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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 November, 2004, 13:01 GMT
Ex-chief inspector buying schools
Chris Woodhead
Ex-chief inspector Chris Woodhead leads a firm buying private schools
A critic of government education policies is backing a company which aims to be the largest provider of private school places in the country.

Chris Woodhead, ex-chief inspector of schools, is behind a firm buying up private institutions, it has emerged.

He is chairman of the Cognita group which has plans over the next two years to buy 24 independent schools teaching up to 10,000 children.

The company has just bought its first school - Quinton House in Northampton.

Chris Woodhead resigned from his post to become a major critic of education policies.

His new company has moved to reassure parents that their academic standards were not at risk.

Cognita says it aims is to free heads and other staff from the burden of bureaucracy, leaving them free to concentrate on teaching.

Quinton House School was founded in 1946 now has 325 pupils and 30 staff.

Its motto is Integrity in Everything and day fees range from 3,900 to 6,450.

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