Logo

UCS headteacher reacts to Michael Gove comment: ‘Highgate School is the Arsenal to UCS’s Spurs’

PUBLISHED: 13:00 06 March 2014

Highgate School headteacher Adam Pettitt and Michael Gove at the launch of a schools scheme last Wednesday. Picture: Jonathan Richards

Highgate School headteacher Adam Pettitt and Michael Gove at the launch of a schools scheme last Wednesday. Picture: Jonathan Richards

Archant

Education secretary Michael Gove has outraged pupils at a Hampstead public school after suggesting it is inferior to its Highgate rival – by comparing the two schools to football clubs Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

UCS headteacher Mark Beard. Picture: Dieter PerryUCS headteacher Mark Beard. Picture: Dieter Perry

The cabinet minster said that University College School (UCS) was Tottenham, to Highgate School’s Arsenal at the launch of a project to get students into the retail industry at Highgate School.

He added: “UCS might think it’s special but the glittering trophies go to Highgate. I can tell I’ve just lost about half the audience, but the right half to lose.”

Arsenal have finished above bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League every year since 1995 and the Gunners have won many more “glittering trophies” than Spurs throughout their history.

In January, UCS topped the Ham&High’s league table for GCSE results and featured in the top 100 schools in the UK, ­although it was outperformed by Highgate School in the A-Level league tables.

In an open letter to Mr Gove, UCS pupil Samuel Cowling, 15, said he felt “belittled” by the MP’s comments. “To suggest that the work I put in daily is not of the same calibre as the students of Highgate is something that is simply unfounded,” he wrote on the school’s student blog, The Compass.

“Above all else I am saddened to see a man of your position and ­influence orchestrating a personal attack on a school, and student body, in the name of humour.

“I speak for myself and my peers when I say that I am ­extremely disappointed and I hope in the future you can focus on the successes of both schools, leaving the friendly rivalry to the schoolboys.”

Mr Gove’s tongue-in-cheek comments were made as he pledged his support to a scheme launched by Topshop boss Sir Philip Green and Highgate School last week to offer work experience and career opportunities in the retail i­ndustry to pupils at more than 20 schools across Camden, Barnet and Haringey.

UCS headteacher Mark Beard said: “Michael Gove’s comments last week were most likely meant in jest but, like many a politician’s jokes, they fell wide of the mark.

“Did he appreciate that Arsenal have not won a trophy (glittering or otherwise) in almost nine years and, at the end of both of the last two seasons, a solitary point has stood between them and Spurs? Mr Gove might instead have acknowledged that UCS and Highgate School enjoy an excellent working relationship and a healthy local rivalry in all sporting and academic pursuits.”

Adam Pettitt, Highgate School’s headteacher, said: “We were ­delighted to host Michael Gove at Highgate last week.

“His speech was warmly supportive of our partnership with Arcadia [owner of Topshop] and was in places very funny.

“I’m sure he was no more serious about the respective qualities of Highgate and UCS than when he compared me to Kylie Minogue.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate education news

From maths mystery to maths mastery: Coldfall Primary School teacher on enlightening trip to Singapore

A group of teachers from a Muswell Hill school paid a visit to Singapore over the Easter break in a bid to expand their outlook on the teaching of maths.

Get inspired to put pen to paper by performance of Suddenly at Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone

A theatre company is hoping that children who come along to their latest production will be inspired to put pen to paper.

Parents missing out on National Offer Day due to high demand for ‘outstanding’ primary schools

We spoke to London Metropolitan University’s head of subject for health and childhood Kelly Cooper about her experience of National Offer Day...

Advice for Camden, Haringey, Barnet and Westminster parents on what to do if your child misses out on top primary school place

Families in Camden, Haringey, Barnet and Westminster found out yesterday whether their children had bagged their top choice of primary school.

More Barnet children set to attend primary school of their choice in September

More Barnet children will be attending the primary school of their choice in September.

Camden and Haringey 2017 primary school places allocated

Parents across Camden and Haringey have found out today which primary schools their children will be going to in September.

Campaigners call on Haringey parents to come up with summer term plan of action against funding cuts

Campaigners are calling on parents to help them come up with a plan of action in their fight against funding cuts to schools.

Controversy over private girls’ school teacher taking part in Miss Universe contest

A teacher from top private girls’ school Channing has hit tabloid headlines after announcing she is entering the Miss Universe GB competition.

North London Conservatoire expanding innovative music school for young children to include Hendon

An innovative music centre which provides young children with a wealth of musical opportunities is expanding its school to include Hendon.

Children tumble into world of Alice in Wonderland at Highgate United Reform Church

Children have been tumbling into the topsy-turvy world of Lewis Carroll as part of a action-packed project to teach youngsters how to perform.

Q and A: UCS Hampstead student, 17, creates app to help fellow pupils struggling with GCSEs revision

An app creator at the age of 17, we spoke to UCS Hampstead student Jonny Boone about why he took it upon himself to help fellow pupils with revision for their GCSE exams.

Portland Place School students walk, run and hop for charity in Regent’s Park ‘bunny run’

Students at Portland Place School walked, ran and hopped on a charity ‘bunny run’ to raise more than a thousand pounds for homeless charity Shelter.

St Anthony’s School for Girls students enjoy action-packed Easter celebrations

Students at St Anthony’s School for Girls had a cracking good time celebrating Easter at the end of the term.

Students at St Michael’s School parade Easter bonnets in Highgate

Students at St Michael’s School put their Easter bonnets on display during an annual parade in Highgate.

