Two-tier fear over popularity pledge

8th September 1995 at 01:00
John Major is likely to reinforce his promise next week to expand popular schools and close poor ones, writes Emma Burstall.

His comments are expected next Tuesday in a speech to Tory party faithful in Birmingham at the conclusion of a national tour.

Mr Major is understood to be keen to pump extra cash into popular schools to enable them to cope with parental demand, along the lines of a scheme soon to be introduced in Wales. Earlier this week, Welsh Secretary William Hague announced that 19 schools would share Pounds 23 million to supply 1,500 extra places. A new school would also be built in Mid Glamorgan.

In an interview with The Times last month, Mr Major signalled his support for the scheme when he said: "We have to find ways of allowing good schools to expand and of closing failed schools."

Critics, however, have expressed deep concern. Dr Anne West, director of research at the Centre for Educational Research, London School of Economics, said: "If the scheme is expanded into England, my fear is that instead of closing, unpopular schools will be allowed to crumble around the children and we will have a two-tiered system of education."

* The Welsh Secretary William Hague has approved an action plan to raise standards at a failing primary, Ysgol y Wern Primary School, Rhosllanerchrugog. The governors and Clwyd education authority had been given 40 days and 10 days respectively to produce a plan following an inspection of the school in February.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today