appears. The chief whip role offers him huge personal power, especially in the hands of a careerist enjoying equally close friendships with George Osborne and David Cameron.

Gove's free school reforms are also now set in stone, meaning his removal will do little to change the path of the government's education policy.

But his successor, Nicky Morgan, is expected to have a less aggressive approach toward taking on the teaching establishment.

Greg Hands, an Osborne loyalist, was tipped for the chief executive post, which would have given him an extraordinary degree of control over the Tory party.