Education and Adoption Bill

Written evidence submitted by Inigo Woolf, Chief Executive, The London Diocesan Board for Schools (EAB 13)


1. Conversion of Schools in Special Measures to Academies is not always appropriate and the Secretary of State should have some flexibility to act in the best interest of pupils.

2. The proposals for Interim Executive Boards in respect of Church schools could be improved.


3. The London Diocesan Board for Schools (LDBS) acts as the Diocesan Board of Education for the Diocese of London; the Board has oversight for 155 maintained schools which educate 55,000 pupils. The Board has been involved in school improvement activities for over 25 years and 87% of our family of schools are good or outstanding.

Duty to Make Academy orders

4. The LDBS supports the conversion of schools to academies where it is in the best interest of the pupils. In addition there is a rigorous due diligence process which ensures that the school converting is sustainable financially.

5. If there is a safeguarding issue, Ofsted is required to put the school into Special Measures. It may be an outstanding school and rapid action is required to address the safeguarding issue. By the time the safeguarding issue is resolved the school can regain its outstanding status. To deflect the school from concentrating on the major issue would not be in the best interest of pupils.

6. In both instances where a school is not financially sustainable and speed of action is required the Secretary of State and her Regional School Commissioners should have flexibility to determine the most appropriate structure for the particular school.

Interim Executive Boards

7. At present any proposal from a local authority to set up an Interim Executive Board for a Church of England School requires the Diocesan Board for Education to be consulted. The active involvement of the Diocese in Interim Executive Boards has enabled improvements in the opportunities for pupils to be fast tracked with great success.

8. The LDBS welcomes the Secretary of State’s willingness to become pro-active in the formation of IEBs as proposals initiated by the Diocese have not always been acted on as quickly by local authorities as we would like.

9. We would not wish to lose our ability to propose the formation of an IEB nor lose the requirement for consultation with us. We would therefore support the evidence provided by the Catholic Education Service.

July 2015

Prepared 7th July 2015