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London Education Conference Stop Meddling with the Middle Band B, Workshop 8. John Fowler Policy Manager, LGIU. Workshop Agenda. What is the middle tier? Brief History Current policy Current practice – your say. What is the middle tier ?.

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London Education Conference Stop Meddling with the Middle Band B, Workshop 8


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    1. London Education ConferenceStop Meddling with the MiddleBand B, Workshop 8 John Fowler Policy Manager, LGIU

    2. Workshop Agenda • What is the middle tier? • Brief History • Current policy • Current practice – your say

    3. What is the middle tier? • Bodies which mediate between schools and central government. • Squeezed middle and accountability • Local authorities • Collection of schools working together – federations and chains • Local authority delegated functions, including privatisation, charities, employee mutuals, Community Right to Challenge • Sub-regional – voluntary as well as forced • Regional

    4. Brief History from May 2010 • Coalition Agreement (May 2010) • Academies Act (July 2010) • Ministerial Advisory Group on Role of LAs in education • Importance of Teaching White Paper (November 2010) • “In a more autonomous school system, local authorities have an indispensable role to play as champions of children and parents, ensuring that the school system works for every family and using their democratic mandate to challenge every school to do the best for their population. ...

    5. 2012 – Year of reports • ADCS: The Future Role of Local Authorities in School Improvement (April 2012) • SOLACE: Filling the gap: the Championing Role of English Councils in Education (April 2012) • NCSL: The Growth of Academy Chains (March 2012) • NCSL thinkpiece: Towards a self-improving system: the role of school accountability (April 2012) • Ministerial Advisory Group: Local authority role in education: ISOS final report (July 2012) • RSA: The missing middle (July 2012) • NAO: Managing the expansion of the academies programme (November 2012) • Policy Exchange: Competition Meets Collaboration (November 2012) • RSA-Pearson Academies Commission Report: Unleashing Greatness (January 2013)

    6. LGiU, NUT and UNISON reports • The Future of Local Government’s Role in the School System (September 2011) • Should we shed the middle tier? (September 2012) • Standing Room Only: have we enough school places? (September 2013) • David Laws: 24,000 schools cannot be run from Whitehall; local government is best-placed to deliver key “middle tier” functions in the education system

    7. Ofsted: A good education for all • Proposed January 2012 • “Satisfactory” judgement became “Required to improve” • “If you've got academies that are underperforming, do something about it” (Sir Michael Wilshaw – July 2013)

    8. History prior to May 2010 • Centre couldn’t do it all – now: IT revolution, 24/7 news. • Dislike of centralisation – disappeared • Confidence in local democratic decision-making and management – control of schools • Issue of size – continuing debate • Rise of local decision-making and institutional autonomy

    9. Current Policy • Local authorities Local authority statutory functions still in place • Sufficient schools – fair admissions • Promote high standards – school improvement • Children in need – special educational needs, children’s social care • Accountability – democracy, coherence and coordination

    10. Government policy • Ignore the middle tier issue • DfE– 8 regional schools commissioners • EFA – 10 regional offices • Ofsted – 8 regional directors

    11. DfE Regional Commissioners • Monitoring performance of academies and intervention • Decisions on new converter academies • Sponsors (to avoid use of word chain)

    12. Academies and governance • Funding agreements – contract to the SoS • Different types of academies • Single Academy Trusts • Umbrella Trusts • Multi-Academy Trusts – chains “Academies are born free, and everywhere are in chains”

    13. Opposition • Blunkett Review • “The national education system is "chaotic" and needs to be glued back together after becoming too fragmented under the coalition government” Guardian 06-02-14

    14. School improvement - One, two, many tiers • The McKinsey Report How the World's Most Improved School Systems Keep Getting Better (2010) • NFER: What works in enabling school improvement? The role of the middle tier (April 2013) • “school-led system improvement” needs a ‘middle tier’ - diverse range of bodies that operate between schools and central government to support school-led improvement.

    15. Accountability • local government • local or regional commissioner (democracy?) • local or regional body (democracy?) • chains of schools • school-to-school support • Teaching School Alliances • education trusts and partnerships

    16. Current practice • Your say: • What’s going on? - Examples of practice • What do you want?

    17. Contact Feedback 07872 989646 john.fowler@lgiu.org.uk