Let teachers get on with job, say the Tories

Teachers should be trusted to get on with their jobs without "bossy and bureaucratic" interference, according to the leader of the Welsh Conservatives.

Nick Bourne has given an insight into the education pledges that are likely to make up the party's manifesto for the Assembly elections in May.

Speaking to delegates at the Welsh Conservatives Conference in Cardiff on the weekend, he outlined plans to bring educational power back to communities and schools.

He also revealed plans for a Yellow Bus scheme, based on an American model, that bars buses from overtaking and ensures a designated seat for every child.

Mr Bourne also promised to carry on the work of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, famed for his campaign to rid schools of junk food, by improving school dinners.

Other manifesto proposals are:

* to see a drop in the number of pupils leaving school without qualifications;

* to close the "traditional" funding gap between Welsh and English schools;

* to give more power to teachers in disciplining pupils, with parents taking more responsibility.

Mr Bourne attacked First Minister Rhodri Morgan for being too meddlesome.

He said: "Sadly, Mr Morgan is to statecraft what Jade Goody is to geography."

Mr Bourne said the Welsh Conservatives' manifesto for the May 3 elections was in its final stages of completion.

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