Patten offers new guide on how schools can expand

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POPULAR schools will be allowed to expand even if there are empty places in neighbouring schools, John Patten, the Secretary of State for Education, announced yesterday. But he threatened to bar from expansion those which failed to reveal their national curriculum test results, and he warned schools with empty places that they would be in danger of closure for not revealing results.

Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: 'Clearly it is time this man went. It is outrageous that he now resorts to this kind of blackmail.'

The consultative circular also offers guidance to parents and others wanting to establish new grant maintained schools. They have to find 15 per cent of the cost and the Government will find the rest.

Graham Lane, chairman of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities, said it would be unreasonable to base decisions about school closures on whether tests results were reported. Mr Patten could be expected to face a challenge in the courts for acting unreasonably if he did so.