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Industry backing is not lacking

THE Leigh Park action zone is built on five years of co-operation between its 16 schools. There is a balance of innovation with proven good practice in PAVES (Promoting positive attitudes,values, ethos and self-esteem) - a framework with practical strategies developed by a group of teachers within the zone.

The suggestion that "industry has not been keen to provide either cash or initiative" does not match our experience here.We are building relationships to last beyond the life of the zone, based on shared beliefs and partnership working.

IBM's director of human resources for the UK is leading a planning and evaluation conference for action zones heads in addition to the information and communication technology doation and technical support already received.

We have a business partners' group including The News group, Scottish Power Learning, Portsmouth Football Club, Proctor and Gamble.They recognise that benefits are mutual and that their employees develop skills through joint projects with the zone.

There is no zone blueprint. The "local solutions to local problems" approach means that there will be variations between zones. In Leigh Park we are working to ensure that the zone equals the schools plus their community - rather than being another layer of bureaucracy between the authority and the Department for Education and Employment.

Susan Wright Director Leigh Park education action zone Havant, Hampshire

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