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Thursday, June 24, 1999 Published at 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK


Islington given details of education privatisation

Islington has been told it will lose all its school services

The London Borough of Islington is to have all its services to schools contracted out, as the government has given the latest details of the extent of the privatisation.

After a highly-critical report from inspectors, the government intervened in the provision of education services in the borough, announcing that services would be taken away from the local authority and put out to private tender.

The government has now accepted the recommendations of consultants that the local authority would retain control of non-schools services - adult education, under-fives and student awards - and that all school services will be contracted out.

As well as educational support services, administrative services for schools also will be included in the tendering process, such as pay-roll, personnel and finance.

The bidding process for contracts for the services is expected to begin in September.

"This is an important turning point for Islington. I am confident that the next stage in this process will mark a sea change in the standards of education in Islington," says the School Standards Minister, Estelle Morris.

Last week there were protests from teachers' unions at the government's decision to award a commercial company with the contract for running school improvement services in the London Borough of Hackney.

The government awarded the contract to Nord Anglia, a decision which the Association of Teachers and Lecturers attacked.

The union's general secretary, Peter Smith, said he was "horrified that such an important public service should be contracted out to an organisation which is unashamedly and blatantly in it for the money".

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