Choice the Key to Tory Party Education Policy

Article excerpt

As the General Election draws near, politicians are once again lining up on the already bloodied battlefield of our education system.

The fight is over ideology - the prize the hearts and minds of the electorate.

Today is the turn of shadow Education Secretary Tim Collins to brandish his banner in a bid to rally support.

He talks about choice and discipline. The ability of parents to have more autonomy over where to send their children and the power for teachers to clamp down on unruly pupils.

It all sounds very familiar. Just weeks ago, the Prime Minister launched one of his teasing ``mini manifestos'' for education in which he stressed ``parent power''.

Prior to that, Education Secretary Ruth Kelly made efforts to underline her ``zero tolerance approach'' to illdiscipline. Mr Collins says he wants to see a greater variety of schools on offer, with the opening up of the market to spearhead the drive.

So does Labour. It is, after all, the party that has overseeing a boom in the number of specialist schools.

And last year it committed to increasing the number of city academies - schools co-funded and managed by private sector investors and the State - from 12 to 200.

So where does Labour policy end and the Tories' begin? …