Children, Schools and Families Bill

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 4:18 pm on 11th January 2010.

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Photo of Edward Balls Edward Balls Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families 4:18 pm, 11th January 2010

I understand my hon. Friend's point, but I do not fully agree, because the 2006 Act, which I support and am implementing, was a good piece of legislation that split the commissioning role of the local authority from the providing role of schools. More than 50 universities now sponsor academies, and through our academies, through the accreditation of our best schools and through our universities, we are trying to establish in the state school system good providers who can take on wider responsibilities. The local authority's responsibility is to ensure that when there is a problem, it brings in outside support to make such action happen.

We do two different things in the Bill: first, we give local authorities the duty to survey parents' views on local schools to see whether there is dissatisfaction and, if there is, to take action; and, secondly, we give local authorities a duty to act if they are concerned about a school, by issuing a warning notice to a school, with the Secretary of State having the power to direct a local authority to consider that point if it does not take its responsibilities seriously.

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