A new report published today suggests making a host of changes to the way all schools in England are run.
It says all state schools should be put on the same footing, given the same status and be funded directly through central government.
The EDSK think-tank report says there is a lack of transparency and accountability in the current academy programme and that operating a two-tier school system is “fragmented and incoherent”.
Quick read: 'Scrap academies and unify state school system'
It suggests moving to a system which builds on the autonomy and collaboration in the academy system and the local accountability of maintained schools.
Here are seven key recommendations from the report published today.
1. People earning more than £60k should be named
Alongside annual accounts, all state schools should publish the names and total remuneration for any individual earning more than £60,000 including base salaries, bonuses and pension payments.
2. Maintained schools should join local school trusts
It says that the default for maintained schools should be to move into a local trust that will be run by councils under a similar model to multi-academy trusts. However, each school will be funded directly rather than money going to the local education authority and then being passed on to schools.
3. Replace regional schools commissioners
It recommends that the current system of eight regional school commissioners should be replaced by 35 local school commissioners responsible for monitoring the performance of all state schools, intervening in underperforming schools and commissioning new school places. It also proposes scrapping the headteacher boards which currently support RSCs' work.
4. Related party transactions should be banned
The report says all such transactions in the state school system should be banned, irrespective of the type of school or collaboration that seeks to use them. The recommendation follows controversy over the such deals in the academies sector.
5. All state schools should publish annual accounts
Accounts should be published on every state school website, including income, expenditure and balances and any financial contribution made by the school to their trust or federation.
6. Financial notice to improve
Every state school can also be issued with a ‘Financial Notice to Improve’ should their financial position deteriorate. At present these are given to academy trusts.
7. All schools should be called state schools
The EDSK think-tank report says the Department for Education should no longer refer to "academies" or "free schools". Instead, the standard term for referring to all government-funded schools should simply be "state schools".