Headlines: May 13th, 1999

Plans for rescuing failing schools have moved forward with the announcement of the organisations that will take part in rescue operations. Framework contracts for consultancy work relating to LEA interventions have been awarded to KPMG, Lorien, Capita, Office of Public Management, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Arthur Andersen/Birmingham LEA.

Ten organisations have been placed on a list of those who may be invited to bid for contracts as service providers to Local Education Authorities when it has been decided that intervention is necessary. They are: Arthur Andersen/Birmingham LEA/APS Keele, Cambridge Education Associates, Nord Anglia, Hampshire LEA, The Education Partnership, Capita, CfBT, Essex LEA/Windsor & Co, Include and CEM Consortium.

The joint bid by the Local Government Improvement and Development Agency and the Local Government Association for consultancy and service provision was rejected by the Deparmtnet for Education and Employment. A spokesperson for the Development Agency said that they intend to build up a capability to provide support to local education authorities, in the same way that they offer support in other areas of local government. Invitations from LEAs for assistance are expected to involve schools that are doing well, not merely those doing less well. The Agency believes that their approach, which is based on peer group review, will be more effective than parachuting in a task force.