England & Wales

Strengthening the role of Councils and Councillors in the Local School System: Norfolk


The local authority role in the schools system continues to change but remains significant. From local management and delegation of budgets to Governors in the 1990s through to the current drive for schools to become Academies, the part to be played by the local authority is not always clear. And with a strong determination to rapidly increase the number of state funded free schools outside the maintained sector, what is the new local government role?

Research carried out by the LGIU in 2012 (Should we shed the Middle tier?) posed the longer-term issue of a highly centralised education system with up to 24,000 schools and governing bodies accountable solely to the Secretary of State. Making the case for a local government role the LGIU research identified five possible functions for ‘middle tier’ local government: accountability; admissions; school improvement; school place planning and capital allocation.

Ofsted’s new inspection framework of the local authority’s arrangements for supporting school improvement puts co-ordination of the development of the local school system back on the shoulders of the LA. Potentially moving in the opposite direction there are topical debates about governing bodies, including future restrictions on local authority representation.

The future of the schools system will be a highly contested issue in next year’s General Election. Labour has set out their position around a sharpened scrutiny role for councillors and the appointment of Directors of School Standards

This seminar discusses practical ways in which local authorities and elected members (including District Councils in two tier areas) can strengthen their role in the local school system which is efficient school place planning; enhance the accountability of schools outside the maintained sector and meet new requirements around school performance. The seminar is a mix of briefings, case studies and workshops to encourage an exchange of ideas, experience and good practice.




Time Description
10:00-10:30 Registration and refreshments 
10:30-10:40  Welcome and introductions 
10:40-11:30  The developing landscape – Local Authority powers, issues of governance; changing education provision; the Ofsted Agenda and responses by local councils;John Fowler, Policy Manager, LGiU (Children Services Network) 
11:30-13:10 Norfolk County Council presentations
11:30-11:55  A good school for every Norfolk studentGordon Boyd: Assistant Director of Education Norfolk County Council 
11:55-12:10  Refreshments Break
12:10-13:10  Providing strategic leadership for Norfolk Schools

  • Intervention: Mary-Jane Edwards, Head of NCC Education Intervention and Inspection Service
  • Improvement: Paul Hoey, Head of Norfolk Integrated Education Advisory Services
  • Political leadership: Councillor James Joyce, Chair, Children’s Services Committee
13:10-13:50  Lunch
13:50-14:15  The Activist Councillor: engaging with local schools;Alan Waters, Learning & Development Manager, LGIU 
14:15-15:00  The Scrutiny Councillor: calling schools to account;Tim Young, Associate, Frontline Consulting 
15:00-15:40  Breakout & Plenary: what can councils and councillors do to strengthen their role in the local schools system?
15:40-15:45 Final remarks & Close


*This programme was correct at the tie of publication, but may be altered to reflect speaker changes that are beyond our control.


Norfolk Education    CPD

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John Fowler, Policy Manager, LGiU (Children Services Network) Tim Young, Associate, Frontline Consulting Alan Waters, Learning and Development Manager, LGiU Mary-Jane Edwards, Head of NCC Education Intervention and Inspection Service Paul Hoey, Head of Norfolk Integrated Education Advisory Services Councillor James Joyce, Chair, Children’s Services Committee
Who should attend?
Elected members and council officers – from local authorities with education, corporate parenting and safeguarding responsibilities