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  1. ITV Report

Education Secretary: 'No reverse gear' on academy plan for all schools

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has said there is "no reverse gear" on the government's plan to turn all schools in England into academies by 2020.

Speaking to teachers at the annual NASUWT conference in Birmingham, Ms Morgan said the proposal would "not be pulled back" while insisting that the move would empower teachers and enhance standards all over the country.

This is about creating a system that is school-led, one that puts trust in you, the professionals inside the system.

Giving you the freedom from government to do your jobs as you see fit based on the evidence of what you know works.

It isn't for me, or officials in White Hall or OFSTED to decide how best to teach or run schools, it's for you, the teachers who know better than anyone what works in the classroom and what your pupils need.

– Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan

She added that ideas outlined in the government's 'Education Excellence Everywhere White Paper' would improve the teaching profession by focusing on initial training as well as continuous education.

However Ms Morgan was jeered when she appeared to chastise teachers for "talking down their own profession".

She admitted that the recruitment of teachers was "a challenge" but complained that press releases from the unions seem to highlight the negative aspects of teaching rather than its "rewarding" elements.

Teaching unions have a choice.

Spend the next four years doing battle with us and doing down the profession that you represent in the process or stepping up - seizing the opportunities promised and offered in the White Paper and helping us to shape the future of your education system...

Let's resolve to work together so we can build the education system we can all agree that we all want.

– Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan

During the Q&A session after Ms Morgan's speech, NASUWT general secretary, Chris Keates, urged her to abandon imposing the academies system on the remaining local authority-controlled schools in England.

She said: "Once again Nicky, the Chancellor's announcements are unravelling.

"Don't allow yourself to become the next IDS (Iain Duncan Smith), listen to the concerns being raised.

"If you want education excellence everywhere, than recognise there are outstanding academies, outstanding community schools, outstanding foundation schools, outstanding voluntary-aided schools which prove academies do not have the monopoly on excellence."