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Smaller schools need big vision

Coming soon to many schools: plunging pupil numbers, leading to redundancies, mergers and closures. Falling rolls - last seen in the 1980s - are upon us again. Opening our special report (page 25), Professor Ted Wragg argues that it's time for sensible planning to ensure positive outcomes for our children, teachers and schools. But changed circumstances could make that hard. Last time, local authorities had more power. Now schools manage their own budgets and staffing. Last time rolls fell everywhere: this time the effects will be less widespread. At least teacher demographics make mass redundancies unlikely.

Perhaps surprisingly, a Government noted for its micromanagement is making clear that decisions must be made locally. This is going to be a national problem: some national vision and leadership is needed to encourage imaginative solutions, and avoid war over every possible school closure.

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