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Councils have earned trust

Trafford council wasted no time in acting when inspectors gave a damning report about the state of discipline and leadership at one of its schools (pages 1 and 5). Governors were stripped of powers, the head resigned and troubleshooters were swifly brought in.

This is a good example of how the Office for Standards in Education can act as a catalyst for improvement. But it also demonstrates how a local education authority, using local knowledge and expertise, can show decisive leadership when things go wrong.

Trafford's exemplary response is a far cry from that of Calderdale council which signally failed to prevent a similarly bad situation becoming far worse at The Ridings in 1996. Many LEAs have moved on since then and now play an essential front-line role in improving struggling schools. It is time for the Government to recognise their success and give them a secure future. Westminster simply cannot manage without them.

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