Sir Michael Wilshaw told MPs at the education select committee session that councils must have a role overseeing academies in order to prevent further cases of extremism in schools from occurring.
“Local authorities have responsibility for ensuring that all their children are safe. They have responsibility for ensuring all their children are in good educational provision – that means they have to have oversight of what’s happening in academies.”
Wilshaw said that the Birmingham schools involved in the Trojan Horse scandal had deserved their previously awarded “outstanding” Ofsted ratings, but their rapid decline went unnoticed after the head teachers responsible for the high standards were moved on by “very aggressive governors”.
“Schools change very quickly and that’s why this issue of the middle tier is so important. I keep banging on about it, but inspectors go into these schools once every five years and schools can change very radically. In something as serious as Trojan Horse, there needs to be a very careful eye on what’s happening in these schools – and that’s a big lesson for the system generally.”
The Local Government Association argued for councils to be empowered to intervene in troubled schools in June, following allegations of extremism in schools in Birmingham.
However, the DfE rejected the call.