Blunkett gives parents red light to complain

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Parents should be able to ring the Department for Education to complain about their children's schools, David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education said yesterday. His suggestion, made at the second of seven regional conferences on the Government's schools White Paper, was immediately attacked by headteachers as "extremely unhelpful and dangerous".

Mr Blunkett said outside the London conference that he was looking at ways in which parents could contact his department's standards and effectiveness unit if they were concerned about schools. But David Hart, of the National Association of Head Teachers said: "It is wholly wrong to encourage parents to complain to government departments when there are perfectly well-established procedures at local level."