that consultants will be appointed to advise the LEA on improving
its service following a critical OFSTED report published yesterday. The consultants who will be drawn from an approved list will look at the options, including contracting out, for some key education services.
The OFSTED report concludes that weaknesses outweigh the strengths,
It is particularly critical of the poor quality of strategic planning
and leadership in the education service, and of two key services: the
School Improvement and Educational Welfare Services.
The report also identifies some strengths in the LEA. Since its
restructuring four years ago, there have been improvements in the
performance of some services, and there are a number of able
Responding to the report Ms Morris said:
'Overall, this is a critical report. It shows that Liverpool LEA is
not doing nearly enough to support its schools in raising the
education standards of Liverpool pupils and students.
'That is not good enough. I am glad that Liverpool LEA share that
view, and that we have agreed an immediate way forward.
'We are working with Liverpool to identify consultants to start work
on tackling the problems. The consultants will be drawn from the list
of those already awarded framework contracts by the department.
'The brief for the consultants will be broad. They will advise on
how to improve the quality and effectiveness of strategic planning
and leadership in Liverpool LEA, and within that to focus
particularly on the School Improvement and Education Welfare
Services. They will consider options for those and other services,
including contracting out.
'The track record of Liverpool 's education service suggests that new
ways are needed of delivering key services. The consultants will
start work within days, and will produce a first report within a
month. They will work to a steering group of departmental and
'This needs to be a turning point for pupils and schools in Liverpool
and the support they receive from the LEA. They are now proceeding
with two new education action zones, and are part of our Excellence
in Cities drive to raise standards.
'They have agreed to work with the department to get the right
organisational and service foundations in place in the LEA. That
needs to be done well and quickly for the sake of the young people of
'We look forward to receiving the first report from the consultants
and to making progress in improving Liverpool's education service.'