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Councils have role on standards

Local education authorities are key players in the quest to improve standards in schools, Gillian Shephard will be told at a private meeting with chief officers later this month.

As the Local Government Commission continues its review of the English counties, the Education Secretary will hear that it is vital that councils retain a pivotal role.

She will be told that local education authorities must not only support heads, governors and teachers, but must be able to intervene if schools are concealing problems.

Roy Pryke, chief education officer for Kent, said LEAs should be working with the Office for Standards in Education to help monitor standards and identify problems and remedy them at an early stage. Every LEA had a number of "hiding schools" which try toconceal their problems, he said.

Ways of making schools more effective will be discussed at a meeting of the newly-formed Standing Conference of Chief Education Officers next week which Mrs Shephard will address.

The two-day meeting at Warwick University will look at how local authorities can work with schools and ways of enhancing leadership.

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