SIR: Your editorial headline 'Get any aid there is' (February 26) perfectly sums up the thinking of those who feel that some business control of schools is a good thing.

If Bolton is successful in its bid to create an Education Action Zone (EAZ) in Tonge/Breightmet, the Government promises to put in extra finance comparable to approximately half a teacher per year, for the period of the Zone's existence (three to five years).

The price paid by the people of Bolton in the longer term could be disastrous. The democratically elected LEA, which currently runs our schools with the governing bodies, could soon become a shadowy figure, losing more and more control to an unaccountable quango, which will try to dictate what is taught, how many teachers are employed, and how much they are paid.

Does ANYONE think that our children and young people, or the education workers, will be better off when the profit motive dictates their education? A visit to Bolton College and a chat to educationists there might help those who are unsure (how long since the College was taken from LEA control?).

Stephen Byers described these EAZs as a "test bed for the next century". It makes Tony Blair's "Education, education, education" promise before the Election as reliable as a guarantee from Arthur Daley. In voting for an EAZ in Bolton, the LEA have failed to see the wolf in wolf's clothing. A pity they have not had the foresight of some of their fellow Labour authorities across the country.

On behalf of Bolton trade unionists, I wish Bolton's EAZ bid all the worst.

Tom Hanley,

(Secretary Bolton Trades Council)

(Secretary Bolton NUT).

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