Standards report condemns Liverpool

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EDUCATION SERVICES in Liverpool are likely to be privatised after a report accused councillors of doing too little to raise standards and starving schools of money.

The report, published yesterday by the Office for Standards in Education, said Liverpool City Council had consistently spent less than government guidelines and wasted money on empty school places and small sixth forms. It acknowledged that the city's schools were improving, but said: "The local education authority has made too little discernible contribution to that improvement."

The report continued: "The city's battle to combat rising deprivation and to regenerate itself, coupled with the problems of falling roles and surplus provision in its schools and poor condition of many of its buildings, has provided some very significant challenges.

"The LEA's efforts to meet these challenges and make the changes required have not been helped by decisions of elective members on the levels of funding for education, nor by their reluctance to take some hard decisions firmly or quickly enough."

Ofsted selected the council's school improvement service and educational welfare service for particular criticism. Private-sector consultants will draw up a package of reforms, which could include putting some services out to tender.