Council blow to Blair's school vision

A LOCAL authority has dealt Tony Blair's ambition to break up "old-fashioned" state education a major blow, beating off trust school and academy proposals in the first new-schools competition.

The schools adjudicator's office ruled that Haringey council was best suited to provide a new 1,080-pupil secondary at the centre of the north London borough.

It rejected a trust-school proposal from the not-for-profit Centre for British Teachers and plans from the United Learning Trust and the Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College Trust to add to their existing chains of academies.

Explaining their backing for a traditional community comprehensive, the adjudicators write: "The proposal capitalises on the promoter's knowledge of the borough, draws on what has been learned in recent years in improving education in the borough, and emphasises the potential collaboration with other local schools."

More such competitions can be expected after new regulations and guidance came into force today extending the process to primary schools under the controversial Education and Inspections Act 2006.

Downing Street had wanted the legislation to ban new community schools, restricting local authorities to a commissioning role.

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