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Just not the survey's year

I was disappointed to read the letter from Dr Haworth (TES, July 16) criticising us for not circulating this year's Audit Commission survey regarding support offered by education authorities to schools. We did participate in this survey in 2003, having previously done so in 2001, and will do so again in 2005.

Last year's response rate from Cheshire schools, at 26 per cent, was well below the national average of 38 per cent and, mindful of the many surveys and other documents received by schools each year, it is our practice to participate in this particular survey biannually.

Cheshire is rated as an "excellent" authority by the Audit Commission, and one of the key reasons for this is our partnership with schools and other stakeholders. This is something we take very seriously. There are many different ways in which the authority seeks comment and feedback from our schools and other partners. I would expect Dr Haworth, as an officer of the Cheshire Governors' Forum, to be well aware of all these facts, which he has failed to acknowledge in his letter.

Our commitment to consultation and constructive dialogue remains as strong as ever and I believe is positively regarded throughout the county. Your correspondent's view is therefore, I believe, very much in a minority.

David Cracknell Director of education and community Cheshire county council

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