Just read Tim Brighouse on why London schools need a strategic body to help oversee education in the capital. I thought that it made interesting arguments, as does Boris Johnson for some sort of LEA for the Greater London area now that London Challenge has ended. This afternoon I also found myself listening to ‘Inside the Academy School Revolution‘ on Radio 4 with one ear, whilst making lunch.
I am going to listen to the program again tomorrow with more focus. It struck me how many academy heads were blaming what seemed to be the dead hand of the LEA for a lack of innovation. I wondered whether there was any research done about how the LEA acted with failing schools before the academies were set up? Anyone know?
From outside it seems rather that because ‘old style’ academies were created out of failing schools, for which ‘things could only get better’ – one school on the program had a 5A*-C pass rate of 3%. Lots of money was poured into such schools (rightly so), new buildings were made, and in many cases new teachers were found (again rightly so).
I wonder how many of the new academies – the outstanding schools or the private schools that have recently converted have found that, freed from the dead hand of the LEA, or fee-paying parents, they are able to radically overhaul their structures, curricula and teaching practices. This is a genuine question by the way. Of course I have my own prejudices, but I would really like to know if anyone has studied these things.