Councils want to retain school improvement services, says LGA

8 Jan 18

Most areas planned to continue to offer local authority school improvement services, despite the drift of schools out of council control under free school and academy programmes.

That is among findings by the Local Government Association in its report Enabling school improvement, based on field visits to Cumbria, Dorset, Hampshire, Liverpool, Somerset, Tower Hamlets, West Sussex and Wigan.

It said councils acted as independent and impartial brokers and evaluators for school improvement support, and identified eight key issues:

• local systems are at different stages and taking different approaches to schools becoming more autonomous;

• most areas have strategic partnerships to foster a shared, system-level vision for school improvement;

• there was less evidence of local systems developing system leadership capacity;

• most had approaches to school improvement that would be familiar to schools and local authority advisers;

• local systems had planned for funding cuts and were uncertain about the future;

• traded services both complemented and conflicted with other school improvement offers;

• local authorities had an important role in school improvement.

The report said one risk for the sustainability of partnership arrangements was their reliance on relationships between individuals who would eventually move on.

Some partnerships between schools and councils had established themselves as separate, school-owned companies to try to avoid this.

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