The diary of Ruth Kelly on her 'make or break' day

Click to follow
The Independent Online

00.01am: Exam league tables were published at midnight showing that three of the Government's flagship academies are among the worst-performing schools in the country - not even meeting last year's national minimum target of getting at least one in five pupils to obtain five top A* to C grade passes in GCSE exams.

MPs on the Commons' Public Accounts Committee accuse ministers of losing ground in their fight against truancy as 450,000 pupils skip lessons every day. This, they argue, wastes £1.6bn worth of education spending a year.

9.30am: Her department this morning publishes the results of a pilot study of schools' maths and English GCSE results. This is expected to confirm that many of the country's most improved schools have achieved their success by ignoring the basics and pushing GNVQs - vocational qualifications considered to be worth four GCSE passes in the league tables.

12.30pm: She delivers what is being billed as her "make or break" statement on the controversy surrounding the fact that some sex offenders have been cleared by her and other ministers in her department to work in schools. Opposition MPs have said she will have to "consider her position" if she cannot clear up the controversy.

2.30pm: Barry Sheerman, the Labour chairman of the influential Commons Select Committee on Education and Skills, is set to deliver a keynote speech on her school reforms to local authority leaders. A report by his committee to be published on the reforms next week is expected to be highly critical and call for tighter controls over schools' admissions policies.

6pm: The former Labour leader Neil Kinnock will make an unprecedented attack on the school reforms at a meeting in the Commons to launch a book on the "modern comprehensive" by Cherie Blair's former spin doctor Fiona Millar and Melissa Benn.

Also lined up to oppose the Government's reforms are Baroness Morris of Yardley, the former education secretary, Martin Salter, the former parliamentary private secretary to the School Standards minister Jacqui Smith, who quit because he opposed the reforms, and John Denham, also a former government minister.

Up to 90 rebel backbench MPs who have signed an alternative schools' reform White Paper - calling on ministers to compromise over their proposals - are expected to attend the meeting and book launch.