Funding cuts threaten school improvement, councils warn

Council budget cuts are putting school improvement work at risk, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned.

The LGA, which represents over 370 councils across England, has criticised the government after it was confirmed that only £50 million will be allocated to councils from September to cover education improvement work.

According to the LGA, councils have traditionally received £450 million to cover these duties and Richard Watts, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, says this loss of funding ‘risks the long term work and planning that has been put in place’.

Watts said: "89 per cent of council-maintained schools are now rated as either good or outstanding by Ofsted. Only this month, in its annual report, inspectors recognised the increase in school performance overall across the country was a direct result of the number of council-maintained primary schools improving during 2015/16. Cutting councils' school improvement budgets risks the long term work and planning that has been put in place.

"Councils' track record of helping to improve schools with their local knowledge, expertise and democratic oversight cannot be ignored. With the majority of secondary schools now academies, Ofsted has also found that more work needs to be done to improve these schools, especially in Northern parts of the country and in the Midlands.

"Councils are key to unlocking that improvement. Allowing them to intervene early and use their vast experience would help these schools to deliver the high quality education that all of our children deserve."

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