AN EDUCATION authority judged so bad that is being taken over by the private sector has produced some of the most improved results in this year's league tables.
The north London borough of Islington registered the fourth highest improvement of any authority between 1998 and 1999. Its results for English, maths and science climbed by a combined 34.7 percentage points to leave it ranked 114th of 150 English authorities, which all improved their scores. It also came 11th in the list of the most improved authorities over the past four years, registering a 56.6 point increase since 1996.
The results come only a week after it emerged that Cambridge Education Associates is the Government's preferred bidder to take charge of all education services in Islington - the largest privatisation of its kind in Britain.
There was mixed news in the tables for other authorities criticised in recent inspection reports.
Hackney also featured in the top 25 most improved authorities over the past four years.
But this year's improvement of only 14.4 percentage points was one of the lowest in the country, and left the London borough rooted to the bottom of the table.
Both Liverpool and Leicester produced improvements slightly above average but are still near the bottom of the table.
Tower Hamlets in London has made the fifth greatest improvement over the last four years, though it still ranked as the ninth worst local authority.
Among authorities making the slowest progress is the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, in the bottom 20 of local education authorities, though two weeks ago it emerged as the most improved authority at GCSE level.
Some authorities, such as Richmond upon Thames, show a comparatively low improvement rate because they already achieve high scores.