Yesterday, whilst I was attending a graduation ceremony at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton, Michael Gove was visiting Luton schools. In the evening we hooked up for an evening with teachers and our annual fundraising dinner during which we also raised £1000 for Keech Children's Hospice.
Before the dinner began, Michael sat down with a group of Mid Beds teachers who were passionate about education.
Michael asked them what was the worst and the best thing to have happened since he became Secretary of State for Education. It was heartening to hear a head teacher respond that the reduction in bureaucracy and red tape, which allowed him to focus on delivering education, had been the most noticeable difference to him. We have only been in charge for eighteen months and already the positive changes are filtering through.
I will post the photos on Monday from the day and the evening. When Michael left to catch his train, he left a lovely atmosphere behind him, which meant everyone stayed on much longer than normal.
He is a great man. There is something very unusual about Michael. His humility is what everyone first notices; his humour a close second and then you are very much blown away by the depth of his knowledge, commitment and his ability to recall names and events.
Three years ago I gave a speech at which Michael was present during which I recalled an event which had taken place during my childhood in Liverpool, which had made me hitch my wagon to the Conservative party. Last night, Michael recalled my speech verbatim, which shocked me, to say the least, as there is no record and it wasn't written down, he did it from memory.
One teacher happened to mention the name of a relative of his and Michael responded 'oh yes, I met him at a conference last year'. He meets literally hundreds of people every month. The teacher looked as shocked as I was.
We all felt honoured to have had him with us for so long and everyone who has contacted me since last night has done so to say 'what a lovely, amazing person he is'.
He is, he's a top man. The best.