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School boards could restore democratic links

The end of local authorities' role in schools (Editorial, 18 November) would end the democratic link between schools and their local communities.

The Faustian pact between headteachers and the Government, which gives school leaders complete power in exchange for uncritically implementing Government reforms, could be ultimately self-defeating. Not only will schools be left isolated if they are unfortunate enough to put a foot wrong with Ofsted, but the importance of education will also fade in the public's mind.

Now is the time for new thinking. Anyone interested in local democracy should be thinking about school boards. This is not just an argument for the Opposition. Many local Conservative councillors will have been dismayed at the destruction of schools' local links. The reconstruction of a direct local democratic link to schools should be a top priority for anyone interested in education in the run-up to the next election.

John Bangs, Visiting professor, Institute of Education, London University.

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