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BYERS ANNOUNCES LITERACY ULTIMATUM

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The Independent (p8) reports from the North of England education conference that school standards minister Stephen ...
The Independent (p8) reports from the North of England education conference that school standards minister Stephen Byers yesterday published a list of literacy targets for 132 local authorities. Some will be expected to double the proportion of 11-year-olds reaching the expected standard over the next five years.

Authorities were asked to choose targets from a 5% range. Byers said that some had been cajoled into setting targets acceptable to the government. Others had opted to aim for even higher goals. He is quoted: 'There will be no hiding place for under performance -- every parent will know these figures and will judge local education authorities on how they meet them.' Ministers would be monitoring authorities' progress and would take action if any were falling behind.

According to the Independent, Byers reassured conference delegates that they had a vital role to play in new educaiton action zones but warned them they had no God-given right to run schools. And, according to the Guardian (p9), he added that there was no 'dogmatic' requirement that private firms should be contracted to run schools, but they would be eligible to do so.

Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph (p8) devotes a page of analysis and features to the issue of Education Action Zones, comparing EAZs unfavourably to the previous governments's opting-out policy. The Telegraph also analyses business' role in EAZs, including interviews with chairman of Nord Anglia Kevin McNeany and Graham Walker of Arthur Andersen.
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