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CONSULTANTS TO ADVISE ON FUTURE OF KEY LIVERPOOL LEA SERVICES AFTER CRITICAL OFSTED REPORT

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School standards minister Estelle Morris has agreed with Liverpool ...
School standards minister Estelle Morris has agreed with Liverpool

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,

and that not enough attention has been given to supporting schools in

raising standards.

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

individuals.

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

Liverpool officers.

'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

Liverpool.

'We look forward to receiving the first report from the consultants

and to making progress in improving Liverpool's education service.'

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