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LEAs must lead extended service

Stephen Adamson (TES, March 24) tells governors to start planning now for extended services in schools to enable bottom-up development.

We need a partnership between schools and local authorities, in which schools put forward their parents' views, but the ATL believes that it is local authorities who should plan and co-ordinate extended services. We fear that, if schools go it alone, we could end up with downward pressure on quality, as they compete to offer, say, childcare in an attempt to bolster their rolls.

The Government has directed the bulk of the cash for this programme at local authorities for good reasons. Authorities offer strategic leadership and can plan for services where need is greatest in a way no single school can. Who else can properly decide a single charging policy for an area?

Too many pioneering schools are treating this development as a means of building empires - and making more demands on existing teaching and support staff. ATL believes all the work associated with extended services should be done by new staff appointed by the local authority.

Many authorities are showing excellent inclusive leadership, but others are letting schools go their own way. If governing bodies get carried away, their overworked heads will be pressured into poor decisions which will fail the most needy who could be the main beneficiaries of this programme.

Mary Bousted General Secretary Association of Teachers and Lecturers 7 Northumberland Street London WC2

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