A new type of local education body should be created to support the work of schools, according to a Labour education adviser.
Professor Tim Brighouse, director of education in Birmingham, argues that local education councils should be created to promote school improvement, act as an honest broker to ensure the fair distribution of resources and places, and be responsible for securing the provision of services.
A new title "is necessary to draw a symbolic line to mark the end of an era and to signal there is no going back to the time when local education authorities were too preoccupied with quantity and with exercising control over the schools which they ran with too many powers of detailed interference", he writes.
His views appear in a pamphlet published by Politeia, the new right-wing think-tank headed by Dr Sheila Lawlor. Its first publication late last year was a controversial pamphlet by the chief inspector, Chris Woodhead.
Professor Brighouse suggests the LEC model would build on much of what he is already doing in Birmingham. There would be guarantees for each age group, including funding and the experiences which a child might expect during school years. Schools would be organised into similar "families" so that like could be compared with like and good practice shared.
A spokesman for shadow education secretary David Blunkett said the guarantees system pioneered by Professor Brighouse in Birmingham had already been used as a model for Labour's education ideas.
A Question of Standards: the need for a local democratic voice, Politeia, 28 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0DB, Pounds 5