Lords propose academy freedoms across sector

13th March 2009 at 00:00

A house of Lords committee has called for the Government to consider extending the freedoms enjoyed by academies to across the whole maintained sector.

The proposal forms part of a report issued today by the Merit of Statutory Instruments committee, which looked into the number of regulations issued to schools after it transpired that headteachers dealt with more than 130 new ones in a single year.

The committee report stated: "We recommend that the DCSF (Department for Children, Schools and Families) should consider a less heavy-handed approach. Furthermore, if the department considers that the light-touch regulatory framework for academies is appropriate and successful, that lighter touch should be extended to all maintained schools."

The report also showed that the department had "little control" over the number of regulations it sent out every year.

Lord Filkin, chairman of the committee, said the evidence included in the report showed that heads were "swamped and punch drunk" by the amount of paperwork each year. "The department has been churning stuff out with little concern about how it is going to be received," Lord Filkin said.

"The DCSF has shown that it is happy to free schools from this burden under its academies programme. In this light, we asked the department to consider rolling this out across the maintained sector."

According to Lord Filkin, the department was asked to look at how it could remedy its relationship with the maintained sector, focusing "less on the processes and more on the outcomes" as is the case with academies.

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