STUDENTS and staff protested in Winchester with the aim of teaching the schools minister a lesson.

They wanted to speak to Nick Gibb MP when he visited the city’s university last Thursday (February 23).

The schools minister had a brief chat with protesters when he arrived at the Sparkford Road campus.

Comprised of around 15 students, staff and union activists, they raised concerns about Government education changes.

They were upset about cuts in the sector, and academies being able to hire teachers without PGCE teaching qualifications.

They also attacked Mr Gibb’s past comment that Oxbridge graduates without PGCEs could make better teachers than those who took the course.

The University of Winchester was graded as outstanding by Ofsted in 2010 for teacher training.

Current students at the demo included Akil Morgan, who is reading education studies with modern liberal arts.

He said: “It seems the Tories want to take us back to the days of more discipline and children standing behind desks reciting times tables.”

He added: “When you make so many cuts in education, they just don’t heal.”

Branch secretary of the University and College Union, Dr Mick Jardine, was also at the protest.

“We think that the teachers who are teaching our children should have a fully rounded and professional education,” he said.

Mr Gibb, who arrived at the university with Winchester MP Steve Brine, spoke to the protesters.

He said: “Most of the academy schools are still looking for teachers who have PGCEs so there are clear advantages in having a PGCE.”

He then continued his visit and the protesters wound up their demo.

Later in the day Mr Gibb visited Henry Beaufort School in Harestock and Thornden School in Chandler’s Ford.