STATE schools on the Isle of Wight will not be affected by Tory plans to lure inner-city children into private education.

Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner believes state schools have "nothing to fear" from Conservative plans announced recently, to help inner-city parents obtain places for their children at independent schools.

Welcoming the plan announced at the recent Conservative Party Conference, in Bournemouth, Mr Turner said children do not have time for failing education authorities - "they need quality schooling and they need it today."

Conservative MP Mr Turner this week wrote to head teacher's leaders on the Island, to reassure them of the Tory's plans, should the party come to power, to help the most vulnerable youngsters in inner-city areas where there are too few places in decent schools.

He said: "Having taught in comprehensive schools myself and helped as an education officer to turn round a failing inner-city education authority, I know what heartache parents feel when they cannot place their children in a decent school.

"I also know how long it can take to turn a failing school round - one head teacher recently told me ten years. Children do not have that time."

Under the Tory proposals, parents in areas with many failing schools would receive a state scholarship to obtain a place in a new generation of independent schools and existing private schools.

Children eligible for the scholarship would have been turned down by the local education authority for their first-choice school and would not have received more than six months education at an independent school in the last three years.

"Charities, voluntary organisations, teachers and parent groups would be enabled to set up schools and provide choice for children who would otherwise be condemned to substandard schooling."