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Kelly 'deserves only four out of 10'

Ruth Kelly deserves just four out of 10 for her performance as Education Secretary so far, according to headteachers at the country's top 100 state schools.

A Press Association survey showed the depth of scepticism among leaders of England's most successful schools to Ms Kelly's plans for educating 14 to 19-year-olds. Six out of 10 heads said the minister was wrong to reject proposals for replacing GCSEs and A-Levels with a new diploma.

Three-quarters believed Ms Kelly's plans would fail in one of her key aims: to reduce the "snobbery" that means vocational courses are seen as second-best to GCSEs. And 71 per cent said they thought most schools would ignore her plan for a vocational diploma.

Of the 35 heads in the top 100 group who completed the survey, 54 per cent said Ms Kelly had made "a bad start" as Education Secretary. Only 9 per cent disagreed, while the rest thought it was too early to judge.

* Ms Kelly this week gave details of Labour's plans to give more small-group tuition to 11 to 14-year-olds struggling in English and maths.

She said the party would ensure that 44,000 had extra help in English while 57,000 had additional support in maths.

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