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Private Sector (State Education)

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Skills – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 18th March 2004.

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Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Minister 11:30 am, 18th March 2004

What plans he has for involving the private sector in state education in schools.

Photo of David Miliband David Miliband Minister of State (School Standards), Department for Education and Skills

We encourage business to establish strong partnerships with schools, whether as sponsors, governors or mentors, or for the purposes of work experience, and that is done on a philanthropic basis.

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Minister

I am very pleased to hear that from the Minister, and I am pleased that he had the chance to answer the question, but is it true that the noble Lord Levy was involved in a secret meeting at his Department on 21 January 2004 to discuss private companies taking over secondary schools and running them for profit?

Photo of David Miliband David Miliband Minister of State (School Standards), Department for Education and Skills

It does not sound like a very secret meeting, but Lord Levy certainly did not attend a meeting at the Department for Education and Skills on 21 January, and there is absolutely no possibility of the Government introducing the principle that schools should be run for profit by private companies. I am happy to make that clear to the House.