Directors of Children's Services demand LAs be allowed to take over failing academies

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services has released a report asking the government to let local authorities take over failing academies.

The group, who represent the local authority leaders responsible for schools in their areas, are concerned that lack of clarity about the council’s role in schools versus that of academy trusts means the system is “increasingly incoherent”.

The lack of a holistic accountability system – in which young people’s education and social needs are considered together – means too many vulnerable young people are “squeezed out of the mainstream system or falling out of sight all together.”

Academies failed by their sponsors are also increasingly passed between different trusts – as in the case of the Wakefield City Academies Trust collapse earlier this year.

Schools Week previously revealed that schools are increasingly “double-bouncing” – with over 33 spending more than a year in limbo between the sponsors.

ADCS said the length of the waits while new sponsors were found means ““children’s outcomes are put at risk” during this time.

To change the situation, ADCS is demanding a common accountability framework to cover all schools, and an “open and honest discussion” about returning academies to the local authority if a trust fails or voluntarily hands back its school.

Other recommendations include reviewing admissions guidance, a protocol for the regional schools commissioner role ,  a “comprehensive” teacher recruitment and retention plan, and further research into the impact of curriculum reforms.