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09 September 2011 11:24 AM

Cameron reassures the shires

After a week that began with Nick Clegg seizing the education agenda, David Cameron has grabbed it back on behalf of Tory voters in the leafy shires and suburbs.

Cleggie stressed on Monday that he had ensured the next wave of free schools will go to deprived areas, along with his pupil; premium to help poorer pupils.

Now Cameron has spoken up in his Norwich speech for the middle class parents who fume that their own schools are OK but just not good enough.

He calls them "coasting schools" and said too many were mediocre. He contrasted  schools in his own Oxfordshire and in Michael Gove's Surrey with the success of two inner London schools - Walworth Academy, south-east London,  and Burlington Danes Academy, in Hammersmith.

The London schools have high numbers on free school meals but manage 70 and 75 per cent getting five or more good GCSEs.

“Only 16  state secondary schools in these two relatively affluent counties did better than those two inner city schools,” he said.

“Put another way, more than 4 out of 5 state schools in Surrey and Oxfordshire are doing worse than 2 state schools in relatively deprived parts of inner London.”

Mr Cameron went on: “That must be a wake-up call. Why is there this difference?  Why are these schools coasting along?”

This looks like a response to MPs like Nadine Dorries who complain that the Lib Dems seem to be dominating policy. Stand by for more like it in the conference season.

 

 

Joe Murphy

follow me on Twitter    @JoeMurphyLondon

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