List of private firms supplying education services grows

18 May 00
The expanded list of companies approved to supply services to failing local education authorities has been criticised by the Local Government Association and the National Union of Teachers.

19 May 2000

Announcing the additions to the list, schools standards minister Estelle Morris this week said she hoped LEAs would eventually recognise the benefits of working with the companies voluntarily rather than just using their services when forced to following a poor Ofsted inspection.

Morris also announced that the range of work undertaken for LEAs by consultants has been extended to include interim strategic management where authorities are judged to be lacking in 'senior management capacity'.

Ensign is one of the consortiums on the list of service providers and includes Group 4, which has already been involved in prisons. Others include Serco, WS Atkins, QAA Education Consultants and Camden LEA. Consultancies that have been added to the list include Deloitte & Touche and Ernst & Young.

Graham Lane, chair of the LGA's education executive, was angered by news that a joint bid to join the list from the LGA and the Improvement and Development Agency had been rejected for a second time. He said: 'I understand government ministers see us as defenders of local government. That's unfair – we are tougher on local government than anybody else would be.'

A spokeswoman for the National Union of Teachers said: 'This is typical behaviour of the government. They have extended the list when there is no evidence to suggest that external companies have provided a significant improvement on what can be offered by LEAs.'


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