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Will West Lancs Tories denounce Gibb the Elitist?

05.17.10 | Comment?

My press release from earlier on:
A Labour councillor, Paul Cotterill, has challenged West Lancashire Conservatives to disassociate themselves from the remarks of the new Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, made on his first full day in office.  Cllr Cotterill says the remarks are an insult to staff and students at Edge Hill Uinversity.

Mr Gibb is reported to have told officials:


I would rather have a physics graduate from Oxbridge without a PGCE teaching in a school than a physics graduate from one of the rubbish universities with a PGCE.

Mr Gibb has not denied making the remarks, with a spokesman merely saying ‘No comment’.

Paul Cotterill, leader of the Labour Group on West Lancashire Borough Council, said of the remarks:

This is astonishingly crass elitism from a Conservative minister.  It really does provide evidence that, beneath the veneer of change, the old attitudes still have a firm hold in the Tory party.  Indeed, his leader appears to be little better.  He spoke as recently as January about ‘good universities’, as though elitism in higher education is some kind of immutable law in British society; clearly, the Tories would have it that way.

For Nick Gibb to ‘rubbish’ non-elite universities, and to pour uinformed scorn on the value of teacher training, is a massive insult the staff and students of institutions like Edge Hill University.  Edge Hill is the biggest provider of teacher training in the North of England, and amongst people who know anything about higher education has a well-founded reputation for excellence.  It is also an insult to all those students who work hard for a degree and then move into teacher training as the next step in their career development.  In Nick Gibb’s narrow worldview, their efforts are worthless.

Mr Gibb would do well to actually look at the facts before he starts spoutin nonsense, and I think our local Conservatives would do well to distance themselves publicly from his remarks.



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