LGA calls for sponsored schools without academy status

1 Jul 15

High-performing council schools should be able to sponsor struggling schools without taking on academy status, the Local Government Association has said.

More than 80% of council-maintained schools are rated as good or outstanding and should be allowed to help their poorly performing counterparts, the LGA argued.

Speaking ahead of a session at the LGA’s annual conference in Harrogate, David Simmonds, chair of the association’s children and young people’s board, said parents are more concerned with the quality of their child’s education than the legal status of the school.

He called for the Education and Adoption Bill to be amended to allow councils and the best maintained schools to share expertise and support school leadership teams to ensure standards improve quickly.

Simmonds also observed that the standard of education provided by some academy schools is in doubt, with only three of the 20 largest academy chains performing above the national average on ‘added value’ measures, compared to 44 out of 100 councils.

“Councils are education improvement partners and not a barrier to change,” said Simmonds. “Schools spend billions of pounds of public money yet at present, there is no rigorous accountability for academies that are ‘coasting’; no clear understanding of what happens when one falls into this category; and no risk assessment in place for those rated as good or above.”

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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