By Francesca James

MPs are due to vote on the coalition's first major piece of legislation that would allow parents to set up their own schools, a legislation which paves the way for a major overhaul of England's existing school system.

The department for education describe the bill as a government vision that will:

‘Create a world-beating school system in which every parent has access to a good school and all pupils achieve high standards. The central aims are to raise standards for all children, while narrowing the gap between the attainment of the most and least advantaged.’

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers' union, said:

"The arrogance and impatience with which this Coalition Government has sought to bludgeon this Bill through the parliamentary process is a disgrace."

"It underlines the fact that they are on an ideological mission to demolish state education."

"The Academies Bill is unadulterated Tory policy. Yet the Tories received no mandate from the people of this country to make such a profound change to state education. If they had they would have been voted in with a working majority."

"Instead they are being propped up by a Liberal Democrat leadership who seem to be more concerned to keep seats round the cabinet table than to protect the public interest and the education of children and young people."

"The public needs to be aware that if this Bill passes onto the statute books it will be the first stage in the dismantling of the welfare state."