What does a ‘locally democratically accountable’ school system mean?

Professor Richard Hatcher, BCU

We need to open up a discussion about what local democratic accountability means. The fundamental principle should be that every citizen has a stake in, and therefore should have a voice in, their local school system as well as their local school. An elected local authority can make that possible. But local authorities aren’t very democratic. In fact they tend to exclude popular participation in strategic decision-making. So the discussion about a genuinely democratically accountable local school system has to go hand in hand with a discussion about participatory democracy in local government.

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Increase in academy trusts in deficit

he number of academy trusts that ran a deficit has increased, with a total shortfall between them of £65 million, new Department for Education accounts reveal.

There were 185 single or multi-academy trusts in deficit in the 2016-17 – up from 167 a year earlier.

The total cumulative deficit across these trusts was £65 million – up from £50 million the previous year.

However, the level of surplus cash across the academies sector has also grown to £2.4 billion – up from £2.2 billion in 2015-16.


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The academy trusts whose GCSE students keep disappearing

ome of England’s most influential academy chains are facing fresh questions over the number of children disappearing from their classrooms in the run-up to GCSEs, following a new statistical analysis of official figures.

The same four academy chains have the highest numbers of 15- 16-year-olds leaving their schools in both of the last two academic years. In some cases, two pupils are disappearing from the rolls for every class of 30. Some local authorities are also approaching these figures for dropouts.

Fears have been increasing that some schools are “offrolling” – getting rid of students who could do badly in their exams – in an effort to boost their league table position.


Out of the 50 biggest academy chains, the four that lost the most pupils were Delta Academies Trust, based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, where there were 124 fewer pupils in January 2018 in year 11 than in January 2017 (year 10). That is a net reduction in pupil numbers of 6.98%, or two children in every class of 30. Second came Aldridge Education, based in central London, where there were 52 fewer pupils year-on-year, or 6.92% of the cohort; third was the Norwich-based Inspiration Trust, with 40 fewer pupils, a loss of 5.38%; fourth was the Harris Federation, based in south London, where numbers of pupils fell by 5.14%.


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Firm behind first for-profit free school is still losing money

The private company behind the country’s first for-profit free school has made a loss for the third year in a row, documents reveal.

Accounts for the year to June 30, show IES International English Schools UK, which runs IES Breckland free school in Brandon, Suffolk, made an operating loss of £34,500 in 2018.

The company also made losses of £85,226 in 2017 and £49,117 in 2016.

Firm behind first for-profit free school is still losing money


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How to stop your school becoming an academy

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