Magazine article Public Finance

Councils Defend Their Role in Education

Magazine article Public Finance

Councils Defend Their Role in Education

Article excerpt

The revelation this week that more than 1 million pupils are being taught in poorly performing schools has underlined the need for robust local authority involvement, according to town hall leaders.

The National Audit Office delivered a sobering judgement on the state of education in England when its January 11 report concluded that 1,557 schools were performing poorly.

Alison King, chair of the Local Government Association's children and young people board, agreed that school performance still had a 'little way to go'.

'It all points to the need for schools to have access to constant support and advice,' she told Public Finance. 'Schools need to have somewhere they can go for assistance and we at the LGA believe that should be the local authority.'

But the report prompted an angry reaction from the National Association of Schoolmasters/ Union of Women Teachers, which placed the blame for the NAO's findings at councils' doors.

'The reasons for decline are highly complex and often outside the school's control,' NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said. 'The real focus should be on questioning why action is not taken at local level to intervene before schools reach this position. …

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