New doubt over benefit of schools reform plan

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The Independent Online

A study by the London School of Economics concludes that "choice and competition does not seem to be generally effective in raising standards".

Its findings go right to the heart of the Government's reforms which claim that the establishment of a network of independently run "trust" schools is essential to improve performance.

The report was immediately seized on by teachers' leaders as evidence that ministers should drop their "obsession" with increasing parental choice and competition. Steve Sinnott, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "The Government's own research makes it clear that competition in education is not a panacea.

"To deal with the problems that some schools face they need support and help, and not competition - which can only undermine their position."

The findings emerged as the Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, met representatives of 25 companies - including Microsoft and KPMG - and charities interested in forming a partnership with "trust" schools.