Scotland - Pupil indiscipline costs #163;10m - Tories
The party has launched a major offensive demanding extended parental choice, greater autonomy for schools and more effective testing.
At a conference in Edinburgh last week, the Tories clearly felt they had tapped into a reservoir of demand for change as calls for improvements were supported by senior figures who would have previously been considered opponents, such as Lindsay Paterson, professor of educational policy at Edinburgh University, Fred Forrester, former depute general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, and John McLaren, an economist and former Labour adviser.
The most dramatic confession of the day came when Professor Paterson said he and others who would have been regarded as being on the liberal left were "simply wrong" when they opposed the parental choice measures of the UK Conservative governments in the 1980s and 1990s.
Elizabeth Smith, the Tories' spokesperson on schools, made it clear that indiscipline would be its battleground.