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From the editor

What are education authorities for? With most pounds and powers now devolved to schools, what is there left for local councils to do? The Government has assured them they have a strategic role. But is it the same for them all? And what does it mean in practice to children on the receiving end of their services and the people who work in them?

The second of our Local Focus supplements features one of the largest. What does a county like Essex, once abandoned by three out of four of its secondary schools when they opted out, now add to the sum total of its schools? Ofsted rate the efficiency and effectiveness of authorities and The TES duly records those strengths and weaknesses. But what is special about teaching or supporting schools in Essex? And what or who makes it different in character from Ealing, Enfield or East Sussex?

These are the questions this occasional series aims to answer. Earlier this month we looked at Tim Brighouse's Birmingham. We will soon be telling the story of the resurgence of Liverpool. I would be pleased to hear from any other authority that feels it has a distinctive story to tell.

Bob Doe Editor TES

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