During the education debate at the Labour conference today there was an inspirational speech by headmaster Dave Brunton about success of City Academy Norwich. How talk about how a failing school had been turned round under new management. At least I found it inspirational. The conference delegates responded with sullen silence during the speech and derisory applause at the end.
Then it got worse. A schoolgirl from Paddington Academy, spoke and then was heckled. She is a Year 11 pupil who came to this country as an asylum seeker and was proud and grateful for the fantastic education she was benefiting from.
Education Secretary Michael Gove said:
“Heckling a schoolgirl because she goes to an academy is disgraceful. But it also shows the real face of Labour – a party where aspiration and achievement gets booed. Stephen Twigg needs to condemn this and the culprit must be expelled from the party. This pupil is a credit to her school and proof that we need to expand the academies programme.”
Writing in his recent book, Education, Education, Education, Andrew Adonis praising Paddington Academy said:
“Paddington was a crystallising moment for me on the impact of Academies in bridging England’s ‘two nations’ of rich and poor.”
The response to this schoolgirl by Labour Conference is in stark contrast to the response Quddus Akinwale – a schoolboy from Burlington Danes Academy – received when he spoke to Conservative conference last year.