Opponents find the devil in the detail

30th June 1995 at 01:00
Attitudes to Labour's attempt to neutralise the grant-maintained debate were hardening this week as the GM sector digested the small print of Diversity and Excellence.

Heads of opted-out schools were concluding that they would have little to gain from being "foundation" rather than "community" schools and that GM status has been abandoned by the Labour party, even if its leaders cannot bring themselves to say so.

However, Labour appears to have succeeded in winning the hearts and minds of the local authority representatives, who appear to be satisfied with the redefinition of their role.

Sir Bob Balchin, director of the Grant Maintained Schools Foundation, said: "In view of the furore this is causing, it is far from unlikely that the Labour party will modify its policy further over the next two years."

Roger Perks, head of the GM Baverstock school in Birmingham, said his initially enthusiastic reaction to the proposals had been severely modified by closer inspection of the document. The imposition of two LEA governors was "an attempt to repoliticise the system. They have their own agenda and tend to be more vocal, outfacing the new parents," he said.

Kathleen Lund, chief executive of the City Technology Colleges Trust, said that while she was somewhat baffled by the omission of any specific reference to CTCs in Diversity and Excellence, the Trust "welcomed the continuing trend towards devolution and local management and the clarification of the role of the LEA as a partner rather than a controller of schools."

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