logo-education
0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

redefining ‘autonomy’

13 June 2018

Do we really have a self-improving system? That was one of the questions considered at our recent roundtable. A key part of the discussion focused on ‘autonomy’.

At a system level, whilst the Government set out with a principle of autonomy being provided to schools along with high accountability, over time this principle seems to have been eroded, through both its practice (particularly in response to high-profile failings in the system) and its policies in other areas (e.g. curriculum and assessment). When you look at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) research, the core ingredients identified for a highly autonomous system were a focus on decisions about curriculum, assessment and resources. However, reflecting on our school system today, arguably the essential ingredients of autonomy that led to the OECD’s findings have been distorted in the debate about ‘autonomy’.

At a provider level, it is clear that autonomy has become a loaded phrase. For multi-academy trusts in particular it can be extremely difficult to tread a line between ‘autonomy’ and ‘standardisation’. The sector therefore needs to redefine and create a consensus as to what is meant by autonomy and what it is for. This should make clear that autonomy should be exercised on behalf of, and in the best interests of learners. Similar to the concept of the ‘servant leader’, the concept of autonomy in our schools system should not be about protecting the rights of adults and institutions.

Read our latest report ‘The Way Ahead’.

related opinions

Extension to exemption from Tier 2 visa salary threshold for STEM and Mandarin teachers

The Government has announced that the current exemption from the £30,000 minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 (General) sponsored workers in a number of public service professions has been extended.

View blog

13 years for first FGM conviction

The first conviction of female genital mutilation (FGM) has resulted in a 13 year jail sentence for the child’s mother.

View blog

Could suspension of an employee pending an investigation amount to a breach of their employment contract?

The Court of Appeal recently provided authoritative guidance on disciplinary suspensions including on whether the suspension of an employee facing serious allegations, pending an investigation, could amount to a repudiation of their employment contract.

View blog

Link between exclusions and knife-crime?

Recent press coverage of an increase in knife attacks has raised concerns over what can be done to tackle what is fast becoming a national crisis.

View blog

mailing list sign up



Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up