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Comparative costs of opting-out

The TESGreenwich lecture made a stimulating and valuable contribution to public debate of a key area of education policy. It was attended by 250 educationists from a wide variety of backgrounds, and gave a national figure in the field (Professor Michael Barber) an opportunity to extend people's thinking on the difficult, but crucial, issue of failing schools. It apparently cost around Pounds 2,500 - including a buffet reception.

By contrast, the Department for Education's recent "Grant-maintained speakers' conference" - an overnight event in central London for GM heads and governors who seek to promote GM status in local authority schools - was attended by 190 delegates; its proceedings are not public; and, anyway, there is a conspicuous lack of interest among schools in GM status. According to a written parliamentary answer last week, it cost Pounds 41,419.

MARTIN ROGERS Local Schools Information 1-5 Bath Street London EC1

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