Two sides to council survey...

4th February 2000 at 00:00
"SCHOOLS fear privatisation threat" could equally have been the headline for last week's front- page report (TES, January 28).

"With the Government about to force councils to consider privatising their services, a TES survey shows that around three-quarters of secondary schools and nine out of 10 primaries believe that most or many education authorities are doing a good job, and should be left alone to get on with it." This statement appears to fit the facts from your survey as well as the anti-LEA "special" that was run.

The tendency to undermine public services and those who work in them, and to compare them unfavourably with the private sector, is offensive, largely groundless, and peculiarly destructive. It is leading to demoralisation and recruitment crises - and is not te way to raise standards.

Most local authorities are performing pretty well (even the Office for Standards in Education says so), and are adjusting to a changing role - which includes a growing range of positive relationships with the private sector. Some perform exceptionally well and these are better placed than private companies to support those which are struggling - but we need a system to enable such solutions.

Creating a private-sector alternative largely involves the recruitment of able public servants on higher salaries, whose services are then sold back at a higher rate plus a profit margin. It is not surprising that there is widespread opposition to such "solutions".

Martin Rogers

The Education Network

22 Upper Woburn Place

London WC1H

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