Education chief quits Islington council

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THE DIRECTOR of education at the council involved in the biggest privatisation of state education has resigned.

Andy Roberts has decided to leave Islington council in north London after just over a year to take a similar job in Wokingham, Berkshire. His departure was disclosed as another London authority, Haringey, said that it could become the first to challenge ministerial attempts to privatise it.

Local authority leaders said yesterday that the Government's policy of privatisation in local education authorities was "coming unstuck".

Islington denied that the decision by Mr Roberts would jeopardise the privatisation of all its education services. Insiders said that Mr Roberts' position had become impossible.

Inspectors backed the privatisation of most of the services in Islington but did not recommend intervention in Haringey. However, Haringey has just received a letter from civil servants suggesting that it should call in consultants who would consider privatisation of some of its services.

Bob Harris, the authority's lead member for education, said that it would not be railroaded into privatisation.

A senior government source said that it was still consulting on Haringey.