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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 December 2005, 13:35 GMT
Councillors cleared of wrongdoing
Two councillors have been cleared of misleading parents over plans to close Northumberland middle schools.

Former county council leader Michael Davey and executive member for children's services, Jim Wright, were accused of breaching codes of conduct.

But an investigation by independent watchdog the Standards Board for England has cleared them of wrongdoing.

A statement released on behalf of both councillors said they were "absolutely delighted" to be exonerated.

In April, Northumberland County Council voted to close more than 40 middle schools and revert to a two-tier education system because of falling pupil numbers.

'Unwelcome distraction'

Many parents were against the shake-up and three complained that the councillors made misleading statements, failed to show them respect and brought the council into disrepute.

But on Tuesday the Standards Board said no further action would be taken.

Mr Wright, who represents Lynemouth, said: "We are absolutely delighted that we have both been exonerated following this lengthy, costly and time-consuming investigation.

"We can now totally focus on taking forward the proposals to change from three-tier to two-tier and provide an education system that will benefit future generations. Average is not good enough. We want to be excellent."

The school reorganisation is expected to cost 600m and take up to 20 years to complete.

Mr Davey, who stepped down as council leader in May, said: "The investigation has been an unwelcome distraction and we can now concentrate on the task ahead to create an educational environment fit for the 21st Century."


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