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Wednesday, 2 February, 2000, 19:40 GMT
New openings for educational advisers

islington education service Islington's service is largely in consultants' hands

The government is looking for more private contractors to take over failing education services in England.

The announcement from the School Standards Minister, Estelle Morris, on the day that consultants are to be sent into three struggling authorities, suggests that more privatisations are anticipated.

Since the introduction of legislation allowing the government to take away the powers of failing authorities, there has been a series of high-profile interventions following critical inspection reports.

So far two authorities have had education services "outsourced". In the London Borough of Hackney, the school improvement service and ethnic minority achievement service have been contracted out to Nord Anglia.

And a more substantial privatisation has taken place in Islington - where the majority of services for schools, pupils and parents are now in the hands of the educational consultancy Cambridge Education Associates.

And there could still be another "outsourcing" of services in Southwark.

Approved list

Back in November, Ms Morris said in a speech to chief education officers that she expected 15 "major interventions" in failing LEAs.

There are 10 organisations or consortiums on the government's current list of those approved to bid for contracts to run services in local education authorities: Arthur Andersen/Birmingham LEA/APS Keele, Cambridge Education Associates, Nord Anglia, Hampshire LEA, The Education Partnership, Capita, CfBT, Essex LEA/Windsor & Co, Include and CEM Consortium.

"We now wish to expand the approved lists and we are therefore advertising nationally today for public and private sector organisations who wish to help with this work," Ms Morris said.

"The range and scope of work undertaken by consultants for LEAs will also be extended to include the provision of interim management in circumstances where an LEA is lacking senior management capacity.

"We also hope that LEAs will want to use consultants and providers on a voluntary basis to assist with the provision of their services rather than just in the event of intervention as a result of Ofsted inspection."

The deadline for consultants to express an interest in providing services is 10 March.

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02 Feb 00 |  Education
Intervention in failing authorities

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