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MIXED REACTION TO HACKNEY 'PRIVATISATION'

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The MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, Brian Sedgemore, has blamed Hackney LBC's former chief executive, Tony Ell...
The MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, Brian Sedgemore, has blamed Hackney LBC's former chief executive, Tony Elliston, and council in-fighting for putting the government in what he sees as an 'impossible situation'.

But The Hackney Gazette (p6) also reports that Dianne Abbot, the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, warned that Hackney was in danger of becoming the 'test-bed' for the government to try out privatisation.

'This is the first time this has ever been tried and this is a very serious step,' she said. 'It is an untried experiment and I do not believe ministers should be experimenting with Hackney schools.'

But the council's chair of education, Ian Peacock, was sure that Hackney would retain a hand in the running of services and that councillors would be working alongside contractors to ensure that only the most able bidders receive contracts.

'For too long the council hasn't been providing the quality of service that schools have a right to expect,' he said. 'Transferring some of the our services to outside sources should give them a much needed boost to ensure that we provide the very best for Hackney's children.'

Hackney's education chief, Elizabeth Reid, stresses the importance of raising standards in the borough's schools.

'We in the education department are looking carefully at the Ofsted report and have already been able to address a range of issues. It is important to continue to focus attention on raising standards in all of our schools and services.

'We will all be working very closely with the Department for Education and Employment to pursue these operational objectives in due course,' she added.

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