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A blatant conflict of Labour policies;Letter

Nicolas Barnard's fascinating article (TES, February 13) on the Government's plans to increase financial delegation to schools covered most of the leading issues; except for one, and that is fundamental to the Prime Minister's plans.

The Government's social exclusion unit is currently organising a series of rolling meetings. I attended one in Newham.

From the meeting, it became clear that targets set by the Prime Minister for reducing social exclusion are at odds with the Department for Education and Employment's future plans for local management. Local authorities' ability to target their services at those vulnerable to exclusion depends on the existence of those services not being subject to LMS delegation. The co-ordination of all local authority services cannot be vulnerable to the fact that one is subject to the vagaries of "buy-back".

There is not a starker case of policy conflict. I look forward to Stephen Byers, as school standards minister and the DFEE representative on the social exclusion unit, identifying which policy has to give first.

JOHN BANGS

Assistant secretary Education and equal opportunities National Union of Teachers Mabledon Place London WC1

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