The New Local Government Network is urging a re-think of the governance structure of local education. In a discussion document it sets out a radical new role for local government as champions of education consumers. It presents this view as an alternative to being marginalised by the increasing freedoms being given to self-managing learning institutions.The Network argues that schools should be self-managing, within a central framework. They should determine and manage their own destinies, develop wider professional networks and be more accountable for the results they achieve. This would diminish the traditional role of LEAs but at the same time enhance the strategic role of connecting schools to their localities.
The LEA would have responsibility for commissioning and would take a more robust position on behalf of learners – identifying local needs and agreeing local targets that complement national goals. They would lever in additional funds for education, supporting strategic partnerships for delivery, and challenging outcomes. They would also be encouraged to outsource back-office functions to put them on a more commercial and competitive footing.