Responses shed very little light

4th February 2000 at 00:00
MUCH as a drunk uses a lamppost for support rather than illumination, I think you have used your survey data to support your stance against LEAs. Your front-page article and the headlines of the "six-page special" imply that there is great dissatisfaction with LEAs.

Close inspection of your data reveals that just over one-third of the 1,000 schools in your sample responded to your questionnaire. The majority of those respondents considered that they were getting value for money from their LEA.

Of course big money can be made out of education, but what your feature fails to explain is in what way you think privatisation is going to be good for the children of this country.

By definition, a business must be more concerned about its shareholders than its clients. Profit must come before children.

It is recognised that local government needs to evolve, but my coleagues who work in (what is left of) LEAs are looking forward to best value as a way of demonstrating our effectiveness and extraordinary commitment.

I share your scorn for central government's trust in crony-led quangos, but could someone explain why it is such a bad idea to insist that education is accountable to democratically-elected representatives of local communities?

Cliff Turner

2 Nations Hill

Kings Worthy, Winchester

The Editor writes: Our report aimed to highlight one of the biggest issues currently facing state education - the Government's intention to make greater use of the private sector to improve under-performing services. The survey suggested - to our surprise - that most secondary heads support this strategy. The TES is not anti-LEA, and believes local government should continue to play a key role in running state schools.


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