asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps his Department has taken in the past year in transferring responsibilities for education from the public to the private sector.
The Government recognise the important role played by the independent schools in enriching and increasing the diversity of the schools system. This was recently confirmed in chapter 12 of the White Paper "Better Scools" (Cmnd. 9469). The Department continues to support the assisted places scheme, whose purpose is to increase parental choice.The Department and others have been working with the Department of the Environment on proposals for the contracting out of local authority services, including school meals, cleaning of buildings and ground maintenance. A consultative document has been issued and it is intended to introduce legislation in the next Session which will require local authorities to put these services out to tender.