THE race to be the first private company to run a school on the site of the failing Kings' Manor comprehensive in Guildford, Surrey, has been narrowed down to four companies.
The four were selected from nine organisations by a professional evaluation panel set up by the Conservative-controlled county council according to UK and European Union criteria.
They are: the Centre for British Teachers, a not-for-profit company; the City Technology College Kingshurst; the Education Partnership, an organisation which has bid in co-operation with World ORT, Good Business and the US-based Edison Project. The fourth is Nord Anglia Education.
Dr Andrew Povey, Surrey's education chairman, said they had a wealth of knowledge, experience and resources available to succeed in raising standards in schools.
They will now be invited to submit bids to be evaluated by a specialist panel of four as well as making presentations to parents, the community and education committee.
The front-runner appears to be the Education Partnership - the consortium including the high-profile Edison Project -which is chaired by James Tooley, professor of education at Newcastle University.
The Edison Project has previously been in provate discussions with Surrey County Council about creating an education action zone in the north Guildford aream where Kings' Manor is cited.
The scheme needs final approval from David Blunkett, the Education Secretary, in February.