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PRIVATE FIRM TO BID FOR HUNDREDS OF STATE SCHOOLS

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A company bidding to manage the first state school to be put out to tender has said it hopes to build a network of ...
A company bidding to manage the first state school to be put out to tender has said it hopes to build a network of privately managed schools to be run at a profit, reports The Independent (p6).

The Education Partnership, which has close links with the US-based Edison Project, is run by James Tooley, a right-wing Newcastle University academic whose ideas include replacing A-levels and GCSEs with IQ tests and lowering the school leaving age to 14.

His company is a leading contender in the race to take over King's Manor School in Guildford and will present proposals, along with three other bidders, to Surrey CC next week.

Professor Tooley said his firm would also be registering interest in taking over local authority services and David Blunkett, the education secretary, said failing schools would have their tasks put out to tender.

Prof Tooley said: 'Our ambition is that King's Manor will be just the first of the schools we would take over. There are 25,000 schools in the country and we would like to see most of those as private institutions.'

Andrew Povey, the Surrey education chairman, said: 'We are looking for somebody to come up with new ideas who will make a difference to this particular situation.'

But the National Union of Teachers said it would not rule out legal action to prevent the school being taken over.

Doug McAvoy, the general secretary, said the local authority has to be responsible for turning round a school.

Other companies bidding for King's Manor also expressed interest in taking over failing local authority services. Contenders include Nord Anglia and CFBT, both leading educational consultancies and providers of school services.

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