Self-governing schools can become important asset

2nd December 1994 at 00:00
Of course, your reporter is entitled to disagree with the arguments in my Demos booklet, The Common Sense of Community, although I thought that was the privilege of the reviewer. However, it surely is inappropriate to get the basic facts wrong.

Under the headline: "Think-tank's treatise backs move to GM," your reporter says I describe the "benefits (of) opting out" (TES, November 11). But I don't.

If you read it, the booklet describes the benefits of local management, not grant-maintained status. It argues for a "small, visionary local authority, " and a "partnership between schools and (the) local authority".

Surely, you should know that all schools are enjoying the devolved benefits of local management? The point of my thesis is now that all schools are largely self-governing, they can become even more important assets for their neighbourhoods and strengthen the common sense of community.

How your reporter could have made such a basic set of errors escapes me, unless they were triggered by the equally false assertion that my business "provides advice to schools on . . . opting out". It doesn't.

You kindly accurately remind your readers that when I resigned from Birmingham's local education authority some four years ago, I described it as being in danger of becoming "a laughing stock". It was.

Therefore, I also said that unless changes were swiftly made it risked losing most of its schools. Fortunately, soon afterwards a new chief education officer was appointed, changes were made to the personnel of the education committee and to the structure and function of the department. It is now more in line with the needs of schools - "a small visionary local authority".

Dr DICK ATKINSON 19 Mayfield Road Moseley Birmingham

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