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

Members of academy trusts have fiduciary duties

We are increasingly asked are there any limits on how members can exercise their powers.

View blog

Levelling Up – What now for education policy?

Following the Conservatives’ election victory in December the new government will be able to implement their election manifesto in full.

View blog

Multi Skilled Visit: what is the impact of it being a right under the new Electronic Communications Code?

A Multi Skilled Visit (MSV) is when a survey is carried out on behalf of operators for the purpose of seeing whether a new site is suitable for the installation and operation of electronic communications equipment.

View blog

UK universities receive fire and safety complaints

Statistics released by Eaton indicate that 1 in 4 Universities have received complaints about fire safety issues or building evacuation procedures from students, staff or members of the public in the last 5 years.

View blog

mailing list sign up



Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up