Leading article: At last, Kelly gets moving

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Now, however, as a result of two decisions last week, a very clear picture of a new and radical education policy is developing in front of our eyes. We refer, of course, to the decision to support the Montessori Schools Association moving in to a struggling inner city primary school in Manchester to help improve performance; and to the plan to back the idea of a Steiner Academy.

There was a lot of talk about choice and diversity in the state sector during the general election campaign - but precious little flesh was put on the bones of the idea, so we could see what a more diverse state education system would look like. Now we have the beginnings of a vision for the future and it looks an appetising one. Just how much of this new vision can be attributed to Kelly and how much to the influence of her new junior minister, Lord Adonis - once of Tony Blair's private office - will be the subject of much speculation in the days to come. In all probability, though, it does not matter. What does matter is that there is now a much clearer vision of what a new and diverse state education system should offer to parents, and we hope that these two announcements within the past week may be just the first cuckoos of spring. The portents are good.

In an interview with The Independent, Kelly signalled her intention of making it easier for independent schools to "opt in" to the state sector. These two latest experiments are an extension of that ideal - allowing different styles of teaching to flourish in the state sector. Certainly, in the case of the Montessori Schools Association's involvement with Gorton Mount primary school in Manchester, there is room for expansion. An assessment of the project will be carried out by next April and - if it is deemed to be successful - it may be extended to other schools in the state sector. That would be welcome news indeed.