Schools Bill accused of weakening academy governance plans
The Department for Education (DfE) has been accused of weakening local governance by issuing a “confusing” addendum to its Schools White Paper.
In a clarification, issued three months after the initial publication of the White Paper, the DfE confirmed that it would not “mandate” local governing bodies and that it would be left to academy trusts to choose whether to such a regime.
The move has led the to the National Governance Association (NGA) describing the wording of the clarification as “slightly confusing” and has also accused the DfE of a “weakened” approach.
Sam Henson, director of policy and information at the association, said the language used by the DfE was “not as clear as it needs to be”.
He added: “Our findings show the vast majority of trusts have local governance, and the CEOs and trust boards we speak to remain very committed to it. We welcome the DfE’s commitment to ensuring local governance and look forward to developing the expectations further with them.”
However, Leora Cruddas, Chief Executive of the Confederation of School Trusts (CST), welcomed the additional guidance, saying that trusts should be allowed to “determine their own governance arrangements” and that local governance was “a matter for the trust board”.
The DfE has argued that it was always their intention within its White Paper plans to clarify the implementation of local governance arrangements and that the clarification statement had merely confirmed its intentions.
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