COMMONS

Education Committee publishes report on school partnerships and cooperation

06 November 2013

School partnerships and collaboration have great potential to improve the whole school system but they need more help to enable and facilitate effective working.

Launching a report that examines school partnerships and collaboration, Education Committee Chair Graham Stuart MP said:

“The Government wants schools to take more responsibility for themselves and each other in delivering a true  self-improving school system. It wants schools to look not to local authorities for expertise but to each other. We have no problem with that vision and think the wide range of models and structures already in place is a strength and proof of vitality.

“We support moves to give schools more  freedom to innovate but we argue that the creation of a self-improving system needs a degree of coordination and strong incentives to encourage schools to look beyond their own school gate. Otherwise there is a danger that many schools will operate in isolation rather than in cooperation.

“Academy chains are generally performing well but raise particular questions and need specific solutions. We recommend that it should be made clear how academies can leave chains either with or without mutual consent. We also call for the Department for Education to monitor more effectively the extent to which convertor academies meet the expectation that they should support other schools.”

The report calls for:

  • Ofsted to be given the powers to inspect academy chains.
  • Government to formalise procedures for schools to leave academy chains by mutual consent, and to set out how an outstanding school can leave a chain against the wishes of the chain management. 
  • DfE to urgently review its arrangements for monitoring the expectation that convertor academies support other schools. 
  • Government to evaluate initiatives relating to school partnerships and to collect evidence on what works.
  • Richer and more accessible data to be provided by the DfE to help schools to identify suitable potential partners.
  • Government to widen its funding for collaboration beyond academy sponsorship to assist other types of partnership.
  • Government to set out clearly the role of local authorities in a school-led improvement system 
  • Government to set out how organisations in the middle tier will be held to account for strategic oversight of partnership working in schools.
  • Greater incentives for good leaders to work in areas of greatest need.
  • Ministers to endorse  Sir Michael Wilshaw’s proposal for an ‘excellent leadership award’ to be given to headteachers who support underperforming schools in disadvantaged communities.
  • DfE to assess the quality and capacity to provide expertise within a school-led improvement system and to ensure that schools are aware of where they can access such advice.

Further information

 

Image: iStockphoto 

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