Could a governance restructuring boost England’s school system?


A revised locality model with a single governance structure is required to enhance England’s school system, a new report has suggested.

According to research from the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society, developed in conjunction with the Association of Education Committees Trust, the responsibilities of regional schools commissioners (RSCs) and local authorities should be unified.

Such an approach would avoid duplication of work within the school system, with the report suggesting that a lack of “clear shared goals” in the current set up is impacting on the ability of schools to operate effectively.

The report adds that the pandemic has “highlighted the challenges of responding rapidly to local need in a system which lacks a robust infrastructure”.

It also recognised that there is “clear alignment of purpose between politicians, policy-makers and practitioners and clearly defined roles” within the high-performing education systems that were studied.

‘A single locality governance structure’

Most secondary schools and a handful of primary schools which have become academies must answer to RSCs, while local authorities oversee the majority of primary schools and the remaining secondary schools.

Under the “single locality governance structure” put forward in the report, the responsibilities of both parties would be amalgamated.

The research states that a review is needed of the schools system in England and proposes that the Department for Education should create school partnership boards to be accountable, which would feature representatives from councils alongside commissioners.

Schools would also need to complete “robust, externally moderated self-assessments” instead of Ofsted inspections under the plans, with Ofsted left to ensure that the process is fair and impartial across different geographical regions.

More support for disadvantaged pupils needed

As part of the research, the two organisations involved also suggest that local areas have a “collective responsibility” when it comes to supporting disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils.

It is proposed that local authorities should report on key metrics which reflect the type of support being given, while action plans should detail what will happen in future – with both helping to measure progress among vulnerable pupils in a specific locality.

In addition, the report also calls for more inclusive policies for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), as well as more continued professional development and training for teachers helping those individuals.

You can view all of our jobs here or alternatively you can submit your CV - your local education recruitment consultant will get in touch with you shortly.