top FAQs

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…

Children and Families Bill 2013 would bring academies into line on SEN

As contemplated by the draft SEN bill published last autumn academies are – it seems – to be brought into line with maintained schools when it comes to SEN: the Secretary of State today (5 February 2013) announced the Children and Families Bill 2013, which includes (with some changes) what was trailed in the draft.…

No longer a presumption that new schools will be academies?

The legal presumption that new schools should academies is in tatters after a court judgment given on 14 December 2012. On 16 November 2012, the British Humanist Association (BHA) and Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign (RISC) learnt that they had lost their legal challenge to Richmond’s decision to give the go ahead a Catholic Voluntary Aided…

Beware: once the governors of a maintained school have applied for an academy order, they may be powerless to stop its conversion into an academy

In rejecting a judicial review challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision that Downhills Primary School in Haringey should become an academy a High Court judge has reached conclusions about the consultation obligation under the Academies Act 2010 which will have consequences which many will find surprising. The judge was considering an application for permission…

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…

Why parents should support their maintained school becoming an academy.

An interesting document has appeared on the Downhills School web site this week. Downhills is currently being run by an Interim Executive Board (IEB) after the Secretary of State removed the previous governing body. In other posts, I have explained how that process sits within the legal framework being used to push through ‘forced conversions’.…

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…