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Councils must modernise if they are effectively to support schools in their task of raising standards, said schools...
Councils must modernise if they are effectively to support schools in their task of raising standards, said schools minister Charles Clarke.

In a speech to a recent conference organised by the New Local Government Network in London, Mr Clarke told local education authorities they had to modernise.

Mr Clarke said: 'No change is not an option. LEAs must face up to the challenges now and for the future. Too few LEAs fully appreciate that their role has changed and that they need to adopt a different mentality. Paternalism is not appropriate. Poor performance by a few can damage the reputation of all local authorities.'

'LEAs can contribute to school improvement in many ways - through promoting and exchanging good practice, developing new ideas and ways of working, reducing bureaucracy and, where necessary, intervening in under-performing schools. The role of LEAs is about enabling and supporting schools, not controlling them. This culture change is reflected in our new draft code of practice on LEA-school relations which will shortly be laid before parliament.'

'Greater delegation of funding from LEAs to schools from next April will further underline the new role for LEAs. Many more responsibilities will pass from LEAs to schools, including responsibility for repairs, maintenance and for school meals. But it will still be for LEAs to lead consultation with their schools on how the new arrangements can best operate to meet local needs.

'Education Development Plans provide a key opportunity for schools and LEAs to work together to achieve the new national targets for 11 and 16-year-olds.

'The government,s ambitious programme for change and improvement in schools means the challenges for LEAs are numerous. But the framework is now in place for LEAs to support the drive for higher standards.'

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