Research and analysis

Action research into the evolving role of the local authority

Research report looking at the changing role of local authorities and the challenges they face as a result of greater autonomy in schools.



Since the passing of the Education Act 2011 local authorities have been working to adapt to the increasingly autonomous school system, and to consider their strategic role as champions of children and parents.

This research looks at how, in the context of greater school autonomy, local authorities are approaching three key elements of their role:

  • ensuring a sufficient supply of school places
  • tackling underperformance in schools and ensuring high standards
  • supporting vulnerable children

The research will identify how the role of the local authority has changed, the specific challenges that local authorities are facing, and areas of emerging good practice that may have wider application.


  • research structure
  • context in which local authorities are working
  • how schools are responding to increasing autonomy
  • ensuring sufficient school places
  • managing growth in pupil numbers
  • school improvement
  • brokering school to school support
  • action to prevent decline
  • fair access and fair admissions
  • support services
  • SEN placement commissioning
Published 1 February 2012