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SHEPHARD DROPS FAST TRACK OPT-OUT IN 'REVENGE AGAINST MAJOR'

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The government has dropped proposals to allow church schools a 'fast track' to opting out without balloting parents...
The government has dropped proposals to allow church schools a 'fast track' to opting out without balloting parents.

The Nursery Education and Grant Maintained Schools Bill, published by education secretary Gillian Shephard yesterday, also abandons other options to increase the separation of church schools from local authorities including the removal of council appointees from governing bodies.

The Guardian (p4) says the decision is Gillian Shephard's 'revenge against the prime minister's meddling with her portfolio'. Alan Parker, education officer at the Association of Metropolitan Authorities says: 'Mrs Shephard seems to have told John Major to get back into his box.'

The Independent (p6) said that the decision was the government giving way to pressure from the churches.

Shadow education secretary David Blunkett said: 'The government's legislative programme is coming apart at the seams.'
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