....In a reasonable world, the proposal that he puts forward would scarcely require outstanding courage. It is a common-sense judgment to which all politicians committed to raising educational standards should assent.
What Mr Gove is promising is that a Conservative government would take incorrigibly poor schools in deprived areas out of the control of the local education authorities that have clearly shown themselves to be incapable of improving them.
That such a reasonable policy must be seen as daring is a testimony to how much political leverage local councils have managed to maintain over successive governments, in spite of their often dire history in running education....
In spite of what it claims is its passionate sense of urgency about the academic fate of children in failing schools, the Government has agreed to give at least a further four years to turn them round.
But the Conservatives, whose depth of concern about poor children has often been suspect, are now committed to handing over the running of the 638 worst schools to independent organisations of various kinds - City Academies, charitable trusts or even parents' co-operatives - thus freeing them from local authority power and revolutionising their chances of improvement.
Not only is this a refreshingly firm promise from an Opposition that often seems reluctant to make hard-and-fast commitments, but it is politically well-judged. By beginning the emancipation of schools with those that are failing poor children, the Conservatives can inspire confidence in their social concerns, as well as paving the way for a wider move towards giving all schools independence from political control.
It is a start, and maybe as far as the Tories can politically go. In fact they may be hoping that it is not trumpeted as merely a stepping stone on the way to the abolition of LEA and introducing competition into the education system, but it ought to be.