DfE plans on school improvement funding for local authorities could impact members and schools, says Prospect

1 November 2021

Prospect has raised its concerns following the Department for Education’s announcement that it is holding a consultation on proposals to reform how local authorities’ school improvement functions are funded.

Prospect’s Education and Children’s Services Group (ECSG) represents professionals working in school improvement, most of whom are employed by local authorities as well as in traded services and consultancies.

The union warns that the proposals may have a significant impact on members, as well as the schools and children and young people that they support.

There are two key proposals in the consultation:

  1. Removing the Schools Improvement Monitoring and Brokering Grant
  2. Including provisions in Schools and Early Years Finance (England) Regulations to enable councils to fund all improvement activities via de-delegation.

In addition, the DfE will, as part of these changes look at

  • Clarifying guidance to councils on school improvement, including Schools Causing Concern guidance.

Further details are available here on the DfE website.

On the proposals, Steve Thomas, national secretary for Prospect’s ECSG, said:

“Local authority School Improvement teams and advisers have shown throughout the pandemic that they have the ability and flexibility to support schools and their communities in the most difficult times. Members have told us that workloads for their already decimated teams have increased, as has as the variety and complexity of the work they are providing.

“It is vital that the consultation reflects an accurate understanding of the statutory underpinning of school improvement duties and legal foundations that sit with local authorities, for example to promote high standards, and how these differ from academies and MATs.”

Thomas added:

“School improvement needs to be provided by properly funded services that are accessible and built through professional relationships. We are concerned that these proposals may prompt disputes at local school forum level and lead to an academisation drive, rather than delivering that.”

Prospect ECSG

Prospect’s ECSG Biennial General Meeting takes place on Friday 5 November and there will be an opportunity to discuss this DfE consultation.

Members are encouraged to attend and participate in the BGM through our digital platforms (more details to follow) and to also encourage their colleagues to support the unique voice that Prospect provides for education professionals.

The new Group Executive Council (GEC) will be working with Group Secretary Steve Thomas to respond to the consultation, which closes on November 26, 2021.

people at work

Education and children's services

Prospect represents professionals in education, children’s services, early years, commissioning and children’s social care.