Cameron to unveil education 'green print'

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LONDON, Nov 20 (Reuters) Conservative leader David Cameron will launch an education ''green print'' today aimed at lifting British education standards.

Among measures reported by British media were moves to crack down on school discipline and introduce reading tests for children aged as young as six.

The Tories also say they would expand the number of academies in England to create at least 220,000 ''good school places'' over the next nine years.

The plans focus on almost 32,000 children in some of the most deprived areas, who appealed unsuccessfully against the secondary schools they were allocated.

The Tory leader will be joined by shadow schools secretary Michael Gove in east London where they will launch the education green paper titled ''Raising the Bar, Closing the Gap''.

The Tories want all children to be able to read by the end of year one -- their second year at school.

Gove said at the weekend that a Tory government would scrap the Key Stage 1 tests for six and seven-year-olds and replace it with a reading test that all children, except those with severe learning disabilities, would have to pass.

But the plans have come under fire from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and teaching unions, who say the test is too hard.

The government said the Conservative policy was ''hastily cobbled together''.

Commentators say Tory plans are pitched at trying to head off criticisms they are elitist, with some of the key ideas aimed at lower socio economic areas.

Media reports say they would also add detail Cameron's pledge to offer ''a grammar school stream'' in every school.

Cameron caused a political row earlier this year when he denounced grammar schools, saying he would rule out building any more if he came to power.

But reports said that after a backlash he was forced into a U-turn, saying that areas with such schools already in place could increase places.

The Liberal Democrat shadow schools spokesman, David Laws branded the Tory policy a failure.

REUTERS ARB RAI1317

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