Writing was on the wall in 1989
Kent County Council proved the pioneer of blatancy by letting schools establish poster sites in their corridors in the late 1980s. The then head of marketing, Chris Metherell, says: "We were the first LEA to allow - enable is a better word - schools to get income from products and we employed an agency to sell bus shelter-sized ads in schools." Weetabix and Wella Hair Care were among the takers and, between 1988 and 1991, in-school poster sites generated Pounds 2 million of income.
Since 1991 Kent schools have sold their own ads and the more private accounting of LMS means overall revenue figures are not available. Mr Metherell now heads Kent Council's sports agency which, among other things, boosts sponsorship of school concerts and sports days.
"Such events facilitate teachermanager swaps," he says. "It helps make sure the product of schools is what business wants and that education output is attuned to the business world."