Pledge to scrap fees and protect teachers

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Indy Politics

University top-up fees would be scrapped, pass marks in GCSE mathematics would be raised and teachers would be given new protection against unruly pupils within days of a Tory election victory, the conference was told yesterday.

University top-up fees would be scrapped, pass marks in GCSE mathematics would be raised and teachers would be given new protection against unruly pupils within days of a Tory election victory, the conference was told yesterday.

Tim Collins, the shadow Education Secretary, promised a blizzard of activity - including the dismissal of two thirds of the staff at the Department for Education and Skills - which would overhaul the school system and create 600,000 extra places for children. He set out a list of changes that he, as the new Education Secretary, would order in the first hours and days of an incoming Conservative administration. In the first 24 hours, the new government would publish plans to "give teachers legal protection against pernicious allegations, firm backing on discipline and schools the right to take the final decision on expulsions".

The Tories would order action to ensure that the pass mark for GCSE mathematics could never again be an "unacceptable" 45 per cent.

Top-up fees, which deterred able university students, would be abolished in the first week of the new government, Mr Collins told the conference.

Andrew Lansley, the shadow Health Secretary, said the Tories would create a National Health Service "which we will be proud once again to call the envy of the world".

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