School oversight and intervention - Public Accounts Committee Contents


The Department for Education is accountable to Parliament for the overall performance of the school system in England. There are 21,500 state-funded schools, of which 17,000 are maintained schools overseen by local authorities, and 4,500 are academies directly accountable to the Secretary of State. The Department's overall objective is for all children to have the opportunity to attend a school that Ofsted rates as 'good' or better. To achieve this, the Department expects school leaders, along with governors and trustees, to manage resources effectively in an increasingly autonomous system so as to raise educational standards. The Department presides over a complex and confused system of external oversight, sharing responsibility for oversight with the Education Funding Agency (the Agency, which is part of the Department) and 152 local authorities. The Department has set up frameworks that specify how it and other bodies should assess school performance and when they should intervene. The main formal interventions are: warning notices to raise formal concerns about a school's performance; changing a school's governing body; and for local authority maintained schools and converter academies, turning the school into a sponsored academy. There are 460 sponsors which support and manage 1,900 academies.

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Prepared 30 January 2015