David Wolfe

What about the Human Rights Act?

The short answer is that academies and free schools must act compatibly with human rights as set out in the Human Rights Act. The Human Rights Act 1998 requires “public authorities” to “act compatibly” with “Convention rights”. It is likely that the courts would hold academies to be caught by that: See thus YL –v-…

Do funding agreements make Academies like maintained schools?

The short answer is no. Academies created more recently have funding agreements which make them more like maintained schools than did older ones, but even then there are fundamental differences. Firstly, there a debate about whether parents/pupils can enforce a funding agreement at all. Secondly, funding agreements vary, albeit that the latest model agreement (used…

What about amendment of funding agreements?

The short answer is that funding agrements could be amended (e.g. to keep up with the requirements of the latest model agreement) but that would require the agreement of the academy and, in practice, very few (if any) seem to have been amended in that way. As seen from the copies of Funding Agreements on…

Can parents and pupils enforce a funding agreement?

The short answer is possibly (although the Department and many academies would say not). As explained in another post, academies/free schools are, in law, a type of independent school. But they are special in that, instead of there being individual contracts between each parent and the school, there is one contract, the funding agreement, between…

What about the ‘model funding agreement’?

The “model funding agreement” It appears that, when the Department first started setting up Academies and when the then Secretary of State first started signing Funding Agreements, each Funding Agreement (or at least large parts of the Agreement) was developed more or less from scratch. Although the Agreements were, to some extent, based on the…

Funding agreements vary!

The short answer is that funding agreements vary between academies so always check the particular funding agreement for the academy/free school with which you are concerned. As the Department’s “Academy Principals’ Handbook” puts it: “Most, but not all, Education Law applying to maintained schools does not apply (through explicit mention in the statute or regulations)…

What are all these different types of school?

The short answer is that people use a confusing mix of legal and non-legal terms to describe schools. In simple terms! – “maintained schools” are schools maintained by local authorities. There are several types of maintained school: community school, special school, voluntary aided school, voluntary controlled school, voluntary aided special school, voluntary controlled special school…

What does the Department say about academies/free schools?

The short answer is that what the Department says, including in legal documents, often glosses over many of the distinctions between maintained schools and academies/free schools and/or between different academies/free school in a way which can be quite misleading. Unfortunately, there seems to be a tendency to make sweeping statements about what happens in ‘schools’…

What if my question is not on this blog?

Please let me know if there is a topic you think I should cover. I am happy to put posts on here which answer FAQs of general interest and applicability (not so much specific details about particular academies/free schools let alone anything about individuals). Or add a comment of your own on an existing post.…