One party, two distinct policies

2nd July 2004 at 01:00
Education is to play a lead role in the election campaign that was all but declared this week by the main parties. The Conservatives are making a pitch for teachers' votes. The abolition of exclusion appeals panels is one policy clearly aimed at them. However, the Tories' selling point is the plan to spend billions on surplus places and independent school fees. The untested theory is that real choice and competition will drive up standards and close weak schools (eventually).

Labour's plans (page 14) are expected to entail throwing billions at England's equally untested city academies to replace the worst-performing comprehensives. Neither set of policies will do much for the parties'

electability in Wales. But in some respects it is the Labour education document that looks particularly odd from a Welsh viewpoint. How can one party have such fundamentally different visions for education in Wales and England and still insist on calling both of them Labour policies?

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