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LocatED chief to lead review of Oak academy

The boss of the Department for Education’s property arm will conduct an “independent” review of the Oak National Academy to check the online school “remains relevant” and is “performing efficiently”.

Lara Newman, chief executive of LocatED, has been tasked by government with reviewing the quango’s “efficacy, governance, accountability and efficiency”.

In practice, this will mean checking whether Oak “remains relevant”, is “performing effectively” and that there is an “appropriate relationship” between it and ministers that allows “day-to-day operational independence”.

Lara Newman

Set up during the pandemic by a group of volunteers, Oak was turned into an arms-length public body in September 2022 with £43 million in government funding.

At the time, the DfE committed to review the organisation within two years.

LocatED is also a government quango set up in 2016 to secure sites for free schools. In recent years it has also been tasked with identifying surplus school land for sale.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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