“Basingstoke parents want the best schools for their children. The Budget announcement that by 2020 all schools will be academies, or in the process of conversion, offers a real opportunity for our local schools.
Every Head Teacher will have freedom to innovate and shape their school to meet the specific challenges they face. Devolving power to individual schools means putting more power in the hands of Head Teachers over a range of issues including curriculum, pay, length of the school day and term times. Teacher recruitment and retention is one of the most pressing problems for our local schools - Head Teachers will have more flexibility to address this problem which will directly benefit children.
The role of the local education authority, Hampshire County Council, will change. They will step back from the running of schools, to concentrate on being a key partner working to deliver educational excellence across the area. The local authority will still have important, statutory education responsibilities:
- ensuring that there are the right school places for every child;
- ensuring that the needs of all pupils, including the most vulnerable, are met; and
- listening to and promoting the needs of parents, children and the local community.
We are fortunate to have an excellent education team in Hampshire County Council. The Government’s hope is that such expertise will be retained in the system and that children will continue to benefit from the best talent in local authorities, with some members of the local authority teams setting up new multi academy trusts or joining existing ones, and becoming academy sponsors.
The local authority will continue to play an important part in the education system, which will complement their wider responsibility for local economic growth and prosperity."