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SCHOOLS TO VOICE VIEWS ON THEIR COUNCILS

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Almost 21,000 schools in England and Wales can give their verdict on their councils in the Audit Commission's fourt...
Almost 21,000 schools in England and Wales can give their verdict on their councils in the Audit Commission's fourth independent annual school survey.

Covering 144 councils, the survey captures what headteachers think about council services and the other services provided in the local area for children and young people. This comprehensive and easily accessible survey focuses on achieving improvement for pupils, teachers and parents.

The survey gives schools the ability to hold their councils to account better. It aims to provide an understanding of schools' views and to influence local service planning. For example, the questionnaire will ask to what extent schools influence councils' policies, plans and procedures for services to children and young people. The overall findings will be published in mid-September and made available to schools by their councils.

Headteachers can complete the survey online and comment on the issues that affect them, their staff and their pupils. It should take no more than half an hour. Schools' responses will remain anonymous to their council unless they request otherwise.

When the results are published, schools will be able to compare their views with schools in other authority areas and later identify how their feedback has influenced the way their council is improving.

David Curtis, director of education, culture and social care at the Audit Commission, said: 'Schools' views about how well their council works with them are key to bringing about improvements. We have designed the survey with heads, governors, councils and other key players in the sector and continue to update it to respond to the changing agenda for children and young people.

'The survey is the most comprehensive annual assessment of schools' views in the country. Our experience is that councils take the results very seriously and through it schools can hold their councils to account better.'

The survey is used extensively by councils in order to find out the views of their schools on issues of local importance as well as to target local improvements in services and policies.

In addition it continues to be used by the Audit Commission, Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales (Estyn), the Wales Audit Office and other inspectorates as a key component of education inspections, joint area reviews and annual performance assessment evidence.

The 2005 school survey is available on the Audit Commission's website until 27 June.

Notes

The Audit Commission School Survey project has been running since 2002 in partnership with local authorities and with the backing of headteacher and governor associations (Secondary Heads Association (SHA); National Association of Headteachers (NAHT); National Association of School Governors (NASG); National Governors' Council (NGC)) as well as Ofsted, Estyn, and theWales Audit Office.

The Audit Commission will contact schools about the survey via email, and support and further information will be available locally from a nominated officer within each authority, as well as from the Audit Commission's email helpline (schoolsurvey-help@audit-commission.gov.uk).

The national and local results from previous years' surveys can be found on the survey website at www.audit-commission.gov.uk/schoolsurvey

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