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Councils respond to new Ofsted plans to tackle local area underperformance

Responding to Ofsted plans announced yesterday to start inspections of the school improvement service provided by councils in underperforming areas, Councillor David Simmonds, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Children and Young People Board, said:


"Local authorities want to be able to intervene more quickly in underperforming schools but we are prevented from doing so as a result of decades of reforms to give schools greater independence and reduce what was perceived as council interference.


"Councils now lack the direct powers that academy sponsors and the Government have to take quick and decisive action when schools are underperforming. This is not a good situation for mums and dads who ultimately expect councils to take responsibility for ensuring there are good schools available.


"It is unacceptable for any school to consistently underperform and Ofsted are right to recognise that local authorities can play a huge role in helping struggling schools become good ones. But, if councils are going to be given the job of helping struggling schools improve, we need to be given the tools to do it.


"We agree with Ofsted's call for more to be done but, rather than extra inspections of councils, we believe pupils would benefit far more from government untying the hands of local authorities so they can get on with quickly and decisively helping the worst performing schools without first having to negotiate swathes of red tape and bureaucracy."


Author: LGA Media Office
Contact: Simon Ward, Local Government Association Media Office, 020 7664 3333.

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