11:09AM, Wednesday 16 March 2016
The Royal Borough's cabinet member for education says the structure of the system is not a concern ahead of Government plans to force schools to become academies as long as there is access to high-quality education.
Cllr Phillip Bicknell (Con, Park), cabinet member for education, believes local authorities need to have some control on the oversight of schools but is content with the plans.
"Providing the local people, and therefore the local authority, have got some handle on the quality and output of the academies I don’t think it matters who runs it," said Cllr Bicknell.
"Our priority is to ensure all children have access to and receive high quality education. The structure of the education system is less of a concern.
"Residents want to know how the education providers are and that they can be held to account while they are driving high quality education."
He added: "With the changes in funding it is important that schools in the borough form strong partnerships to develop multi academy trusts. Formation of trusts enables large systems to operate that attract high quality professionals to deliver services."
The move by central government would see the end of the century-old role of local authorities being responsible for education.
Tony Hill, who was headteacher of Furze Platt Senior School from 1988 to 2004, said he didn't think the change would address the issues in teaching.
"The main problem in teaching at the moment is recruitment and retention of teachers so you have to ask, is this going to improve that? There is no sign of that at the moment," said Mr Hill.
"Next question is a number of school places and where they are. It may be good but is the government – and that’s central government – is it providing more school places in places where they need it?"
He added: "They have wanted to take schools out of local government control way back in the 1980s, it has been a central point of Conservative policy but it doesn’t address those main problems in schools today."
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