College Principal addresses Labour Party fringe meeting on Gove’s education reforms

Mervyn Wilson, Principal, the Co-operative CollegeMichael Gove’s education reform agenda poses serious threats to the state education system but also creates major opportunities for a co-operative response. This was the message from Co-operative College Principal Mervyn Wilson to a fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool organised by the NASUWT and UNISON.

Over 100 delegates attended to hear a panel of speakers including Shadow Education Secretary Andy Burnham, Chris Keates of the NASUWT and John Richards from UNISON address the challenge of “Beyond Gove’s Academies”.

Speakers highlighted the increasing marketisation of education and the rapid growth of predatory chains and free schools, studio schools and UTCs as part of this process and, in particular, the need for a co-operative alternative.

“The co-operative model offers a distinct alternative to simple opposition to a process which has gained real momentum,” explained Mervyn.

“In the past trade unions and other who are hostile to Gove’s acceleration of these processes have criticised but not offered an alternative. We are facing a serious threat to the state education system but it also creates an opportunity for a serious response.

“Whilst retaining their belief in the state education system, trade unions are increasingly recognising the co-operative model as the alternative to privatisation.”

Read more about the meeting at

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