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Parents press for changes

"The Scottish Office won't know what has hit it," said Judith Gillespie of the significant increase in political scrutiny to which the mandarins and the Inspectorate would be subjected by a Scottish parliament.

"Remember these will be politicians who will have fewer responsibilities than Westminster MPs," Mrs Gillespie said. "They will also live in Scotland and therefore be accessible to the electorate. There will be 56 of them elected on the list system who will have no constituency obligations, some of whom can be expected to specialise in areas such as education."

"Not only that, an education minister will be responsible to the parliament for that portfolio and nothing else, unlike the current minister who has to deal with industry and a host of other things. The parliament will also have an education committee. This will be a major increase in political time in Scotland."

One Scottish Office insider responded that, while Mrs Gillespie was right to note this added pressure on the Scottish Office, she would not be right in assuming the civil service was not already anticipating it.

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