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Fighting for parent's votes

Education is to play a lead role in the election all-but declared this week by the main parties. The Conservatives are making a pitch for teachers'

votes. The plan to abolish exclusion appeals panels is clearly aimed at them though it is hard to see any government squashing children's fundamental human rights when most successful appeals result from schools'

inadequate procedures.

The Tory policy's unique selling point is to spend billions creating surplus places and on independent school fees. The untested theory is that more choice and competition will drive up standards and close down weak schools (eventually). Labour's detailed plans next week are expected to entail throwing billions at the equally untested city academies to replace the worst-performing comprehensives.

The Tories, then, are backing parental aspiration and mobility. Labour is apparently targeting some of those children who lack such support, but at whose expense?

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