Dismasting of a Tory flagship

20th November 1998 at 00:00
On deadline day for the 1,199 grant-maintained schools to choose their status in Labour's brave new system, The TES talks to two GM headteachers as they take the plunge

THE PROCESS of dismantling the Conservative flagship opting-out policy begins in earnest today.

Governing bodies of grant-maintained schools are required to have taken a preliminary decision on the new type of school they want to become.

The School Standards and Framework Act creates three breeds of school - community, foundation and voluntary.

The bulk of opted-out schools - around 900 - are expected to become foundation schools, the nearest to their present status.

County schools will be designated community schools while aided and former aided GM and voluntary-controlled schools will become voluntary schools.

To avoid distraction from the focus on standards, the Government has said that initially only GM schools will be able to seek to join a different category from that to which they are allocated. Other schools will be able to switch at a later date .

The only key dispute is the fate of GM church schools. Catholic bishops have already warned their GM schools that they risk being cut off from the Church if they do not return to diocesan control.

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