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Tell us where you stand

PUBLISHED: 09:50 15 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:57 06 July 2010

AT the last Conservative party conference Michael Gove, spokesman for education, said that an essential plank of his party's policy was parental choice and diversity of schools to further that choice.

AT the last Conservative party conference Michael Gove, spokesman for education, said that an essential plank of his party's policy was parental choice and diversity of schools to further that choice.

His party leader, David Cameron, was vehement in his support for such a policy. At the same time local councillors of their own party were telling parents that, regardless of their wishes, middle schools were going to be scrapped, limiting choice, whether they liked it or not.

Whilst the politicians' promises about giving choice and diversity are a myth the Suffolk Tory councillors had an opportunity to give parents a genuine choice in what kind of schools they wanted for their children. Unlike their party leaders, however, despite “consultations,” they decided to give local parents no choice whatsoever. Never mind if parents did not want their eleven year-old children in massive comprehensive schools, where smoking, bullying and disruptive behaviour is more prevalent.

Too bad if they wanted their offspring to spend longer learning such basic skills as spelling, handwriting and tables instead of transferring to larger schools where the teaching of such skills are likely to go out of the window. The Tories of Suffolk have spoken and the parents will have no choice whatsoever if they want to preserve the smaller, more intimate middle schools.

So where does Mr. Peter Aldous, the Tory candidate for Waveney, stand on these issues? Does he back Michael Gove and his leader David Cameron and insist on parental choice? Or does he support his local Tory councillors who, regarding types of school, offer parents nothing better than Hobson's choice?

DAVID BATLEY

Retired headteacher,

former university lecturer

and chair of governors

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