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Proposals agreed for future of education services

  • Schools and education

Proposals to set up an innovative partnership with Cambridge Education to provide a range of education services have been agreed by full Council.

Full Council on 8 December agreed proposals to enter into a strategic partnering arrangement with Cambridge Education, part of the Mott MacDonald Group*.

The partnering arrangement was approved by the Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding Committee in November and referred to full Council for final approval.

The arrangement between Barnet Council and Cambridge Education will help to ensure that the education offer in Barnet remains among one of the best in the country despite the challenging economic climate that the council is facing.

The contract with Cambridge Education is expected to be in place by April of next year and formal consultation on the transfer arrangements will begin with staff in the New Year.

Around 120 existing permanent education council staff will transfer to Cambridge Education and continue to provide the full range of council services currently available to support schools and families (including for example, school improvement, school admissions, services for children with special educational needs).

Cambridge Education is a specialist education company which has been operating for more than 30 years providing a range of services including school improvement support and educational partnerships with local authorities.

As part of the partnership, around 340 school catering staff will transfer to a company called ISS that will be a sub-contractor managed by Cambridge Education. As part of this arrangement, ISS has committed to pay Barnet staff the London Living Wage throughout the life of the seven year contract.

By 2019/20, the partnership with Cambridge Education will be guaranteed to save the council £1.88m a year. This will be achieved through a mixture of efficiency measures and income growth as a result of marketing and selling services to more schools and to other local authorities.

The recommendation to select Cambridge Education for a strategic partnering arrangement was reached after careful consideration by a project team which included headteacher representatives from Barnet schools.

Councillor Reuben Thompstone, Chairman of the Children, Education, Libraries and Safeguarding Committee, said: “We are extremely proud of the excellent education on offer in Barnet.

“As the council looks carefully at how money is spent across all of its services we want to make sure that the council can continue to maintain the quality of support we offer to our schools.

“This new partnership with one of the country’s leading education service providers will enable us to make our savings through efficiencies and generating income, which will help us to maintain high standards and avoid the need to reduce services.”

Notes to Editors:

Cambridge Education is part of Mott MacDonald, a leading management, engineering and development consultancy. As one of the world's largest employee-owned companies it has over 16,000 staff and 180 offices in nearly 50 countries, with projects in 140.

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