Prior to 1 April 2009, Local Education Authorities (LEA) were the bodies responsible for the local administration of state sector education services in England and Wales.
In those parts of England that still had counties, there was one LEA for each county, for example the Cumbria LEA and the Devon LEA.
Otherwise there was one LEA in each unitary authority, metropolitan district or London borough. The Isles of Scilly also had their own LEA.
The statutory duties of LEAs are now undertaken by the director of Children's Services within each local authority district (LAD). The director’s responsibilities also include Children's Social Services (CSS).
The Children Act 2004 required every London borough, metropolitan district, top-tier local authority (county) or unitary authority in England to appoint a director of children's services.
Additionally the Education and Inspections Act 2006 includes a clause that allows for the future renaming of LEAs as local authorities in all legislation, removing the anomaly of one LAD being known as a LAD, an LEA and a children's services authority.
Following on from this legislation, during the last round of local government restructuring the then-current Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) reviewed the alignment of LEA and CSS codes. The outcome of the review was that CSS codes were replaced by LEA codes (with effect from 1 April 2009).
Although LEAs no longer exist, the coding structure has been retained by the DCSF, which became the Department for Education (DfE) on 12 May 2010. For more information, please contact DfE directly.
In Northern Ireland, local education is the responsibility of five education and library boards (Belfast, North Eastern, South Eastern, Southern and Western), which each cover one or more complete district council areas.
In Scotland education administration is the responsibility of local government (that is, the councils in each council area).