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Radical act

Your former editor's attempt (TES, October 17) to explain away the well-publicised troubles of Hackney's education service solely by reference to the presence or otherwise of the "good old local education officer" does not square with the accumulating evidence of the Office for Standards in Education inspection reports on the authority.

These show deep-rooted failings in management reaching back many years - in other words, just those failings which notoriously affect the local authority as a whole.

It is interesting that the local authority association's offer to send in its own "improvement team" was contemptuously ignored by ministers, presumably because the experience of the educational establishment was deemed irrelevant to the Hackney situation.

It appears the Government recognises that the complex and daunting inner-city problems of social exclusion and educational regeneration demand far more radical solutions than the preservation in aspic of traditional local government structures. And quite right too!

Patricia Rowan's advocacy of the local education authority may play well in Cambridgeshire but not on the estates of Dalston and Hoxton.

DAVID PHILLIPS (Councillor) London borough of Hackney Members Secretariat Town Hall Hackney

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