Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Warning for schools causing concern

During the passage of the education bill through the House of Commons, the DfES issued a document in April 2006 Guidance on schools causing concern. These are defined as schools that are put in special measures or require 'significant improvement'.

The guidance was issued to local authorities, but not to schools. It includes shorter timescales for drawing up plans for change and increased pressure on local authorities to take action where they perceive a school to be under-performing.

Most of the measures in the guidance already exist, but the bill introduces several new powers for local authorities: a new 'warning notice' system for schools in difficulty, an extension of the definition of low performance, new powers to enforce federations, and a requirement for faster 'turn around' of schools after a bad Ofsted inspection.

Although the guidance is not yet under formal consultation, local authorities have been given extra funding to implement it. This represents a ratcheting up of the pressure on schools and on heads in particular.

If ASCL members are being targeted by local authorities using these powers, they are asked to asked to contact Bob Carstairs at headquarters on 0116 299 1122 or bob.carstairs@ascl.org.uk

ASCL will produce a vigorous response to this guidance in due course. In the meantime, the DfES is organising a series of one-day regional seminars between now and September. Members wishing to attend should contact their local authority, which will have been invited to send delegates.

Although the formal consultation will take place later in the year, ASCL members wishing to respond to the consultation, or communicate with the DfES about this, should contact sccguidance.consultation@dfes.gsi.gov.uk , and please send a copy to Bob Carstairs.

The guidance should be read by ASCL members in schools which might be subject to intervention measures by the local authority. It may be found at www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/sie/si/SCC

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