Letter: Weaknesses in the White Paper on education

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The Independent Online
From Mr F. F. Sir: In your leading article 'A race for improvement' (29 July), you suggest that the only alternative for schools that do not seek grant- maintained status is inertia and 'staying with the LEA devil they know'. I suggest that that is an overstatement, if the headteacher comments you report elsewhere

in the same edition are to be


Well-run local education authorities that work with their headteachers to identify schools' needs, and then plan the way forward with those headteachers, are far from inert and certainly not diabolical. They are vibrant, creative and well regarded by their schools and the local community. Moreover, such LEAs were commended in a speech in Liverpool only last week by Baroness Blatch, the Minister of State for Education.

There is no reason whatsoever why this week's White Paper should ring the death knell of LEAs, as some have suggested. Theirs is a changed role certainly, but it remains a significant one. Joint planning with headteachers is, I suggest, the key, and that has been our approach in North Yorkshire for the past two years. I am sure that we are not unique.

As County Education Officer to North Yorkshire, I do, of course, have an interest to declare, but it is not in inertia and certainly not in mere survival. My vested interest, and that of North Yorkshire County Council, is in developing a dynamic service dedicated to excellence and aiming at the best possible start in life for every child. Our vested interest is the same as the Prime Minister's.

Yours faithfully,


County Education Officer

North Yorkshire County Council


North Yorkshire

29 July