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From a dribble to a trickle

I was very interested to read the comments of Sir Robert Balchin about the desirability of abolishing parental ballots to make it easier for schools to opt out (TES, September 1). Perhaps he forgot that in 1994, the first year in which every LEA school had to consider opting out, 99.1 per cent of their governing bodies rejected the idea. Abolishing the parental ballot would only increase the number of schools opting out from a dribble to a trickle.

Compelling schools to opt out sounds good in theory, but for grant-maintained schools to work, the governing body andor parents have got to be committed to such a move. What happens if faced with compulsion, governing bodies resign, or governors refuse to become first or foundation governors? You can take a horse to water, but . . .

And moreover, how would either scenario square with the Government's supposed commitment to parental choice?

ANGELA MILROY Vice chair Parents Opposed to Opting Out 3 Bellefield Crescent Trowbridge, Wiltshire

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