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Must know for education

Despite considerable changes in national education policy and school organisation over recent years, councils retain the bulk of their statutory duties. They have a key role as champions of educational excellence for all children and young people in their areas.

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However, significant budget cuts and the increasing number of academies and free schools, directly funded and accountable to the Secretary of State for Education, mean that the council role in school improvement is changing.

Schools are increasingly expected to take responsibility for their own improvement and for helping other schools. A variety of models are developing across the country, with councils facilitating and supporting school-to-school improvement partnerships.

Councils must ensure sufficient high-quality school places locally and there is significant increase in demand for additional school places in many areas. This will involve strategic planning and partnerships with all local schools, including academies and free schools.