Minister tells schools to open at 6am and close at 10pm

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The Independent Online

Schools will be urged to open their doors from 6am until 10pm to provide lessons for adults as well as pupils, under a radical shake-up of state schools.

Vowing to "fight and defeat'' any attempt by teachers' unions to oppose it, Estelle Morris, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, will unveil a 10-year plan to change the face of education. Headteachers will also be encouraged to make innovative changes to the school timetable, such as introducing a "French language week" to replace lessons.

In a speech to be delivered at the Social Market Foundation and described by aides as "her most important since taking office'', Ms Morris will bluntly tell teachers that any opposition to the proposals will not be tolerated – underlining Tony Blair's determination to reform the public services. She will say she wants to "unshackle'' teachers from the administrative burdens they face. But she will add: "We want reform in return for support. I want to do this in constructive partnership with all of those who have the best interests of pupils and teachers at heart but I am willing to fight and defeat opposition to reform no matter how well intentioned. This vision is too important to allow it to be derailed.''

Aides said the classroom would change beyond all recognition in the next decade as part of Ms Morris's plan to restore esteem to the teaching profession. She will make it clear she expects teachers to endorse the Government's programme of more specialist schools and use of the private sector to turn failing schools round, which will be outlined in legislation to be announced later this month.

Ms Morris will pledge to employ more teachers and classroom assistants – thus accepting a key recommendation of a government-backed investigation by PricewaterhouseCooper into teachers' workloads.

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