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Friday, 26 April, 2002, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Outside help for education service
Tribal aims to improve Swindon's education service
A private company has been given the task of helping Swindon to improve its failing education system.

Councillors in the town voted in favour of signing an agreement with specialist education provider Tribal Group Plc.

Gloucestershire-based Tribal will join Swindon's new independently-chaired education partnership board and provide strategic advice over the next three years.

The education service in Swindon was criticised in an Ofsted report last September.

'Significant challenges'

Stephen Timms MP, Minister of State for School Standards, said: "I'm pleased there's been a cross-party approach to tackling the issues identified by Ofsted.

"Significant challenges lie ahead to ensure that Swindon's schools and pupils get the support they deserve but this agreement shows the commitment is there in Swindon to meet these challenges."

The strategic partnership approach is innovative and we're convinced it will work well for Swindon

Council leader Mike Bawden

Tribal, which has more than 700 employees, will be moving its headquarters from Bourton-On-The-Hill, Gloucestershire, to Paulton, 10 miles from Swindon.

It will provide external management expertise to Swindon's Local Education Authority (LEA) and will also provide immediate temporary cover for the council's management vacancies.

Other tasks it will carry out include helping recruit the two most senior levels of the council's new education management team and ensuring services offered to pupils give value for money.

Mike Bawden, leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: "The strategic partnership approach is innovative and we're convinced it will work well for Swindon.

"We recognised that we need to accept outside support in rebuilding the LEA to drive through the improvements necessary following last September's disastrous Ofsted report."

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13 Feb 02 | England
2m cuts planned to aid schools
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