Latest Public Sector News

26.09.12

LGiU raises concerns over centralisation of education

The creation of thousands of free schools and academies is leading to the education system “sleepwalking into centralisation”, a new report has suggested.

Based on research from the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) and conducted in partnership with NUT and Unison, the report has found that councils are struggling to fulfill their role as the ‘middle tier’ of the education system, between schools and government.

More than half of secondary schools are now academies or free schools, which are independent of local authorities. This is creating gaps in accountability, admissions monitoring, schools support services and place planning, the LGiU states.

The report also warns that the 24,000 new schools could be too much for the Department of Education to manage effectively and proposes that some kind of middle tier is required, which local authorities are best places to offer.

The report states: “We urgently need to establish a rounded, pragmatic discussion about the best way to organise middle tier functions within a more diverse landscape of school provision.”

Jonathan Carr-West, LGIU director of policy, said: “As the contributors to this report have demonstrated, there are a range of functions such as accountability and schools place planning that are much better delivered at a more local level.”

But a spokesperson from the Department for Education said: “Far from centralising education, this gives teachers the power to make decisions that are right for local children.”

The report is at: www.lgiu.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Should-we-shed-the-middle-tier.pdf

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