Tories plan 'new academies'

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Indy Politics

A Tory government would allow parents and charities to open a "new generation" of independent state schools in an attempt to drive up standards in deprived areas.

David Cameron said further changes in "structures" were needed on top of Labour's city academies. He aims to portray Gordon Brown, who wants to focus on "standards not structures", as an opponent of reform. The Tory plans to create more than 220,000 places over nine years would meet demand for places from parents of children in the most deprived boroughs who lose appeals to win admission to their first-choice secondary school.

A Cameron government would allow charities, philanthropists, not-for-profit trusts, co-operatives and groups of parents to set up new schools which would have equivalent public funding to state schools. It would divert £4.5bn from the current school refurbishment programme to fund the "new academies".

Labour argued that the Conservative plans would duplicate its city academy programme and put hundreds of school building projects at risk.