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No threat of private take-overs in Wales

THERE will be no move to privatise education services in Wales, Peter Hain, the Welsh education minister, has made clear.

David Blunkett, the Education Secretary, warned two weeks ago that failing education authorities in England could be taken over by private companies.

He said councils would be judged on their inspection reports and education development plans. As The TES reported last week, Downing Street is to help "mark" these development plans.

But no such moves are envisaged in Wales, where there are few failing schools (only two primaries and one pupil referral unit) and closer relationships between schools, LEAs, the inspectorate and the Welsh Office.

The traditional approach to helping failing schools will continue, a Welsh Office spokeswoman said. Inspectors will ask for an action plan and then visit to measure progress. "Schools and local authorities will work together," she said.

The 22 Welsh education authorities, which are still less than two years old, do not face the same general inspections as their English counterparts so cannot "fail" an inspection. A recent inspectorate survey of the role of Welsh authorities in school improvement found that LEAs did make a difference, especially in helping weaker schools.

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