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Education heads back Tory plans to push for free schools

A RAFT of school heads yesterday backed proposals by the Conservative Party to give state schools more autonomy within months of the general election, should the party secure a victory.

Over 30 heads and governors signed a collective letter yesterday pledging their support for the Tories over plans to hand more power to high-performing state schools.

Under the proposal, the Tories have said that if they win the election on 6 May, state schools will be allowed to convert into semi-independent academies and will have freedom and power to choose staff, budgets, admissions and curriculum.

Some of the head teachers who have signed the letter have called for radical reform for the state school system and said that change was needed after the Labour government.

The statement is signed by Paul Evans, the head of Colyton Grammar School in Devon and Shaun Fenton, the chairman of the Grammar School Heads’ Association and head of Pate’s Grammar in Cheltenham.

The letter is the second endorsement campaign the Conservatives have seen during the run-up to the election.

The letter said: “As head teachers and governors with years of experience, we know that real freedom combined with rigorous accountability is vital to raise standards.”

Members of the business community wrote a joint letter in support of Tory plans to cut National Insurance tax, with more than 65 signatories signing their name. Marks & Spencer chairman Sir Stuart Rose and Kingfisher chief Ian Cheshire were among some of the members who signed the letter.