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The BBC's John Pienaar
"Prescott performed an encore to lift the troops"
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Sunday, 18 February, 2001, 09:57 GMT
Blunkett rejects 'bog standard' tag
David Blunkett and Tony Blair
Parting ways: Mr Blunkett differs from PM's spokesman
Education Secretary David Blunkett has risked a clash with Tony Blair's spokesman Alastair Campbell over his description of current comprehensives as "bog standard".

Mr Blunkett said in a speech at Labour's spring conference in Glasgow he did not recognise the phrase.

But he did it admit it was important for the government to work with teachers and parents to improve schools - too many of which were failing pupils.


I don't use or recognise the term 'bog standard'

David Blunkett
Mr Blunkett recently outlined proposals for a radical overhaul of the secondary school system which would involve a far higher proportion of specialist schools.

Mr Campbell angered some head teachers by describing the moves as signalling the end of the "bog standard" comprehensive.

Mr Blunkett told delegates the conference on Saturday: "I don't use or recognise the term 'bog standard'.

Honesty

"But what I do recognise is the critical importance of honesty about what some children in some schools have had to put up with over the years, and the need to work with teachers, to work with heads and to work with the community to do something about it."

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott also dismissed the label, insisting: "Let's have more substance and less spin."

Earlier, Mr Blunkett told delegates that there were comprehensive schools in some areas where no more than 25% of pupils achieved five GCSE grades.

He had wanted "to make something better out of the comprehensive system which has failed to serve young people", he said.

"I appeal for a little trust and faith in what we are trying to do."

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See also:

14 Feb 01 | Education
Hague predicts return of grammars
13 Feb 01 | Education
Comprehensive ideal 'not dead'
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