Local Authorities and School Improvement: The use of statutory powers

Avril Keating, Peter Rudd, Helen Marshall

21 April 2009

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Conducted by NFER on behalf of the LGA, this report examines how local authorities support and challenge their schools, using informal, formal and statutory strategies.

Supporting school improvement has consistently been a key concern for the Government, policymakers and practitioners over the past decade. Local authorities are a central component of the school improvement process, and can use a range of strategies (including statutory powers) to assist schools that are struggling to effect necessary changes and improve their schools.

This report examines the formal and informal strategies that LAs have developed to support and challenge their schools, and focuses in particular on whether LAs have (or have not) used the intervention powers that have been available to them, and the reasoning behind their approach.

This report draws on a series of interviews that were conducted with LA officials, school improvement partners and teachers in schools facing challenging circumstances. These interviews provide the basis of a number of key findings about how LAs have used statutory powers and other strategies to support and challenge schools, and a series of recommendations for future developments.

This research is important reading for all local authority staff, policy makers and practitioners concerned with school improvement.

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