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Emergency inspection date set

Calderdale - the authority responsible for The Ridings - has agreed a date for an emergency inspection.

Inspectors from the Office for Standards in Education will visit Calderdale between January 20 and 27, to look at the authority and visit schools. They will produce a final report at the end of February. The agreement follows Education Secretary Gillian Shephard's accusation that Calderdale was dragging its feet.

Throughout the Ridings affair, Mrs Shephard has singled out the Labour-controlled authority for blame, while Calderdale has protested that it made three separate reports on behaviour problems at The Ridings which school managers ignored.

The inspection of local authorities is not yet law - it is one of the proposals in the Education Bill.

The Ridings school was given until today to produce its action plan. It was given half the normal time because of public concern. Mrs Shephard will make her decision on December 6.

Anna White, one of two new heads at The Ridings, said that all except one of the 23 pupils temporarily excluded from The Ridings had signed a home-school contract and returned to school. Of the 12 pupils permanently excluded, 10 have been found places in other schools or special units, and two are appealing against the exclusion.

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