MP vows no let-up in schools’ reform

DETERMINED Bognor Regis MP Nick Gibb spent yesterday getting back to work improving education.

Mr Gibb has been given his first red boxes to reflect his restored status as a British government minister.

He warned the teaching unions, which celebrated the removal of education secretary Michael Gove in the reshuffle, there would be no let-up in the pace 
of change.

Mr Gibb, the Conservative MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, said: “All the policies that Mr Gove put in place will continue.

“It will be my job to implement the reforms that have been started – the curriculum changes and alterations to GCSEs.

“I’m really committed to promoting literacy in schools. After six years in a primary school, children should be able to read 
and write.

“I want to make sure that happens, particularly to children from poorer backgrounds.

“It’s about getting reading established early in their school career and maintaining it so they can read confidently.”

Mr Gibb said he was still committed to the phonic method of teaching reading.

“Phonics is absolutely key to that. We’ve had three years of phonics testing of six-year-olds taken each June.

“The results are broken down in local authority areas and I will be looking at the disparities between them.

“I’m also fully committed to the policy of enabling academies and free schools to be created.

“The government will do what it can to help make them a success. I believe it’s the way ahead,” he said.

The National Union of Teachers welcomed the departure of Mr Gove. General secretary Christine Blower said: “Michael Gove has clearly lost the support of the profession and parents for justifiable reasons.

“His search for headlines over speaking to the profession has clearly angered teachers.” She would seek a meeting with the new secretary of state.

The surprise appointment of Mr Gibb as the new minister for school reform was announced by the prime minister, David Cameron, on Tuesday afternoon.

It was part of a wide-ranging reshuffle of the government before next May’s general election. Mr Gibb’s promotion restored him to a ministerial role in the Department for Education after he had become the schools minister immediately after the last general election in May 2010.

He was in the role for more than two years until a previous reshuffle in September 2012. He put his ejection from the government down to coalition politics and said he was ‘absolutely delighted’ to be restored.

Mr Gove has been replaced by Nicky Morgan. “I know her quite well and I think she will make an excellent secretary of state,” said 
Mr Gibb.