Emerging local schooling landscapes: The role of the local authority

Tim Simkins, John Coldron, Megan Crawford, Steve Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The school system in England is undergoing rapid change, with the government creating more than 4000 independent publicly funded schools, known as academies, since 2010. The potential for fragmentation is considerable with diversity of governance emerging as a key feature of the new schooling landscape. Consequently, a major and widely recognised issue to which these reforms give rise concerns the future of the middle tier -that layer between individual schools or groups of schools and central government. There are competing visions of how a future middle tier might evolve: one focuses entirely on a middle tier of individual schools and chains as a self-improving system; others conceive a continuing but revised role for the local authority (LA). The aim of this paper is to begin to explore the latter position, and in particular the potential role of the LA as a broker of new patterns of school organisation. Drawing on interview data from three very different LA areas, the findings show that LAs differ in how they conceive their role and, consequently, on the strategies that they pursue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalSchool Leadership and Management
Issue number1
Early online date10 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • academies
  • brokering
  • governance
  • local authorities
  • restructuring
  • school chains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management


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