https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2016/09/20/education-in-the-media-20-september-2016/

Education in the media: 20 September 2016

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Today’s news review looks at coverage of calls for a foster carers’ union and a report on funding within Multi Academy Trusts.

Foster carers’ union

On Monday, 19 September, the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain held a meeting in the Houses of Parliament to discuss legal routes for improving working conditions for foster carers, voting to create a foster carers’ union.

This was reported on by BBC Online and BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We really appreciate the work foster carers do, as we know it is a very rewarding – but at times challenging – experience. Foster carers receive financial support to cover the full cost of caring for a child and we’re launching a fundamental review of fostering across the country, which will look at the issues affecting foster carers, including accountability and complaints.

Multi Academy Trusts

Today, 20 September, the think-tank Reform published its latest report - Academy Chains Unlocked. It recommends Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) should be given all school funding rather than providing it to individual schools. It also states that the Department should lose the power to approve academies to a new independent body, and it calls for schools to be allowed to pay their governors.

This was covered by the Times, i and BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.

MATs allow schools to share resources and expertise and are responsible for developing a funding system that ensures public money is used correctly – we are clear that this ensures decisions are in the best interests of schools.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Our reforms are raising standards with over 1.4million more pupils in good or outstanding schools than in 2010. Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) allow schools to share resources and expertise, giving school leaders, the people who know how to run their schools best, the freedom to do so.

 

MATs have a responsibility to develop a funding system that ensures public money is used correctly. All academies are subject to a strict and transparent system of oversight and accountability through Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs) who have extensive knowledge of the sector within their regions. RSCs work hand in hand with local headteachers and are accountable to the National Schools Commissioner. We are confident this system ensures decisions taken are in the best interest of schools and their pupils.

On parent governors

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

As the Secretary of State made clear at the recent Education Select Committee, parent governors have a vital role to play, holding schools to account and ensuring they are connected with the communities they serve. We don’t want to see boards become detached, distant or unanswerable to parents.

 

We will continue to require academy trusts to reserve places for parents in their governance structures – either on the board of trustees, or in the case of multi-academy trusts on bodies at local level.

On payments for governors

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

School governance in England is rooted firmly in the principle of voluntary service and we expect this to stay the norm across the education sector. There are only limited, specific, circumstances in which individuals involved in governance can receive payments from their school or trust. However, this should only take place where it is clearly in the best interests of the school or academy, and may be subject to charity commission approval.