Michael Gove said he wouldn’t want to “inflict” himself on primary school pupils after he was asked if he would grant a petition request demanding the Education Secretary gain first-hand experience on the teaching frontline.
A petition, hosted by online campaign group 38 Degrees, is calling for Mr Gove to spend at least half a term teaching a primary school class before he makes any more “improvements” to the education system.
The petition currently has 105,000 signatures.
Mr Gove was asked if he would be willing to grant the demand during a visit to Bournside School and Sixth Form Centre.
“The principle, that people in public service should get out there and learn about what is happening on the front line is absolutely right,” he said.
“One of the things I find incredibly useful in my job is days like today when I have the chance to meet students and teachers and also the elected representatives or soon to be elected representatives who are responsible for serving communities.
“I can understand why someone might think ‘the Education Secretary, let’s send him to teach for half a term’ but in a way I find out more from talking to teachers from a wide variety of schools during the course of the many visits that I make.
“I have an enormous respect for the job that teachers do and while there are all sorts of things that politicians are called on to do, if you are going to have a group of students who are going to be taught for half a term then they deserve to be taught by a highly qualified professional instead of having me inflicted on them.”