LGA opposes school standards plan

The news comes as civil servants are set to take over responsibility for raising standards in state-funded schools, from 2017 August onwards.

However, council leaders have argued that regional schools commissioners (RSC) lack the ‘capability and capacity’ for the job and ‘could risk children's education’.

Nonetheless, the government is ultimately planning for all schools to be converted into academies, with the commissioners' role expanding as more schools are changed to academy status.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has highlighted official data which indicated that council maintained schools out-perform academies.

The proportion of schools rated good or outstanding included: 89 per cent of council maintained schools; 83.2 per cent of all academies; 62.1 per cent of sponsored academies (taken over by academy sponsors after poor inspections); 88.5 per cent of converter academies; and 81.8 per cent of free schools.

Data did show, however, that at secondary level academies did do better than maintained schools with 79.6 per cent ranked as good or outstanding compared with 76.3 per cent of council run schools.

Commenting on the figures, Richard Watts, chairman of the LGA's children and young people board, said: “This is no surprise. Each council is working with fewer schools, who they have good, long-standing relationships with and they know what's needed in their local areas.

"It is simply asking too much to expect RSCs to effectively turn around dozens of schools across a huge area."

Meanwhile, a Department for Education spokesman argued: “It s inevitable that councils oversee a higher proportion of good or outstanding schools.

“After being paired with a strong sponsor, academies stand the best chance of breaking from their often long histories of under performance.

The spokesman also added that accountability for academies was more robust than in council-run schools, adding that regional schools commissioners enabled ‘swift action’ on problems ‘that the council-run system would fail to tackle for years’.