A county council is looking to sell a successful money-spinning school improvement service to a private operator.
EES for Schools is a traded service employing 120 people operated within Essex County Council. It has developed tracking software that is said to be used in more than a quarter of England's schools.
The local authority is now looking for a buyer for the operation after agreeing to sell it to allow a further expansion.
The sale will include the Target Tracker software and the transfer of all 120 employees.
A report to councillors says that EES generates a “significant revenue” for Essex County Council.
However, it also warns that the business may require specialist investment to allow it to develop, meaning the county council may not be the best long-term owner of the business.
The council expects a new buyer to commit to keeping the company’s headquarters in Essex.
When the sale was agreed Councillor Ray Gooding, cabinet member for education, said: “EES for Schools is a successful business that Essex County Council has grown from scratch.
"It started with the development of their market-leading Target Tracker software by a passionate group of education officers some 15 years ago.
“EES is already trading nationally and internationally but has so much more potential to grow. Following a review of the Council’s options, led by PWC, the recommendation Cabinet will be considering is an outright sale of the business.
"This would be to an investor who is willing to retain the EES HQ in Essex and who will have the right resources to grow EES to even greater levels of success.”
The business describes itself as “a dynamic school effectiveness and improvement organisation, delivering sophisticated software, training and consultancy services”.
It works with more than 4,500 schools across England and in 20 countries overseas.
Tes has revealed how the numbers of people being employed in school improvement services in local councils has fallen sharply, with figures suggesting 60 per cent of jobs have gone in the space of six years because of a lack of government funding.
However, many local authorities run school improvement services as a traded operation that charges schools for their work.