What happened to collaboration?

Few schools have taken advantage of the opportunity to become a foundation school although they can do that now; and there is no evidence to suggest that all schools becoming autonomous, under the plans in the white paper, will benefit children or parents in choosing schools.

On the contrary it will be a nightmare for parents, and the most vulnerable children will lose out if the proposals go ahead.

What most parents want is a good local school - there are plenty of examples in the country - and the white paper is simply diverting attention instead of focusing on ensuring that every school is an excellent school.

Ruth Kelly also tells us that there will no new selection, but this has to be supported by a statement to end all selection.

The white paper plans also fly in the face of the Every Child Matters agenda which requires collaboration between schools and a wide range of services; autonomous schools will do what they like.

Key principles of democracy, accountability and equity seem to have gone out of the window - and this under a Labour government.

Melian Mansfield Chair of CASE (Campaign for State Education) 57 Weston Park London N8

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