LAs, a source of influence, not control

16th September 2011 at 01:00

Kerra Maddern is to be congratulated for her front-page story ("Clegg bids to place councils at centre of academies revolution", 9 September) in which she resists the temptation to refer to local authority control. Kerra rightly refers instead to the "influence" of the LA.

Each of the main freedoms that the Government has most trumpeted - pay, curriculum and opening hours - are all subject to national, not local, legislation. There are, of course, what might be termed "subsidiary" freedoms, where central Government has legislated to provide LAs with a degree of influence over, for example, admissions, exclusions, finance and the monitoring of standards.

True, some aspects of this lead to irritating bureaucratic interference, and where LAs have been incompetent or overbearing, schools have rightly had cause to complain. But there is very little that might be regarded as autonomous control exercised by LAs. Indeed, what many schools have complained about more vocally is the degree of central prescription forced on them through an endless supply of bills, acts, national strategies and national top-down initiatives that LAs have been required to police on the Government's behalf.

A Cameron, Address supplied.

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