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Calderdale brings in reinforcements

TWO EDUCATION specialists have been appointed by Calderdale Council in an attempt to stave off a take-over by a Government-backed hit squad.

Simon Jenkin, former chief education officer of Devon and Peter Wylie, currently the director of education in Knowsley, will advise the borough on how it can raise standards.

The appointments were made just over a week after an inspection by the Office for Standards in Education found that the Yorkshire authority had failed to address five of the 10 recommendations OFSTED made in 1997 for turning around its schools.

Two weeks ago Paul Sheehan, the chief executive, set out to seek out top names in education to show the authority "how it should be done". The borough has until September 14 to come up with a plan for improving its education service, or risk becoming the first in the country to lose its powers under new legislation.

Mr Jenkin retired from his post as chief education officer in Devon in March after nine years. He has also worked as a teacher in further and higher education.

Peter Wylie has been director of education in Knowsley for the past five years, and has worked for Birmingham, Leicester and East Sussex local authorities.

In a joint statement, the two said: "We are delighted to have been invited by the chief executive to help prepare a response for the Secretary of State to the recent Ofsted inspection of Calderdale.

"We will undertake wide-ranging discussions with all colleagues within the education department and in schools as a matter of urgency and hope to report to the chief executive early in September in order to help with the construction of that response."

Calderdale was placed under scrutiny after one of its schools, The Ridings, in Halifax, was temporarily closed down in a blaze of publicity about disciplinary problems.

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