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Firm finds a private hell

RAISED eyebrows at the "Education Partnerships" conference last week when WS Atkins, the private contractor running education in Southwark and the event's sponsor, decided to pull out its speaker. David Monger, the company's director of LEA partnerships, had been due to talk on "Learning from experience".

Why the sudden attack of shyness from the normally voluble privatisation people? All became clear on Tuesday when Atkins announced it had learned from experience ... and was pulling out of Southwark after negotiations with the local council colleagues.

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