William Eichler 22 February 2018

Councils struggle to offer ‘integrated’ education due to academies

Councils struggle to offer ‘integrated’ education due to academies image

Local authorities are struggling to take an ‘integrated, whole-system’ approach to education because of the uneven mix of academies and maintained schools in many areas.

A new report from the National Audit Office (NAO) warns councils have been left with responsibility mostly over primary and specialist schools while secondary schools are transformed into academies.

The Department for Education has spent an estimated £745m since 2010-11 converting maintained schools rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted into academies. As of last month, it had converted 6,996 schools.

The NAO report, published today, found a much higher proportion of secondary schools than primary schools are academies. 72% of secondary schools, including free schools, are academies compared with 27% of primaries.

As a result of this imbalance, local authorities — who have no control over academies — have a say in the functioning of primary and specialist schools, but have less influence over academies.

The report also discovered the proportion of schools that are now academies varies widely across England, from 93% in Bromley to 6% in Lancashire, Lewisham and North Tyneside.

There are 23 local authorities (15%) that have 150 or more maintained schools, while 55 local authorities (37%) had fewer than 50 maintained schools.

The NAO also found there were delays in converting ‘inadequate’ schools to academies because of difficulties finding sponsors.

The auditors estimated there were 37,000 children in maintained schools that Ofsted had rated as ‘inadequate’ more than nine months before but that had not yet opened as academies.

While there had been improvements in the process for converting schools to academies, the NAO still said more could be done when it came to identifying financial risks and strengthening assurance that trustees and senior leaders were appropriate people to be responsible for public money.

‘It is unclear how feasible it will be for the Department to continue converting large numbers of schools to academies. There is extensive variation across the country, leaving many local authorities with responsibility largely for primary schools,’ NAO head Amyas Morse said.

‘To cut through this complexity, the Department needs to set out its vision and clarify how it sees academies, maintained schools and local authorities working together to create a coherent and effective school system for children across all parts of the country.’

Highways jobs

Director of Learning

Camden London Borough Council
Up to £85,850
To be considered for this post we are looking for a degree educated innovative and diligent Director who has previous demonstrable experience. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Chief Officer

Leeds City Council
Up to £106k
Leeds, a city built on talent! Leeds, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Leeds City Council

Head of Educational Safeguarding and Inclusion

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
Up to £61,751
As an experienced educational specialist, with a depth of knowledge, passion and commitment for inclusion you’ll... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Resourcer/Support Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
You will provide appropriate support to and work alongside a disabled Corporate Policy Officer working within the Strategy and Policy Team.  Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Newly Qualified Children’s Social Worker

London Borough of Bexley
£29,966 inclusive of Choices and Market Premium
If this sounds exciting and reassuring, we want you to get in touch with us! Bexleyheath, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

The March issue of Local Government News explores alternative funding channels that are available to councils beyond the Public Works Loan Board, what hurdles merging councils face in coming together, and how local government is handling GDPR.

This issue also has a special highways and street lighting section exploring how councils can use lighting to embark on their smart city journey and using IoT technology to weather the storm.

Register for your free magazine