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6 October 2016

In examining what effective accountability looks like, Browne Jacobson’s report on the future of our school system (published this week) has highlighted the importance of local communities.

In the midst of debate about structures and reform, it can be easy to forget those that any successful regime must serve. However, during the roundtable discussion, which was attended by key figures from the education sector, there was a firm reminder that stakeholders still have a role to play and that there is a need to strike the right balance between skills and representation.

Indeed, the recent Government announcement to retain parent representation within academy governance supports the view that local stakeholders should not be completely disempowered. This week, Justine Greening has also spoken about “parental choice” in the context of grammar schools.

Of course, parents are only one type of stakeholder. The panel at the roundtable considered the whole school community and were also concerned about proper oversight for and on behalf of particular groups, such as those with SEN and disabilities.

It is clear that, as part of any formula for a system which delivers effective accountability for all, schools must retain a place in their communities.

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