Headlines: January 17th, 2000

The Government has officially handed over the job of running Islington’s schools to a private consortium.Cambridge Education Associates have won the job after Islington Council’s consistently poor performance.

The Government hopes that awarding the contract to outsiders will drive standards up – and has set the agency tough targets to ensure success.

No school must fail its OFSTED inspection during the seven year contract period, 39 per cent of pupils must achieve good GCSE grades compared with the current 27 per cent, and all schools currently in special measures must come out of them in under two years

The contract will run from April. The agency will provide the educationalist services of school improvement, preventing school failure, sharing good practice and the implementation of the literacy and numeracy strategies.

Perhaps more worrying to poor-performing local authorities, other services being handed over are the more generalist payroll and finance.