Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Action research into the evolving role of the local authority in education ...

The Final report for the Ministerial Advisory Group

by Natalie Parish, Andrew Baxter and Leigh Sandals (ISOS Partnership) for


The purpose of this research has been to explore how local authorities are evolving and adapting their role to meet the needs of a more autonomous education system. The particular focus of the research has been on three core responsibilities of the local authority in education:
  • ensuring a sufficient supply of school places,
  • tackling under-performance in schools whilst ensuring high standards, and
  • supporting vulnerable children.
There has been discussion in the system about what the function of the middle tier and local authority should be in the future, but this research does not aim to second‐guess that ongoing policy debate. Furthermore, just as local authorities are evolving in the context of a new education landscape, so too have schools been contending with how their role as system‐leaders develops.

The purpose of this study is to provide a picture, drawn from a small number of local authorities from across the country, of how currently local authorities are practically responding to the challenges and opportunities afforded by a more autonomous education system.

Nine local authorities were selected to take part in the action research, based on criteria which were designed to ensure a broadly representative sample. The selection included authorities with:
  • a high percentage of well‐established academies,
  • a high percentage of newly converted academies,
  • a rich diversity of schools including academies, free schools and teaching schools, and
  • a high proportion of community, voluntary aided and voluntary controlled schools
  • Executive summary
  • The context and strategic response
  • Ensuring a sufficient supply of school places
  • School improvement
Reference: DFE-RR224 Published:June 2012
Full text (PDF 102pp)

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