Rather it is a programme of individual school support, negotiated by the LEA in the role of critical friend, where the majority of the monitoring and evaluation is actually undertaken by the school itself as part of its own development planning.
Geoffrey Samuel's allegations of bureaucratic and political interference by LEAs do a grave injustice to those many parts of the country where constructive partnerships have done a tremendous amount to promote educational improvement and opportunity.
These words of mine are no empty rhetoric. They are the reality of a system which has been in operation for many years. Indeed, many schools now use their own money to top up the core programme - and that includes a number of our grant-maintained schools. I have no doubt whose side this LEA is on!
Chief education officer
Gloucestershire County Council