Ministers tell school to hold third opt-out ballot

MINISTERS have ordered a school to hold its third ballot on opting out in two years after complaints that parents were misled by the county council into voting against, writes Fran Abrams.

John Patten, Secretary of State for Education, has written to all chief education officers warning that they face sanctions if they publish information which is not fair, balanced and objective.

Christ Church Middle School in Staffordshire first held an opting out ballot two years ago but its parents decided to stay with the local authority. Last year, parents signed a petition calling for another ballot, but again the vote went against. This time, however, the majority was tiny, and it was followed by complaints that some of the anti-opting out campaign material was misleading.