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Sticky dealings

Education and Employment Secretary Gillian Shephard accused Calderdale Council of "a fudge" this week after it refused to agree to an immediate inspection of its school services.

A letter from Labour-controlled Calderdale to the Department for Education and Employment saying that it would "consider" an inspection was nothing more than "a fudge and overt delaying tactics", Mrs Shephard told headteachers, chief education officers and businessmen and women at a conference on school improvement in London.

The Secretary of State, who cannot order a council inspection until the Education Bill becomes law, is pressing the council for a categoric reply by today because of the public concern over the debacle at The Ridings comprehensive, a Cald-erdale school.

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