England & Wales Education and children's services

Councils need more power to fulfil education role


LGiU Director Jonathan Carr-West has a comment piece in this week’s TES.  Jonathan argues that, whatever you think of academy schools, they’re not going away.  He argues that there’s a reasonable localist case for academies since true localists should be committed to devolving power to the lowest level possible.  In the case of education, that means schools.  

But Jonathan goes on to argue that, just as academies aren’t going anywhere, neither are local authorities.  Most supporters of the academies movement regard the rise of academy schools as the end of the local government role in education.  The LGiU is clear, however, that it’s “local authorities (and local authorities alone) that have the capacity and democratic accountability” to manage the education system.  That will mean, as we argued in our report last summer, that councils will need new powers over academies.  
On the same theme, Westminster City Council’s Children and Young People Policy and Scrutiny Committee has published minutes of its session on the future of the local government role in the education system.  LGiU Policy Manager Laurie Thraves told the committee that “local government’s role would be changing from a type of hard leadership of the school system, to a  more soft, influencing and brokering leadership role – but one where local authorities could still have a major impact”.