Private bids for state schools to be curbed

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The Independent Online

Plans to allow private companies to apply to run all new state schools may be curbed.

Plans to allow private companies to apply to run all new state schools may be curbed.

A White Paper on the future of education, published in September, outlined plans to force local authorities to advertise all proposals for new schools so that commercial firms, faith groups and voluntary organisations could bid to run them. Now local education authorities say they have been told the new powers will only apply to secondary schools.

The original proposals met with an outcry from teachers unions and council leaders. Graham Lane, chairman of the Local Government Association's education committee, described them as "madness''. Teachers' groups and local authority leaders will welcome any restrictions of the proposals to secondary schools, only a handful of which have opened during the past decade.

So far, the private sector's involvement in state education has concentrated on attempts to raise standards in secondary schools and taking over failing local education services.

The legislation planned as a result of the White Paper is due to be unveiled by Estelle Morris, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, on Friday.

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