FORMER education secretary Michael Gove has refused to take the blame for Portsmouth’s below par education standards.
Speaking on a visit to the city yesterday, he said the city’s poor record of results was a problem ‘inherited’ by the previous Labour government.
We don’t make decisions on the curriculum, appointments of staff or the budget. All of that has been removed by Michael Gove, so that he could have that power to himself.Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth South
And he pointed the finger at former Lib Dem council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson for not doing more while overseeing schooling.
It comes the day after parliamentary election candidates at a Portsmouth South hustings organised by The News voiced concerns that students were under performing and not getting the right opportunities.
Mr Gove said: ‘I’d agree, standards have been good enough.
‘It’s been a problem we inherited. It was a Lib Dem authority here that had responsibility for schools longer than anyone else and Gerald Vernon-Jackson has been responsible for the quality of education here.
‘We have encouraged the conversion of schools to academy status and encouraged sponsors coming in to turn these schools around.’
Mr Gove added: ‘We’re now seeing a transformation, but there is still more to be done.
‘More schools, particularly primary schools, should apply for academy status.’
Fears have separately been raised city schooling is reaching a ‘crisis point’ and there is a severe shortage in places for children. But Cllr Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Portsmouth South, rebutted Mr Gove’s claims.
‘Local authorities have been completely cut out of decision-making,’
Cllr Vernon-Jackson added: ‘We don’t make decisions on the curriculum, appointments of staff or the budget.
‘All of that has been removed by Michael Gove, so that he could have that power to himself.’
Mr Gove was visiting to support Conservative Flick Drummond in her campaign to become next MP for Portsmouth South.