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Wed, 06 Jul 22 11:59

The Missing Link The Evolving Role of the Local Authority in...

‘The Missing Link – the evolving role of the local authority in school improvement’ lays out the position of the Association on work with both maintained schools and academies. It contains recommendations for local authorities and for the Department for Education. The position statement builds upon the findings from two research reports commissioned to help explore the implications of an increasing number of academies.

The two research papers published by ADCS make a significant contribution to one of the most important policy dilemmas facing local authorities – what is the local authority’s role with schools, and particularly in ensuring that every child receives a suitable and high-quality education?

More specifically the two researchers explored:

  • What are the characteristics of an effective local authority school improvement service?
  • What are the implications for school improvement of increased numbers of academies and free schools?
  • What kind of middle tier is needed for the next five years?
  • How will local authorities need to change if they are to fulfil that role?

The papers contain significant detail about the work of local authorities with schools and how that work is changing in response to national policy drivers and budget restrictions. The full reports will prove useful to senior managers and politicians in local authorities who are considering how the role of their authority in education locally might change. They include case studies of successful authorities and some examples of the different models of school engagement that are emerging.


The Missing Link: the evolving role of the local authority in school improvement: This paper contains a foreword and recommendations by ADCS for local authorities and the Department for Education and executive summaries of the two full reports.

View report

Schools causing concern – a research project: Debbie Pritchard, freelance Children’s Services professional, has undertaken substantial research into local authority approaches to working with schools causing concern. This report will be of interest to policy-makers, practitioners and senior managers.

View report

The future role of the local authority: This ‘think piece’ produced by Jonathan Crossley Holland examines the national policy context and local authority responses to it. The report will be of interest to senior managers and policy makers considering how their local authority might respond to the national changes.

View report

Case studies and additional materials

Case studies of local authority school improvement practice: Part of the research into schools causing concern, these case studies describe the approaches of seven local authorities that have been effective in preventing and identifying decline and supporting improvement.

View paper

Case studies of local authority innovative practice: Part of the research undertaken into the local authority of the future, these case studies describe approaches to partnership working with all schools being taken by some local authorities.

View paper

Learning lessons from schools that have declined: This paper is an extract from the full report on schools causing concern. It highlights views expressed by heads and governors who have led schools in decline or on the route to improvement.

View paper

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