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pound;300 a day to work for academies

CONSULTANTS earning pound;300 a day are to be brought in to support the Government's stuttering city academies initiative.

The Department for Education and Employment advertises in today's TES for "part-time consultants" with "a proven track record in galvanising high performance in secondary education" to work with the partnerships setting up the first academies.

They will be expected to advise on areas including school improvement, curriculum innovation, financial management and self-evaluation. Others will help set up the new schools' information technology infrastructure. Each will be paid pound;300 a day plus expenses.

Short-term managers to give "'hands-on' support to existing schools as they work towards city academy status" are also being sought.

City academies were launched by Education Secretary David Blunkett a year ago to turn around failing secondaries. They will be state-funded independent schools, based loosely on the city technology colleges created by the Conservatives. Each will be set up with up to pound;2 millon of private cash.

The consultants are being hired by the Technology Colleges Trust's new city academies support service.

TCT chairman Sir Cyril Taylor said each project was likely to use three or four consultants. "We want to make sure they work. We don't want to be reinventing the wheel all the time. It's very much a message of pragmatism rooted in experience."

Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said:

"The Government is trying to prop up an initiative that failed under the Conservatives and certainly isn't prospering under Labour.

"It's extraordinary that the Government should be trying to recruit consultants on pound;300 a day when it's only prepared to pay a teacher with at least seven years' experience pound;68 a day for all the hours they work."

Six pilot projects have already been announced. The first is expected to be open in September in Haringey, north London, but others will not open until at least a year later.

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