Schools want control of curriculum

New research matches our findings on the role of the local authority that the most important thing for schools is control over their curriculum.

A study, conducted with Headteachers in 151 academies, by law firm Browne Jacobson with the Independent Academies Association, revealed that  half of the schools had  made changes to the curriculum.   Only 9% made changes to the length of term or school days and only 8% have made changes to staff pay and conditions.

The survey we conducted with  secondary school Heads and Chairs of Governors, showed that the most important issues for schools, regardless of whether they were academies or not, was taking control over their curriculum.  Only one respondent said that the curriculum should be controlled by the local authority and 76 % said that the local authority should have no control over the curriculum at all.

The role of the Local Authority in education

Tamarind Chambers has published its report on a survey conducted amongst Headteachers and Chairs of Governors to gather their views on the role that Local Authorities should play in education.

The survey shows that schools value their increased autonomy and freedoms but recognise that, within clearly defined parameters, the Local Authority still has a role to play.

In their responses, Chairs and Headteachers said that Local Authorities should continue to be responsible for assessing the special educational needs of individual pupils and providing appropriate education to meet their assessed needs. By contrast, they said that Local Authorities should not have any control over the curriculum.

Further, a clear majority were against Local Authorities having the power to enter and inspect schools as they chose. However, there was general agreement that Local Authorities should collect and report on data about schools in their area.

The responses to some questions revealed contradictory views. For example whilst most respondents said that local authorities should have a role in planning and co-ordinating school places, there was less support for Local Authorities having specific powers to make changes to the size of a school or alter a school’s admissions decisions.

Tamarind Chambers carried out the survey by email questionnaire. The questionnaire was sent to Headteachers and Chairs of Governors of a range of secondary schools across England between October 2011 and February 2012. Responses were received from 80 schools.

The report gives an account of the responses and a detailed analysis of the answers to the questionnaire.