Powell: ‘Give councils power to intervene in academies’

Councils should be allowed to intervene in any failing school, regardless of whether it is an academy, free school or local authority controlled, shadow education secretary Lucy Powell has said.

Speaking at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Ms Powell said it was vital that there was “strong local oversight and accountability of all schools”.

She reiterated Labour’s position that there should not be a further roll-out of academies and free schools, which are funded and run independently of councils.

Ms Powell told delegates: “A good education shouldn’t be a privilege – it is every child’s right.”

She continued: “Local authorities will be able to ensure sufficient places and fair admissions, and have the ability to intervene in any school that is failing. I want to encourage collaboration in communities of schools and for all schools to work with their local communities to drive up standards.

“Let me also be clear: there will be no more free schools, and academy chains will be made accountable.

“It’s not political heresy to say all this. It is the right thing to do.”

In her speech, Ms Powell accused the Tories of being “blinded” by the desire to create free schools, meaning no attention was being paid to the teaching shortage or a widening attainment gap between rich and poor children.

And she added: “I make you this promise as your shadow education secretary, as someone from a family of teachers and as a mum: our Labour values are at the heart of education policy – a relentless focus on standards so every child can fulfil their potential.

“Collaboration is the route to success; tackling inequality so that no child is left behind; high expectations, high standards and excellence for all.”

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