Schools minister Nick Gibb: ‘Teachers should free to use 50-year-old teaching techniques’

Teachers must be allowed to use methods that “have been out of fashion for up to 50 years” schools minister Nick Gibb has told a conference.

Mr Gibb said he wanted to “liberate” the profession from the “restriction and prescription” that had “permeated the profession” for the past 20 years.

Responding to a question at an event on social mobility he said: “Sometimes you have to almost allow teachers to use methods that have been so out of fashion for 20, 30, 40, 50 years, you have to take active measures to enable those teachers to use those methods and they are free to do so.”

He did not name the old fashioned techniques and stressed that this did not mean he expected all teachers to employ them.

“We are saying all teachers are free to use the methods they believe to be the most effective in the classroom” he added.

Mr Gibb spoke as the government has introduced a new focus on grammar and learning times tables in the primary curriculum: moves that have attracted criticism that children are being put off education through drilling.

Responding to other questions at the Sutton Trust’s Best in Class summit in London, Mr Gibb also underlined his support for the government’s academisation regime. He claimed that the poor performance of a number of large academy chains was down to merely ‘teething problems” in huge structural reform.

He also claimed that the Multi-Academy Trust model provided great opportunities for younger staff to be promoted to headship because the executive head took on much of the administrative burden.

He told the audience: “It’s always surprised me you can become a partner at Freshfields in your early-30s but we expect you to be 45 before you take on a headship of a secondary school.

“There are examples that contradict that… It can be done, and I would like to see able young people being promoted swifter through the ranks.”

Mr Gibb used his speech to the event to have a further sharp dig at Knowsley City Council in the north west, for its poor GCSE performance.

He accused the council of providing “excuses for the underperformance of schools” that represented “an unacceptable complacency which prioritises maintaining a comfortable status quo for adults over protecting the life chances of children.”

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