IDS in Ipswich today

OPPOSITION leader Iain Duncan Smith was taking no chances on the railways today as he headed for an awayday in East Anglia.Last year he came to Ipswich to campaign in the by-election – but was delayed for two hours when his train was held up by a points failure.

By Paul Geater

OPPOSITION leader Iain Duncan Smith was taking no chances on the railways today as he headed for an awayday in East Anglia.

Last year he came to Ipswich to campaign in the by-election – but was delayed for two hours when his train was held up by a points failure.

This time he's not prepared to risk coming by train, preferring to take the A12 from central London.


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His visit last November turned the "quiet man" of British politics into the angry man on a train – his visit to Ipswich was so badly curtailed that it made little impact at all on the by-election.

During his visit to Suffolk today, he is meeting Conservative Party members and visiting a school that has been turned around over the last year.

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His trip kicked off with a visit to Holywells High School in Ipswich.

This school was in the spotlight a year ago after Ofsted inspectors produced a damning report.

Since then new headteacher Karen Grimes has implemented an action plan which has seen the school improve considerably.

Mr Duncan Smith was being shown the improvements made as the school has expanded to take more pupils from the growing Ravenswood estate nearby.

"I am very much looking forward to my visit to Holywells High School, and meeting the headteacher, Karen Grimes," he said on his way to Suffolk.

"I understand that through her leadership, and the hard work of all the staff, Holywells is improving. They are using interesting ICT initiatives as well as a mentoring scheme which both seem to be improving learning.

"Like many other schools, however, Holywells suffers from not being able to recruit and retain enough staff.

"Unfortunately this is due to Government policy, which undermines school discipline and imposes too much paperwork on teachers.

"I will be discussing this and other issues with her during my visit today."

After his visit to Holywells, Mr Duncan Smith was attending a function for party members before travelling to Norfolk for two more engagements.

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