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SPECIAL GOVERNMENT UNIT TO KEEP AN EYE ON LEAs

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Confidential papers issued from the office of Stephen Byers, the school standards minister, reveal plans to establi...
Confidential papers issued from the office of Stephen Byers, the school standards minister, reveal plans to establish a new intelligence gathering division to monitor local education authorities, reports The Times Educational Supplement (p1).

The new division will be the eyes and ears of the department for education and employment and its employees will be expected to form views on the effectiveness of school management; the operation of the code of practice that will govern relations between schools and councils; and the efficiency of funding arrangements.

The division, says the briefing, should know its local education authorities. 'It [the division] will have the capacity, through reviewing performance and effectiveness of planning, to form a well-founded view on the strengths and weaknesses of each LEA on structure matters and how these relate to delivery of educational outcomes.'

The documents make clear ministers will require information that will allow them to judge whether they need to take action against particular authorities. New powers in the School Standards and Framework Bill mean that ministers can intervene in local authorities that fail to deliver an adequate service.
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