A Charter for School Providers

As governance arrangements diversify, we argue that there is a powerful case for the publication and application of a charter for those drawing down public funds to provide education. Such a charter would define the framework of acceptable behaviours for those providing publicly funded education, and build a powerful political and social consensus around the governance of public education.

We identify 4 elements for the Charter for School Providers:

  1. Those receiving public money for the provision of education to those up to the age of 18 recognise their commitment to the following principles:
    • education is a public as well as a personal good
    • schooling is one of the means by which we both realise individual potential and build a socially just and cohesive society
    • individual schools are part of a commonwealth of schools and other agencies which work together to contribute to the education and development of the young people in a each community
    • the outcomes of schooling are measured both in terms of the attainment of pupils and the longer-term health of society
  2. It therefore follows that all those providing public education:
    • will necessarily be subject to current legislation in relation to good practice in corporate governance, employment law, diversity and equality laws, health and safety and other related laws.
    • will comply with the same framework as other maintained schools in relation to the educational legislation and guidance on for example: the admissions code, exclusions, the national curriculum, inspections, key stage tests etc.
  3. In addition providers agree to:
    • a Nolan test (or equivalent) for Trustees/Governors ensuring that the processes by which such Trustees and Governors are appointed is open, transparent and fair and that those appointed as Trustees and Governors are aware of their obligations in respect of education as set out in section 1 above
    • ensure that the local community is appropriately represented on the Governing Board/Trustees
    • implement corporate governance requirements relating to conflicts of interest in the supply of goods and services and desist from using the school to promote particular views (political or religious)
    • publish annual reports, including accounts, in line with Charity Commission guidelines.
    • report results in national tests and exams to the authority in which the school is situated
    • collaborate with other local schools and the local authority to implement educational policies that require shared actions, such as the education of ‘hard to place’ pupils, extended services 14-19 strategy, and community and arts development
    • ensure that the school estate is a resource for the wider community in agreement with other relevant bodies
    • take account of the needs of the whole area in long-term planning, such as on post-16 provision