Parents should be accountable to schools, says Labour

Labour publishes consultation about school accountability under its planned National Education Service

Labour has launched a consultation on local accountability in its proposed National Education Service.

Parents should be held accountable to schools under Labour’s flagship plan to create a National Education Service (NES), according to a new consultation document.

Since Jeremy Corbyn became leader, the party has said it would create a joined-up, cradle-to-grave education service, similar to the National Health Service.

In 2017, it set out a 10-point charter that would guide the NES, and last year shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said a Labour government would “bring all publicly funded schools back into the mainstream public sector, with a common rulebook and under local democratic control”.

However, it had previously not set out detailed plans of what this would mean for schools in practice.


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Now, a new consultation document from its national policy forum about local accountability in the NES has said that any local accountability system should be “reciprocal”.

It states: “While education institutions need to be accountable to the system, to students and to communities, we believe that at the same time, parents, citizens and local communities ought to be accountable to their education institutions.

“Moreover, politicians and education policymakers ought to be accountable to schools and their communities.”

The document does not set out a detailed blueprint of what this would entail in practice, but adds: “At a local level, this means building relationships and trust between education institutions and the various communities.

“It means creating an environment in which all actors recognise their obligations and commitments to each other and to learners, in the state and in communities.”

The consultation document poses a series of questions. Topics include exploring the contributions of groups such as parents and carers, staff and trade unions, learners, local communities, employers and schools “towards making the National Education Service accountable, inclusive, and democratic and relevant to individual, local and national needs”.

The consultation also asks whether there should be a “single democratically accountable structure for the NES that deals with each part of the system and its institutions at local and national level”, and what it should look like.

It also raises the question of how it would ensure that educational institutions retained “appropriate levels of autonomy and independence”.

And if there should not be such a “single democratically accountable structure”, it asks what local democratic accountability should look like for schools and other educational institutions.

The consultation period ends on Sunday 30 June.

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