The answer is in the private sector

10th November 2000 at 00:00
I WAS interested to read your article and your editorial (TES, October 13) on the involvement of former local education officers in private-sector education partnerships.

As you reported, Nord Anglia provides the interim senior management team in Sandwell, following two challenging Office for Standards in Education reports.

We provide the director of education, head of inclusion and access and head of school improvement. The latter is seconded via Nord Anglia from a neighbouring authority.

All three have extensive experience of authority work at similar levels. The fourth member of the senior mangement team was already in post in the borough.

In its first half-term this joint team has made considerable impact. It has:

completely rewritten the post-OFSTED action plan;

linked this to a best-value review of education, to which Nord Anglia is contributing advice and support from its own consultants;

begun a total restructuring of the educatio department, supported by Nord Anglia;

set up a consultative framework for heads and governors;

established new communications protocols across the service;

addressed corporate issues in information and communication technology, personnel and finance.

In our view, this is tremendous progress over little more than six weeks of work. It appears to go well beyond what had been achieved previously by the local authority.

We understand the anxieties of teachers and council staff about the outsourcing agenda. However, our experience suggests that with competent and motivated staff, performing sensitively to agreed contracts and with sharply focused targets, the private sector can bring significant benefits, whether in the intervention context or in voluntary arrangements such as those which Nord Anglia has with serveral other authorities.

Kevin McNeany

Executive chairman

Nord Anglia

10 Eden Place

Cheadle

Cheshire


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