KING Alfred’s headteacher Simon Spiers this week hit out at the Government over the future of teaching — and announced his school’s bid to become an academy.

The Wantage specialist sports college head said the Government’s planned changes to education were frustrating — and that his school was looking to become an academy to avoid them.

The Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, wants to change the curriculum, scrap modular exams and give teachers more power to control unruly pupils.

But Mr Spiers said: “He will significantly narrow down the curriculum and opportunities for young people. We will go back to an education based in the 1960s.

“For the most able, there will be no difference, but for everybody else the activities and opportunities will be significantly scaled back and we are very concerned about that.”

He has written to Mr Gove, stating: “This ‘traditional’ approach to academic study caused huge numbers of students to leave school with feelings of failure, a lack of self-esteem and unable to find work after years in an education system which favoured bright students.”

He said the plan to abolish modular exams was “setting people up to fail” as students would not get a second chance. And he complained about Mr Gove’s belief that teachers should have more power to deal with badly behaved students.

He said: “My concern is you are painting a picture which is simply incorrect for many schools in England. The result, however, is that many parents will start to believe their children are being educated in unruly classrooms with poorly trained and badly educated teachers, in schools where heads are frustrated because they feel they cannot take action.”

He added: “Please do not rush these changes through without listening to those who work in schools and who represent the whole spectrum of society, rather than just the chosen few.”

In last month’s announcement about the changes, Mr Gove also suggested axing the £162m Schools Sport Partnership, which is made up by 450 joint initiatives between primary, secondary and specialist state schools to increase sporting opportunities for children But after a public backlash, the Government said it would provide £47m to keep the scheme running until summer.

It also pledged £65m to promote competitive sports in schools over the next three years.

Carolyn Murphy, Vale Schools Sport Partnership development manager, said: ”We are not going to get them away from their computers unless they are offered a variety of sports.”

Department for Education spokesman Giles Mason said the changes would make England a top nation for education — “As a nation we have lost ground to other countries in recent international tests in terms of literacy, mathematics and science.”

He said teachers were unclear about their powers to discipline and manage behaviour effectively.

Becoming an academy would give King Alfred’s the freedom to set its own budget and curriculum Consultation on academy status began last Thursday and the 20 governors will meet on January 25 to make a decision which could see King Alfred’s become an academy next September.