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LGA responds to Education Secretary comments at Select Committee

Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, responds to statements made by the Education Secretary Justine Greening at the Education Select Committee.

"The news that parent governors will continue to be a statutory part of all school governing bodies is a positive indication that the Government has listened to concerns about dropping this requirement for Multi-Academy Trusts and has acknowledged the vital role that parent governors play in the school community.

"We are also pleased that the Government is considering abandoning plans to force good and outstanding schools to convert to academies against their wishes. We have been strong in our opposition to all forced academisation, and this opposition has been echoed by MPs, teachers and parents and backed up by evidence.

"Our recent analysis of the grades achieved by all schools under the more rigorous Ofsted inspection framework proved that 81 per cent of council-maintained schools are rated as ‘good' or ‘outstanding', compared to 73 per cent of academies and 79 per cent of free schools. It is right that these schools should not be forced down the academy route unless they make that decision themselves.

"We will, however, continue to fight for all schools, regardless of Ofsted rating, to be given the opportunity to choose for themselves whether they wish to become an academy. Recent Ofsted figures have also shown that ‘inadequate' council-maintained schools are more likely to improve if they stay with their local authority, rather than being forced to convert to an academy. These figures showed that 98 per cent of council-maintained schools improved in their first Ofsted inspection after being rated ‘inadequate' compared to 88 per cent of academies.

"This clearly demonstrates that councils are education improvement partners, rather than barriers to delivering the high quality education that our children deserve. Councils stand ready to help all schools, regardless of their Ofsted rating or status."

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