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In touch is better than opted out

Sandy Adamson's brushing aside of the distance between the Funding Agency for Schools in York and grant-maintained schools throughout the country (TES, March 24) will not wash. Despite his many qualities, which I and other chief education officers appreciate, he does not seem to understand how county education authorities operate in order to stay close to schools in all parts, be they urban or rural.

Even in one of the largest LEAs with more than 600 partnership schools, every single Kent headteacher has at least three opportunities a year to meet senior members and officers, including myself, and the contacts with the LEA are two-way and regular.

We do that, even after slimming down the management of the education department, because it is a high priority for us and for the schools. The value of such work is in stark contrast to the time we have spent on direct work with or for the FAS, duplicating discussions and planning processes. This has yielded little of tangible benefit for the education service in the county and I could have done with my senior colleagues spending an extra half-day in 200 schools which would have been possible if they had not been engaged with the FAS.

ROY PRYKE

Director of education services

Kent County Council

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