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LGA - Debate on the role of education - House of Lords - 8 December 2017

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Key messages

School improvement and funding

  • Councils play a strong role in providing good school places, with 91 percent of maintained schools rated as Good or Outstanding by Ofsted, compared with 85 per cent of academies and 84 per cent of free schools. Councils should be seen by the Department for Education (DfE) as improvement partners in ensuring every child has access to a place at a good local school.
  • In announcing an additional £1.3 billion for schools funding during 2018/19 and 2019/20, the Government has recognised concerns raised by the LGA and other stakeholders that no school should be left worse off under the proposed national funding formula.
  • We are pleased that until 2020 at least, councils and schools will retain a degree of flexibility over allocations to reflect local needs and circumstances. Councils work closely with their schools and their local knowledge means they are uniquely placed to ensure funding is distributed fairly in order to get the best for our children.

Children’s services

  • Helping children and young people to fulfil their potential is a key ambition of all councils, but our children’s services are under increasing pressure. Facing a £2 billion funding gap by 2020, demand for these services has also increased dramatically. Councils have worked hard to protect budgets for essential child protection services, but funding pressures have led to difficult decisions elsewhere, leaving children and young people unable to access support until they reach crisis point.
  • Ahead of the Local Government Finance Settlement, we are asking the Government to recognise that if we truly want to get the best for children, the services that change their lives must be properly funded.

Skills and employment

  • The new skills initiatives announced in the industrial strategy are an important step in addressing our skills challenges, but they will only work if they are planned and coordinated locally and aligned with other initiatives to target training of the current and future workforce.
  • Councils have a unique understanding of their local economies, and relationships with local businesses, education institutions and residents. They are best-placed to bring people together to meet local skills needs and help create meaningful job opportunities for their residents. In order to see prosperity across the country all areas need to be able to draw on the right powers and adequate funding to deliver successful and inclusive economies.