SALISBURY School in Enfield, north London, is to be handed over to a private United States company, Edison Schools, to be managed for three years.
Edison Schools won a £900,000 contract – the first of its kind to provide direct hands-on management, namely to provide a head teacher and two deputies for Salisbury School for three years. As part of the deal, the incoming management team is supposed to improve test and GCSE results and reduce exclusion rates.
The National Union of Teachers rejected the plan as a waste of money.
Private companies have bid for and won contracts to run local education authorities and offer support services – and some individual schools since 1997.
And private firms are involved in running schools through the Government’s flagship academy programme.
Edison currently has partnerships with 50 other state schools in Britain, but to provide training and consultancy services rather than become their management team.
This deal is particularly unusual because the school is not judged to be failing, although it was in special measures up until 2003 and draws pupils from areas of economic and social disadvantage.
But it does have very high rates of exclusion, with an average of 200 pupils out of a school population of 1,200 being excluded a year, according to the new head teacher Trevor Averre-Beeson.
NUT general secretary Steve Sinnott said the contract was a waste of money. “Money would be better spent on children’s education, whether it be more teachers, better resources or improving sports facilities, far better than lining Edison’s pockets.”