Highgate Primary School’s bid to build amphitheatre boosted by Bellway Homes

Highgate Primary School’s bid to raise £65,000 to build an amphitheatre in the playground has been boosted by the involvement of a housing developer.

Changes to free nursery places in Camden revealed

Changes to free nursery places in Camden have been revealed.

Whittington Trust launches competition to showcase work of budding artists in Archway hospital

An Archway hospital trust is launching an art competition designed to seek out budding artists from across north London.

Barnet parents encouraged to sign petition calling for fairer school funding

Parents across Barnet are being encouraged to sign a petition calling for fairer funding to schools across the borough.

Creativity is order of day at St Saviour’s Primary School

Creativity was the order of the day at St Saviour’s Primary School as students let their imaginations run wild.

New skipper appointed at Haverstock School ahead of headteacher’s retirement after 17 years of service

A new headteacher has been appointed at Haverstock School for the first time in 17 years.

Portland Place School deputy head gives her top 10 revision tips ahead of GSCE and A-level exams

Julia Findlater, deputy headteacher at Portland Place School, gives her top 10 tips for revision success.

Mother’s Day breakfast to raise money for chosen charities at St Anthony’s School for Girls

St Anthony’s School for Girls held a special Mother’s Day breakfast to celebrate their loved ones and to raise money for their two chosen charities.

Camden Council pledges to put mental health at forefront of agenda for young people living in borough

Camden Council has pledged to keep the subject of mental health at the forefront of the agenda in its bid to improve the wellbeing of young people living in the borough.

Army of kids take part in fun run to help secure future of Highgate Primary School family centre

The future of a family centre which is battling a lack of funding is closer to being secured after 127 children took part in a fun run.

Former MOBO award winner takes part in five-hour drumming marathon at King Alfred School

A former MOBO award winner took part in a five-hour drumming marathon at King Alfred School to raise money for Comic Relief on Red Nose Day.

Column: Hampstead couple talk through their experience of home schooling

Hampstead couple Haleh Babavand and her husband Ash Parsa spoke to the Ham and High about their experience of home schooling.

Henrietta Barnett School students reach final of competition to find codebreakers of future

A team of Hampstead schoolgirls have beaten 8,000 rivals to reach the final of a competition to find the best code breakers of the future.

St Anthony’s School for Girls students build robots and rockets as part of STEM week

Students at St Anthony’s School for Girls embraced new technology by building robots and rockets as part of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) week.

Fearless Coleridge Primary School students crowned public speaking champions

A group of fearless Coleridge Primary School students have taken a public speaking competition by storm.

Channing School gets dads on board as part of campaign to eradicate gender inequality in workplace

Channing School has been getting the dads on board as part of an awareness campaign to eradicate gender inequality in the workplace.

Campaign to address gender gap in apprenticeship schemes

A trust which supports young woman who are struggling to make ends meet is campaigning to address the gender gap in apprenticeship schemes.

Q and A: St Anthony’s School for Girls headteacher on her first year at helm

We spoke to St Anthony’s School for Girls headteacher Laura Martin about her first year at the helm.

Portland Place School students pay tribute to Jane Austen in year which marks 200th anniversary of her death

Students have paid tribute to pioneering author Jane Austen in the year which marks the 200th anniversary of her death.

Study: The rise of home schooling in Camden

A study looking into the growth of home education in London has revealed a 582 per cent increase in the number of children being taught at home over the last 10 years.

St Anthony’s School for Girls launches mindfulness initiative as part of focus on mental health

St Anthony’s School for Girls has launched a new mindfulness initiative to teach the pupils the importance of looking after their mental health and wellbeing.

Union calls on Theresa May to back up pledge to transform mental health support on offer in schools

A union has called on the government to back up its mission to change attitudes towards mental health issues suffered by young people.

Freedom Charity founder speaks to Haverstock School about fight to end practice of FGM

Education is the key to ending the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), according to the founder of an awareness charity.

South Hampstead High School teacher’s legacy celebrated by ex-students and colleagues

A South Hampstead High School stalwart has been celebrated more than 40 years after she retired.

Camden School for Girls student running debating programme to ensure state school kids get voices heard

A 15-year-old girl is running a debating programme to ensure that state school kids get their voices heard.

Animation encouraging children to talk about mental health launches in Primrose Hill

A short film to encourage children to talk about their feelings in the classroom was shown today at Primrose Hill Primary School.

Hampstead and Highgate duo on mission to talk to teens in schools about sex, likes and social media

A determined duo from across the pond who brought up their children in north west London are on a mission to encourage healthy relationships among young people and teach them about the many pitfalls surrounding social media.

Interview: Fiona Millar delves into her time at Camden School for Girls

We spoke to writer and education journalist Fiona Millar about her time at Camden School for Girls (1968-1975).

St Michael’s Primary School finds creative way to protest against Haringey funding cuts

Parents, students and staff at a Highgate school have found a creative way to protest against funding cuts across Haringey.

Crouch End families come together to spruce up area as part of Great British Spring Clean

The ‘Crouch End tidy up’ was in full swing on Saturday as families came together to spruce up the area.

PICTURE SPECIAL: Camden and Haringey schools celebrate World Book Day

Schoolchildren across Camden and Haringey have been sharing their love of fiction on World Book Day.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

2017 © Archant Community Media Ltd

Terms and conditions | Cookie policy | Jobs at Archant