Local education authorities (LEAs) are the local councils in England and Wales that are responsible for education within their jurisdiction. The term is used to identify which council (district or county) is locally responsible for education in a system with several layers of local government. Each Local Authority has lists of its own schools and details of application procedures.
In other words, an LEA is a public board of education or other public authority within a state that maintains administrative control of public elementary or secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a state.
Following the introduction of the Children Act 2004, the functions of education and children’s social services were combined and the term "LEA" is obsolete. However, the term is still used in legislation passed since 2004 and is often used to distinguish local authorities with education functions from those without. One hundred and fifty English local authorities and all authorities in Wales have the strategic lead for education of children and young people. They have a legal duty to ensure that every child fulfils his or her educational potential. Born on December 18 1902, Local Education Authorities (LEAs) will likely have their life support switched off sometime in 2022, by which time all schools will be expected to be on course to becoming academies.
LEA teams provide a wide range of quality services to their learning places and are proud of the close partnerships that have been established with all those they work with. Some LEAs are responsible for ensuring that efficient and effective primary and secondary education services are available to meet the needs of children and young people, and support for the provision of efficient and effective youth services.
In Scotland, local authorities may review their school stock and how the location and condition of their schools meet with population patterns and educational needs. When local authorities are proposing a change in education provision, there is a statutory requirement on them to engage in a formal consultation process, in line with the requirements of the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010.
It is essential that authorities seek and achieve high standards both in the information that underpins school consultations and in the consultation documents that are published. These will be examined closely by communities, school staff and parents, and errors in details can easily undermine confidence in a proposal. When an authority is using statistics or data to support an argument it must ensure it only makes comparisons where the statistics or data is measured and presented on a like for like basis.
Other areas of difficulty can include allocating central or shared costs for the education authority to individual schools, and accounting for one off maintenance costs which occurred or are projected to occur in a single year but do not recur. Authorities are required to prepare a proposal paper to set out the detail of the relevant proposal or proposals.