Michael Gove outlines plans to break down the 'Berlin Wall' between private and state schools

Education Secretary Michael Gove. Credit: PA Wire

Education Secretary Michael Gove has vowed to break down the "Berlin Wall" between private and state schools in education as he revealed plans to shake-up the education system in England

Mr Gove said he wanted standards to be so high that you "simply cannot tell whether it is a state school or an independent fee-paying school".

The Education Secretary said English education was no longer "bog standard" but insisted there was more to do to raise standards.

ITV News' Political Correspondent Libby Weiner reports:

The Education Secretary said he wanted a focus on more rigorous testing as well as increased power and discipline for teachers.

In a speech at the London Academy of Excellence in east London, Mr Gove said head teachers need to be given "more power and freedom" to ensure pupil's behaviour is "exemplary".

Other measures announced include:

  • Longer school days of up to 10 hours

  • The introduction of common entrance exams

  • A return to traditional methods of discipline

  • Greater examples of Classics teachings in state schools

However, critics have accused Mr Gove of "messing with the national curriculum".

Christine Blower, leader of the National Union of Teachers, said Gove was "absolutely wrong" on his suggestion that more testing in schools is needed and claimed his calls for more power and freedom for teachers' to discipline students implied that state schools are "chaotic".

Labour said school standards will only improve once the quality of teaching in classrooms is raised.

"Whether on discipline, delivering extra-curricular activities or on improving learning outcomes, it all hinges on the quality of the teacher in the classroom," shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said.

"Raising the quality of teaching - that is where the focus needs to be and that is what Labour is concerned with. The Tories have lost sight of this and are undermining school standards as a result."

Michael Gove outlines his plans to reform the education system. Credit: PA Wire

Meanwhile, Michael Gove has been warned not to surround himself with "yes men" as the row over the replacement of the Ofsted chief rumbled on.

Read: Michael Gove defends his decision to replace Ofsted chief