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Why does Wilshaw talk about "Local Authority areas" when half the schools are Academies?

(34 Posts)
TalkinPeace Wed 10-Dec-14 10:43:16

Its political point scoring to slag off councils who have no rights of oversight over the schools any more.

Its been obvious for years that if you cut Head Teachers loose from their support and oversight structures they will topple like dominoes.

How can anybody be surprised that its happening?

And why do OFSTED persist in thinking about LEA boundaries when school funding (academy chains etc) no longer do?

prh47bridge Wed 10-Dec-14 13:01:36

And why do OFSTED persist in thinking about LEA boundaries when school funding (academy chains etc) no longer do?

Your premise is wrong. Funding does indeed relate to LA boundaries. The amount of funding an individual academy receives depends on the formula used by its LA to determine funding for maintained schools. Even if the academy is part of a chain it will still receive individual earmarked funding based on the LA where it is located.

And the reason Wilshaw talks about LA areas is that this still how statistics are collected and is likely to remain so. I don't personally see it as political point scoring or slagging off councils. Regardless of whether or not the council is at fault I think parents have a right to know that their chances of getting a good school are much better in Haringey than the Isle of Wight.

TalkinPeace Wed 10-Dec-14 13:42:38

Ah yes, the Isle of Wight.

But the problems in certain boroughs (eg around Merseyside) have nothing to do with the LEA itself - more to do with interactions between boroughs and Chains and socioe-conomic factors outside the control of teachers.

rabbitstew Wed 10-Dec-14 22:38:28

Mmm. I don't actually think many people would be interested to know that schools are better in Haringey than the Isle of Wight. Nor do I believe that someone living in the Isle of Wight has ANY chance of getting their child into a school in Haringey. The commute would be ridiculous. grin

ReallyTired Thu 11-Dec-14 00:35:54

Most primaries are lea controlled. Ofsted want the power to inspect the management of academy chains in the same way that they can inspect leas.

rabbitstew Thu 11-Dec-14 07:59:07

Ha, ha. Most primaries are LEA controlled. Primaries, apparently, are still improving, the problem is with our secondary schools. grin

rabbitstew Thu 11-Dec-14 08:01:08

Sorry, LA controlled - I thought LEAs no longer existed...

prh47bridge Thu 11-Dec-14 11:41:52

Both terms are still in use but the LA is always the LEA. I tend to use LA.

nlondondad Fri 12-Dec-14 11:15:36

Local authorities do not control their schools anymore. The decisive change was under Kenneth Baker when the "local Management of Schools" was introduced which transferred most of the responsiblity to Governing Bodies. The process continued after that.

The correct terminology is that a school under the supervision of a local authority is called a "maintained school". providing things are going all right with the school, the LA has virtually no involvement other than, perhaps, selling various services to the school which the school can either buy from the LA or from someone else.

Its when things go wrong that the LA has the obligation, and the legal authority to step in. So when a school maintained by the LA is put into special measures the LA can step in, remove the Governors and put in an "Interim Executive Board" to take over.

So its when things go wrong with an individual maintained school that having a good LA becomes important.

prh47bridge Fri 12-Dec-14 12:14:33

LA has virtually no involvement other than, perhaps, selling various services to the school which the school can either buy from the LA or from someone else

Not quite. That is the academy model. For a maintained school funding from government comes via the LA. They top slice it to cover the services they provide to maintained schools. This includes:

- home to school transport
- ed psych, SEN assessments, etc.
- monitoring SEN provision
- education welfare
- pupil support
- music services
- monitoring national curriculum assessment
- school improvement
- early retirement and redundancy costs
- asset management
- producing financial accounts
- internal auditing

For most (but not all) of the above services academies are free to choose any supplier they want. Maintained schools have no choice. They get all these services from the LA. Some LAs may, of course, provide additional services schools can purchase if they wish.

rabbitstew Fri 12-Dec-14 17:35:53

Our LA doesn't provide music services.

prh47bridge Sat 13-Dec-14 00:08:12

They are not under a statutory obligation to provide a music service or, indeed, pupil support. Most do but it isn't required.

spanieleyes Sat 13-Dec-14 10:27:52

But, as far as I am aware, LA schools ( certainly in my area) pay individually for ed psych and SEN assessments, asset management, financial accounting, internal auditing, music services, pupil support. Currently "school improvement" is provided by the LA but is being withdrawn this year so I'm not sure what the "top slice" is spent on!!

prh47bridge Sat 13-Dec-14 11:17:16

If that is the case your LA is breaking the law.

They don't have to provide music services and pupil support. They are allowed to delegate the school improvement budget. But some of these items are legal requirements. SEN assessments, for example, must be provided by the LA (Children and Families Act 2014). They may not delegate this responsibility to schools or anyone else. For that reason academies are not provided with any budget for SEN assessments.

spanieleyes Sat 13-Dec-14 11:31:08

We paid STAPS nearly £2000 for ed psych assessments this year, I have the finance report in front of me! So the LA might be providing them, but the school is paying for them.

prh47bridge Sat 13-Dec-14 11:59:22

If that is SEN assessments the LA is breaking the law. The basic principle is that it must not come out of school budgets as that could deter schools from getting pupils assessed. If it is other types of ed psych assessment it is more debatable but still likely to be against the law.

I am, unfortunately, aware that an increasing number of LAs seem to be pushing things to breaking point and beyond in terms of complying with the law. They appear to rely on no-one being aware of the law and taking action against them.

spanieleyes Sat 13-Dec-14 12:18:11

Definitely SEN assessment, the last STAPS report received was a dyslexia diagnosis. We buy into a certain number of hours each year, so there is certainly a limit on the number of assessments we can have each year, if we want more than we can include in our buy-in hours we have to swap money from other budgets ( if we have it!!)

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 13-Dec-14 13:55:42


Don't you find it interesting/intriguing that although the rules have changed and schools can govern (my choice of word) themselves the blame for failure still lies with the "old enemy".

mrz Sat 13-Dec-14 14:15:51

We've also paid for EP input

prh47bridge Sat 13-Dec-14 18:28:10

Some things are clearer than others and charging for some aspects of EP support may be allowable. But charging for an SEN assessment is clearly illegal.


I do not see releasing LA-level statistics as in any way blaming or praising LAs for the performance of academies in their area. It is just the way statistics have always been released and, to be honest, I doubt it will change. I suspect we will see statistics for academy chains but there are too many independent academies that are not part of any chain for that to be a sensible way of looking at all schools.

mrz Sat 13-Dec-14 18:48:39

We are paying for assessments not support

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 13-Dec-14 18:49:35


exam result stats are gathered through exam boards then fed down to LA levels.

If the government wants academies and free schools to be proven to be better then they should be providing the relevant stats through other areas.

prh47bridge Sat 13-Dec-14 21:32:57

mrz - In that case your LA is breaking the law. Statutory assessments are the responsibility of the LA, not the school or anyone else. I suggest you refer them to the Children and Families Act 2014 Part 3.

Boney - If you go to the government's performance tables all the statistics you need to compare the performance of academies with other schools in the same area can be found there.

TalkinPeace Sat 13-Dec-14 21:41:41

so, these LAs are breaking the law.
But nothing is being done.
So the law is an ass.
OR there should be an appropriate enforcement system

Nerf Sat 13-Dec-14 21:43:14

I think you are all talking at cross purposes. If an EHC assessment is requested the Ed psych has to provide advice if the assessment is agreed, same as with statutory assessment for statements. If the school want to assess for dyslexia for example it's likely to cost them.

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