free schools general thoughts

Free School meals implementation adds new complexity to Funding Agreements

Behind the political controversy over the Government’s policy of compulsory free school for all under 7′s lies the latest new complexity for the legal structures and the  funding agreements for academies and free schools. Funding agreements are already supplemented by freestanding obligations in legislation, such as applying the Freedom of Information Act to academies/free schools,…

Government extends requirement to teach evolution and banning of pseudoscience to future Academies

This is all from the British Humanist Association: “The Government has revised the single Academies model funding agreement to bring it in line with the Free Schools model funding agreement in preventing Academies from teaching pseudoscience and to require the teaching of evolution. The changes, which will apply to stand-alone Academies opening from today onwards,…

How have the legal structures for schools become so complicated, does it matter, and what could be done about it?

The Education Law Journal has kindly published the following article in which I reflected on how changes to the legal arrangements for schools have left us with something which can barely be described as a school ‘system’, which is storing up lots of governance problems for the future, which leaves local authorities with obligations but…

Academies told they can employ unqualified teachers

Up to now academy and free school funding agreements have required them to employ qualified teachers. The Department has now changed the model agreements so that academies and free schools created in the future will not be constrained in that way. The new model agreement now says this: “… the Academy Trust shall, in accordance…

How long is a school day? How long is a piece of string?

One of the much vaunted ‘freedoms‘ which academies ‘enjoy’ is the ability to decide on the length of the school day. Anyway, from September 2012, maintained schools will enjoy pretty much the same freedom, because the Secretary of State has revoked the old ‘Circular 7/90′ which specified minimum day lengths and the like in maintained…

SENDIST decides it cannot hear appeal by parent seeking academy place for their statemented child (UPDATED POST)

THE CONTENTS OF THIS POST HAVE NOW BEEN OVERTAKEN BY A DECISION OF THE UPPER TRIBUNAL AS DESCRIBED HERE. WHAT FOLLOWS BELOW IS THE ORIGINAL POST, UNCHANGED, IN CASE ANYONE WANTS TO SEE HOW THIS ISSUE EMERGED. ________________________________   As explained here there have been rumblings for some while about whether SENDIST would start refusing…

SEN Green Paper – what does it do for Academies?

UPDATE 3 SEPTEMBER 2012 – THIS IS NOW OVERTAKEN BY EVENTS – SEE THIS POST On 15 May 2012, the Coalition Government published its long-awaited Response to the consultation on the SEN green paper. It makes wide ranging proposals about changes to the framework of Statements of SEN  most of which raise no particular issues…

Education Funding Agency replaces Young People’s Learning Agency

I can do no better than quote the Department’s web site on this one: “In October 2010 the white paper The Importance of Teaching announced the intention, subject to legislation, to close the Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA) and set up a new Education Funding Agency (EFA) as an executive agency of the Department. The EFA…

Funding agreements to be overriden by statute

Another post describes how individual funding agreements could be amended by agreement between the Secretary of State and the Academy Trust. But, of course funding agreements could be overriden by acts of parliament. We now have the first example of this with the new regime for exclusion reviews (i.e. the loss of the right to…