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New education Bill to be published

Ministers are to set out the next steps in their plans for a major overhaul of the English schools system.

The Government is due to publish a new education Bill which will focus on boosting standards and improving behaviour.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said the coalition Government was taking action to "restore discipline and reduce bureaucracy".

Under the measures, teachers will be granted powers to search pupils for anything that could disrupt the classroom, including pornography and video cameras, and it will be made easier for schools to expel unruly pupils by allowing them to remain anonymous until they are charged with an offence.

The Bill is also expected to say that teachers will be protected from false allegations made by pupils by allowing them to remain anonymous until charged, and rules which mean schools must give parents 24 hours notice of a detention will be scrapped.

The Bill is also expected to include proposals to axe a number of education quangos, such as the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) and the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA), and to remove bureaucratic "form filling" such as the "school profile" that schools must fill in about themselves.

Mr Gove said: "This Government backs teachers. All the evidence from those countries with great education systems tells us that nothing is more important than attracting great people into teaching. And supporting them in the classroom.

"Under the last Government, thousands of great people left the teaching profession because behaviour was out of control and they were forced to spend far too much time on paperwork. That's why we're taking action to restore discipline and reduce bureaucracy. Teachers will be free to impose the penalties they need to keep order. And free from the red tape which swallows up teaching time. So they can get on with their first duty - raising standards."

Shadow education secretary Andy Burnham criticised the proposals, accusing the Government of taking schools "back to the 1950s".

"It is an elitist, backward-looking vision that won't equip our children with the knowledge and skills they need for the modern world," he said.

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