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EDUCATION ZONES NEED COUNCILS TO WORK - LGA

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Local government leaders have warned that the new round of Education Action Zones (EAZs) launched on Friday by Tony...
Local government leaders have warned that the new round of Education Action Zones (EAZs) launched on Friday by Tony Blair and David Blunkett must involve councils if they are to succeed.

The Local Government Association said that LEAs back the zones - the fact that all but two are council led is testimony to that.

The association also pointed out that the idea of LEAs working with business is not new - in fact it was councils who first forged partnerships with the private sector n education in the 1980s.

The LGA added that councils would still have responsibility for schools in zone areas, even if they weren't part of an EAZ.

LGA education chair Graham Lane said: 'Education Action Zones that don't have LEA input simply will not work.

'We all want to raise standards in schools. Councils have got stuck into the first round of zones with anybody and everybody who have expressed an interest. As a result, children are getting a better education.

'We needn't take any lessons from Mr Blair in partnerships with business. It was councils who invented the idea - a decade ago.

'Local authorities don't necessarily want to run zones, but they do have to be involved. The best of the existing zones are all about partnership. Councils, business, the voluntary sector and community groups all working together.

'If the government want the new zones to work, they must not be obsessed with structures and getting business involved at all cost. The most important thing is that children get a better education.

'Leaving local government out of the loop will only make it harder for councils to co-ordinate the other services that children and their parents rely on.'

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