Michael Gove praises Stratford school as he unveils Conservative education plans

By Rob Virtue on February 3, 2014 3:54 PM |

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Education Secretary Michael Gove chose the London Academy of Excellence in Stratford for a keynote speech on the future of state schools on Monday.

He explained how he wanted mainstream schools to be run like their private counterparts and put the Newham institution forward as an example of what can be done.

Mr Gove said pupils should study for longer hours - up to nine or ten hours a day - and pushed for more testing for all, including the common entrance exam currently taken by 13 year olds in private schools.

He said: "So a future Conservative Government would help state schools - just like independent schools - to offer a school day 9 or 10 hours long - allowing time for structured homework sessions, prep, which will be particularly helpful for those children who come from homes where it's difficult to secure the peace and quiet necessary for hard study".

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Mr Gove was also forced to defend accusations of cronyism within the Conservative Party from the outgoing head of Ofsted, Labour peer Baroness Morgan, who said she felt she would be replaced by a Tory supporter.

The Education Secretary responded by saying the appointment would be made on merit and party political affiliations would not come into it.

The London Academy of Excellence was founded in 2012 as the first selective free school in Newham.

In its second year, six of its students were offered Oxbridge places.

Speaking about the school on Monday, Gove said: "This start-up - a genuinely independent school which is free to all, socially inclusive and academically excellent, drawing its students from one of the most disadvantaged boroughs in the country, but sending them to the best universities in the world - is a wonderful example of what's changing in state education."

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