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Buffeted by political masters

LOCAL government reorganisation created unitary authorities in Portsmouth and Southampton.

Hampshire used to be Lib Dem and Labour controlled, but hiving off the Labour cities has meant Hampshire is now solidly Conservative.

Jenny Simpson, head of Lymington infants in the New Forest, says she has noticed very little change. "Most education policy is determined by central government," she said.

However, Rhod Porch, head of Sun Hill juniors, near Winchester, is a big fan of the new administration. He said:"Not only i educational leadership stronger but political leadership is stronger. The benefit to individual schools has been marked."

Last year, Windsor and Maidenhead switched from Lib Dem-control to Conservative rule. The council has changed from a traditional education committee system to the Cabinet-style model becoming fashionable in local government.

A local headteacher said: "They gave us more funding this year, which was positive. But I feel there is less consultation, we don't know so much of what's going on."

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