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David Cameron and Michael Gove give Conservative education policy a big push

School-sign As previewed through an interview with Michael Gove in today's Sunday Telegraph, the Conservatives are today giving their "biggest push" of the campaign so far on education.

David Cameron and the shadow children's secretary have been in Gomersal in the Batley and Spen constituency, addressing parents who want to be able to set up their own school.

Mr Cameron has just been given a rapturous reception by the Birkenshaw, Birstall and Gomersal Parents' Alliance on explaining that a Conservative government would enable them to do just that (unlike Labour, since Ed Balls has refused them permission to do so).

Mr Cameron enthused:

"The pessimists, the cynics, the sceptics, say no-one wants to set up new schools, despite all the evidence from abroad. They say that people can't be bothered with the hassles. That parents don't care enough about their children and their communities to set up schools. They are wrong. There's so much optimism and ambition, waiting to be unleashed in this great country of ours."

He made clear that whilst it will take time to set up new schools, there were things that could be done as a matter of priority:

"We will - in our first 100 days - identify the worst schools and put them in the hands of heads with a proven track record of success... Kick out the people who have failed their children and bring in those that have already passed the test."

Mr Cameron is also emphasising the other aspects of Conservative education policy:

  • There will be new powers for teachers and heads to confiscate banned items and restrain violent pupils;
  • The law will be changed to along to ensure that students expelled for violent conduct are not returned to schools on appeal;
  • High-performing graduates, ex-servicemen and experts in science and maths will be encouraged to become teachers;
  • "Rigour" will be put at the heart of the curriculum.

He adds:

"No longer will so many children leave primary school unable to read and write, or leave secondary school with no sense of our island story. No longer will we put up with an exam system that tests credibility rather than pupils, run by people who think a child should get marks for writing 'F off' in an exam. As Prime Minister, I'd have two words for people like that and, yes, one of them does begin with an 'F'. You're fired."

> Watch clips of David Cameron's speech at the rally

Jonathan Isaby


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