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London parents support greater school role for councils

Approximately 80% of London parents would support their local council having greater influence over all schools, including free schools and academies, in their area to find more school places or expand, according to a new YouGov poll. 

Carried out on behalf of London Councils, which represents the capital’s 33 local authorities, the poll revealed rising support from parents for councils to have a role in underperforming free schools. Of those polled, 68% of parents considered that local authorities should have power of influence over free schools, up by 6% from last year. 

The study, which included the responses of 1,052 parents of children aged 4-16 living in Greater London, also highlighted that over two-fifths of parents said their first point of contact if they were concerned about governance and leadership in their child’s school would be their local authority. 

Cllr Peter John, London Councils’ executive member for children and young people, said: “If you’re a parent and you’re worried about leadership or staff issues at your local school, it’s only natural you’d turn to your local council where they know the local issues. But councils don’t have formal oversight over free schools and academies, which is evidently confusing for parents, as this survey reveals. 

“What’s more, parents increasingly support a council role in influencing schools to expand, if there is clear local need to build more places. This isn’t surprising given the scale of the shortage in London.” 

The poll also revealed that 51% of parents thought the education system was more under central government control than they had previously assumed. 

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