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.