https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/07/17/ensuring-financial-transparency-across-schools/

Ensuring financial transparency across schools

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Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at the launch of a new consultation on financial transparency as well as a report on home education.

Financial Transparency Consultation

Today, Wednesday 17 July, we have launched a consultation on the financial transparency of local authority maintained schools and academy trusts, looking at how we can bring parity between the measures for all schools. This was covered by the Telegraph, TES, Schools Week and the Times in brief.

We will consult on a number of proposals that would utilise current successful measures used in the academy sector and implement them across local authority schools, as well as any other changes to financial transparency that may be of benefit to maintained schools or local authorities.

Academies Minister Lord Agnew said:

In everything we have done to strengthen the way schools are run since 2010, we can be certain that an unprecedented level of accountability and transparency has been brought into academy finances, with these robust processes allowing us to spot financial mismanagement quickly and intervene where we need to.

We know that many local authorities do a good job in overseeing the financial affairs of their schools, but the accountability arrangements typically in place in their schools are not equal to that of academies.

It makes sense for both parents, and the entire education sector, that the financial reporting and accountability measures of academies are extended to local authority maintained schools, ensuring consistency across our entire state funded education system.

That is why we are consulting on this, to bring parity between the financial transparency measures of local authority run schools and academies.

Home Education

Today, the Local Government Association put out a report about children being home educated. The report argues that the new register for children not in school is ineffective if local authorities are not given more powers to enter a premises to check on a child’s schooling. This was covered by the Guardian and TES .

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We have a duty to protect our young people and that’s why our plans for a register of children not in school is so important.

If there is a concern over the standard of home education a child is receiving local authorities already have substantial powers including being able to request that parents show the education at home is of a good quality. We have published revised guidance, setting out the action councils can take if they have concerns about a child’s education.

The consultation was wide ranging and we will publish our proposed next steps later this year.

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