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Birmingham - Tory criticises free-school policy

Birmingham's Tory Chairman of Education has attacked the main schools policy announced by David Cameron, his party leader.

Les Lawrence, Birmingham council's cabinet member for children, young people and families, has criticised plans to introduce "free schools".

These schools, based on a model that exists in Sweden, would be established by parents, charities or community groups if the party is returned to power. The aim is to give parents more control over their children's education.

However, giving evidence to a Commons' select committee this week, Mr Lawrence said that the schools could cause divisions within communities.

He insisted that only local councils were best placed to determine which type of school was most suitable for the town or area that they served.

Mr Lawrence acknowledged that there were important benefits that would come from involving parents in schools, but said that ministers should draw the line at actually inviting parents to run the schools themselves. AB.

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