Headlines: February 4th, 2000

The power to intervene when a school is failing will be used more extensively in the future. There have been two interventions to date, in the London Boroughs of Hackney and Islington. The number is set to rise to 15 in the next few months. It is believed that tighter central control, rising standards and better management information available at the centre, is proving particularly challenging for the weaker local education authorities.Because the increase in interventions is seen as a trend rather than a blip, the Department for Education and Employment is seeking new providers and consultants from the public and private sectors. The department plans to set up new framework contracts to expand the approved lists. The scope of new agreements is also being extended to include senior management skills so that deficiencies in a local education authority can be made good.

Local education authorities are also being encouraged to use providers and consultants on a voluntary basis to avoid the need for formal intervention at a later stage.