Let us oversee all state schools, say local authorities

Parents in England should have access to a single local body responsible for standards in all state schools, says the Local Government Association (LGA). This is from the BBC

The LGA says the current structure, with councils responsible for most schools but academies and free schools answering to Whitehall, is confusing and lets issues “slip through the net”.

It wants local education “trusts” to oversee all types of state school.

The Independent Academies Association called it “a step back into the past”.

The LGA says the current system is so complicated that parents often don’t know how to make complaints or raise issues…

A new LGA document sets out a wish list for the first 100 days of a new government, following the 2015 election.

It urges the government to set up local “education trusts” for all schools, including academies and free schools, which would bring together head teachers and governors, “supported and held to account” by local councils.

Good and outstanding schools would share expertise and support improvement, says the LGA, “leaving Ofsted free to focus on schools which require improvement”.

“The current two-tier system of accountability is confusing for mums and dads to navigate… there are too many possibilities for issues to slip through the net,” said David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s children and young people board.

“Education trusts would strip away this bureaucracy and provide an easily identifiable place which parents can turn to.

“Someone has to take responsibility for accountability of schools and with local knowledge and links to the community councils are ideally placed to take this role,” said Mr Simmonds…

The government is introducing regional schools commissioners and head-teacher boards to improve oversight of academies, while Labour proposes a network of regional school standards directors.

Nick Weller, chairman of the Independent Academies Association, described the LGA proposals as “the latest attempt to resurrect the discredited system of local authority control…”

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders said: “The LGA is right to recognise that the diverse nature of schools today can be confusing to parents, however another layer of structural change is not the solution.

“School improvement needs to be driven by school leaders, within a strong national accountability framework.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “NAHT believes every school should be working in a trust, federation or cluster with other schools, with streamlined accountability to one overarching body.

“Ideally, however, these groupings would be small: half a dozen to a dozen schools, rather than encompassing an entire authority…”

More at: Let us oversee all state schools, say local authorities

Do you see merit in this LGA initiative or do you have concerns, like Brian Lightman and Russell Hobby, that another layer like this might not be the best way forwards compared with, for example, smaller local groupings such as trusts or federations? Please give your feedback, ideas and insights in the comments or via Twitter and take part in our poll…

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Categories: Local authorities.

Comments

  1. Tea_for_Two_

    SchoolsImprove true!! They know their local communities better than anyone plus they’ll only build schools where they’re NEEDED!

  2. Janet2

    So Nick Weller harks back to a “discredited” system of LA “control”.  But LAs haven’t controlled schools since Local Management of Schools (LMS) was introduced more than two decades ago.  It’s odd, however, that someone who appears to loath LAs has cooperated with Bradford City Council to establish the Bradford Secondary Partnership.

    http://www.bradford.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/20B369C7-1820-4D8A-8959-C4F407CE2CB9/0/BradfordCouncilEducationImprovementStrategy20122015.pdf

    Perhaps this kind of arrangement is the way forward – LAs establishing Partnerships which bring all schools together and enable data sharing between schools and LAs.  It would allow LAs to act as a hub overseeing schools and intervening where necessary.  And it would be less confusing for parents who would be able to take concerns about any school, academy or otherwise, to their LA.

  3. LaCatholicState

    SchoolsImprove LEAs stifle schools and drag standards down. They are just greedy for power…..with little interest in kids welfare.

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