Headlines: December 17th, 1998

Council education officers have been urged to modernise their relationship with schools.Such Local Education Authorities have been told that they must change their attitude over schools from one of seeking to control, to one of enabling schools to perform their best.

Schools Minister Charles Clarke said: “No change is not an option. LEAs must face up to the challenges now and for the future. Too few LEAs fully appreciate that their role has changed and that they need to adopt a different mentality.”

Talking to a conference organised by the New Local Government Network, he said the new job of LEAs was to promote and exchange good practice, develop new ideas and ways of working, reducing bureaucracy and, where necessary, intervening in under-performing schools.

He said such thinking was reflected in the government’s new draft code of practice on LEA-school relations that will shortly be laid before Parliament. The thinking in this code is likely to be underlined by the handing of even more money and responsibility, such as for repairs, maintenance and for school meals, directly into schools as from next April.