Publications & Research

I have produced a number of free publications on various topics. I have also contributed to external publications listed at the bottom of this page.

Improving Educational Outcomes for Children in Care – Research Implications for Local Authorities

children-in-care-thumbThis paper is a personal reflection on recent research by The Rees Centre at the University of Oxford and the University of Bristol. In my work with ADCS and NCER I contributed to the joint ADCS / NCER / VSHN paper. This paper is more wide-ranging and is a more personal analysis of the issues and how the research could be used to drive improvements.

Please download ‘Improving Educational Outcomes for Children in Care – Research Implications for Local Authorities’ by clicking here.

The 2015 ‘Schools Causing Concern’ Statutory Guidance

eBook cover thumbnailThe 2015 ‘Schools Causing Concern’ Statutory Guidance from the DfE is complementary to the Ofsted LASI Framework, and this paper is part of the ‘The Role of the Local Authority in School Quality Assurance’ series. It aims to support local authorities in developing local policy and practice that will meet both Ofsted and DfE requirements, and (more importantly) in ensuring that schools are appropriately supported, challenged and monitored.

The paper include some useful information on the role of the local authority with respect to academies, including recent DfE quotes (referenced in the paper): “Local authorities can look at overall performance in their area (including academies) using data available to them.” and “LAs shouldn’t wait for Ofsted to identify failings …”. There is also a recent Ofsted analysis (also referenced in the paper) of the use of Warning Notices and IEBs.

Please download ‘The 2015 ‘Schools Causing Concern’ Statutory Guidance’ by clicking here.

Preparing for Inspection – Second Edition

Since the LASI Framework was published in 2013 there have been 13 inspections, including two re-inspections. four of these resulted in an ‘effective’ judgement, and nine an ‘ineffective’ judgement. This new paper draws on the experiences so far to provide local authorities with a tool that will enable them to carry out their statutory functions under Section 13A of the Education Act 1996 and to manage LASI inspections successfully. There are two central themes – first, the evidential basis for policy and practice that inspectors will be seeking, and, second, an assessment of the evidence that local authorities should be using to assess the quality of education in their area. Preparing for Inspection – Second Edition was published on 25 November 2014 to take account of the revised Ofsted documentation published on 11 November.

The peril of early publication is that new facts and interpretations come to light later! For completeness a short additional document is available giving further information on the pupil premium metrics, on quality assurance of inspections, and on information published by the DfE on academies causing concern. 

Please download ‘Preparing for Inspection – Second Edition’ by clicking here.

‘Clarifications and additions’ can be downloaded by clicking here.

Annex 1A May 2013 LASI Framework with changes highlighted – can be downloaded by clicking here.
Annex 1B May 2014 LASI Handbook with changes highlighted – can be downloaded by clicking here.
Annex 1C November 2014 LASI Framework with changes highlighted – can be downloaded by clicking here.
Annex 1D November 2014 LASI Handbook with changes highlighted – can be downloaded by clicking here.

Annex 2 Analysis of LASI Inspection Letters – The Use of Data – can be downloaded by clicking here.
Annex 3 Analysis of FSI letters by local authority (suitable for printing) – can be downloaded by clicking here.
Annex 4 Analysis of FSI letters (suitable for on-screen analysis) – can be downloaded by clicking here.

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The first edition of Preparing for Inspection is still available to download by clicking here.

Annex 1 – (the withdrawn Ofsted LASI Framework) can be downloaded by clicking here.

Annex 2 – (the withdrawn Ofsted LASI Handbook) can be downloaded by clicking here.

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The Local Authority Role in School Quality Assurance

School Quality Assurance eBook coverSince the coalition government came to power, the national rhetoric on schools and quality assurance has focused very largely on self-improving schools, with only a minimal role for local authorities. With increasing numbers of ‘autonomous’ academies, and reducing local authority central expenditure, traditional local authority education functions have been under increasing pressure, and, in many local authorities, these education functions have been very substantially reduced.

There have been some signs that the local authority role has been seen more broadly, notably in the 2010 White Paper ‘The Importance of Teaching’. More recently, earlier this year Ofsted made it clear that local authorities will be inspected on the Education Act 1996 duties to promote high standards for all pupils.

This paper is a response to this changing national position, and proposes a model for the operation of school quality assurance functions. The model is intended to show that local authorities are able to carry through their statutory duties effectively in a way that minimises the bureaucratic burden, while recognising that there is a cost which must be met.

Please download ‘The Local Authority Role in School Quality Assurance’ by clicking here.

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A work in progress

The Law of Education: A High-Level Guide for Local Authorities

The Law of Education eBookIf you work in education, this eBook will make sure you understand the implications of education law, with all the amendments made by succeeding governments. Written in plain English and starting with the basics, each chapter sets out the legislation for a specific area of education activity and provides relevant case studies.

The book is a work in progress and I’m making each chapter available as I complete it. At this stage chapters are free to download and I would welcome any comments or queries on the content. Please send me your comments or questions.

Once the book is complete it will be sold as an eBook or be available to order in print.

From the foreword

This Guide to the Law is written clearly and straightforwardly for use as a high-level reference document on education law – a handbook – by senior staff in local authorities, and councillors. The Guide is intended to set out simply the statutory framework within which local authorities operate with respect to education, including powers, duties and responsibilities, illuminating the framework with a commentary. The Guide does not promote any particular action, but simply aims to delineate the boundaries within which proper action can be taken.

Please download ‘The Law of Education: A High-Level Guide for Local Authorities’ by clicking here for Part 1 and clicking here for Part 2.

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I have also been associated with the external publications listed below

I was one of the key contributors to the RSA reportBetween the Cracks, an important study of the problems of in-year school admissions and transfers.

Research on Children’s Services Spending and Budgeting – Section 251 Returns

John has worked with CIPFA and the LGA to produce two reports on the Section 251 collection of information on the costs of children’s services. The first report is available here. The second (and final) report is available here.

John led this research project for CIPFA; the project was commissioned by a consortium including the Local Government Association, London Councils, Solace, and ADCS.

This research shows how flawed government statistics are when based simply on statutory returns, and makes recommendations for how the system can be improved.