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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 1999): Education - UK - Schools

BLUNKETT MAY BE IMPATIENT AND IN TORMENT OVER BAD SCHOOLS. MAYBE.

D. Aitkenhead
Guardian, March 12th 1999, p. 20

Speculates as to whether Mr Blunkett will order the take-over of Hackney Education Department by a private contractor in a blow to local democracy.

EXTRA CASH PROMISED TO CUT SIZE OF CLASSES

J. Carvel
Guardian, March 5th 1999, p. 6

Reports that the government has promised to fund 2,500 extra teachers and more than 1,000 new classrooms to accelerate delivery of its manifesto pledge to halt overcrowding in infant classes. The money would be used to help popular schools expand, while less well-favoured establishments had empty places.

(See also Financial Times, March 5th 1999, p. 7)

HELD IN TRUST: THE LEA OF THE FUTURE

Audit Commission
Abingdon: Audit Commission Publications, 1999

The Audit Commission has discovered wide disparities among Local Education Authorities. While some satisfy the requirements laid down in the School Standards and Effectiveness Act, many are failing to channel public money in the most effective way. Services LEAs provide for schools vary in terms of both cost and quality. Expenditure on financial services ranges from £56 to £8 per pupil. Money delegated to schools ranges from 85% to less than 60%.

LEAS IN SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS

R. Smithers
Public Finance, Feb 19th-25th 1999, p. 16-18

Article analyses the changing role of local education authorities under New Labour. In spite of being promised a pivotal role in the government's programme of educational reform, LEAs are in danger of being squeezed out in the face of increasing private sector involvement.

PRIVATE FIRMS HESITATE AS GOVERNMENT TARGETS LEAS

K. Day
Public Finance, Feb. 5-11, 1999, p. 11

In January the government took the unprecedented step of advertising for private companies to take over failing services from local education authorities. However the majority of education provides responded cautiously. Many firms are reluctant to take on the most troubled education services in the country, when there is still a sizeable profit to be made from the independent sector.

PRIVATE SECTOR GROUPS CIRCLE ABOVE FLOUNDERING SCHOOLS AUTHORITIES

S. Targett
Financial Times, Feb. 23rd 1999, p. 13.

Argues that Local Education Authorities under fire for failing to meet government targets for literacy and numeracy could be easy prey for private companies eager to take over their role.

SCHOOLS MORTGAGE THEIR FUTURES

Anon.
Labour Research, vol. 88, no. 2, 1999, p. 13-14.

Looks at recent developments in the use of private finance to fund school building projects. Drawbacks include lack of democratic accountability, lengthy contracts with a private partner that limit future flexibility, and the burden of annual repayments to the contractor, which may lead to staff cuts if the school's budget is reduced.

THE TIMES SCHOOLS REPORT

Times. Special supplement, Feb. 23rd 1999.

Presents and comments on primary school league tables. The Education Secretary has promised to resign on the issue of raising standards in the three Rs by 2002, promising that 80% of 11-year-olds will achieve standards for their age group in English and 75% in maths. However current results show only 64% of children meeting their age group standards in English and 58% in maths. Defending the figures, Mr Blunkett has pointed out that almost 1000 schools have shown consistent improvement since the tables were first published in 1997.

(For comment see Guardian, Feb 23rd 1999, p. 8; Financial Times, Feb. 23rd 1999, p. 13; Independent, Feb. 23rd 1999, p. 9)

WHY 163 TOP STATE SCHOOLS ARE NOW UNDER THREAT

J. Clare
Daily Telegraph, March 5th 1999, p. 12-13.

Launches a campaign to save the country's 163 remaining grammar schools which are in danger of being voted out of existence by parental ballot under the School Standards and Framework Act.

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