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Partners sought

The Department for Education and Employment's strategic framework consultative document "Learning and working together for the future" is criticised for not addressing how its partnership with teachers should develop (TES, October 10).

Let me encourage your readers to get copies of the consultative document from DFEE Publications (Tel:0845 6022260) and judge for themselves.

They will see that DFEE regards creating and sustaining partnerships - both in developing and delivering policy - as one of its six key challenges and that we devote over half a page of a relatively short document to explaining why partnerships are so important. They will also realise that with the many different types of partnership this department has to develop, it would be impractical to go into details in this document about any one of these, however important.

Ministers have made it very clear on many occasions, beginning with the letter that the Secretary of State sent to all schools after the election, how committed they are to building a strong partnership with all those working in the education services, in order to deliver the excellence in schools all our children need and deserve. I have constantly made the same point too. We are now working out what this partnership means in practice as we consult on the Government's wide-ranging plans for school improvement.

MICHAEL BICHARD

Permanent secretary Department for Education and Employment London SW1

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