Greater oversight from local authorities needed in schools

Our feature writer Suzanne Danon investigates Ofsted's recent annual report and the reaction to it.

Concerns have been raised in Ofsted’s latest annual report that a number of local authorities are failing to provide the necessary challenge, support and intervention to their constituent schools.

This was just one finding in the report from Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, which also revealed the gap in performance between primary and secondary schools is widening as primary schools continue to progress and secondary school improvement has stalled.

Sir Wilshaw indicated that with an increasingly autonomous schools system in place, greater oversight and intervention from local authorities was needed.

But Chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, Cllr David Simmonds, said in addition to asking questions of schools, Ofsted had a number of questions to answer about whether its regime was bringing about “the improvements we need to see”.

Earlier this year the LGA called for all school intervention powers to be returned to local authorities in, what they called a bid to restore stability in the education system.

“Ofsted is intended to be a key part of the improvement of schools, and in the case of academy schools are the only people councils can call on to intervene when there are signs that standards are slipping,” Cllr Simmonds said.

“Mums and dads want to know that someone has their finger on the pulse of local schools and that can’t be done from Whitehall. It is time for an independent review of Ofsted so that we can all be confident in the quality of judgements which at the moment seem to change at a moment’s notice.”

See a summary of the Ofsted report and a link to the full report in the Education Connects group.

 

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