Complaining about an academy/free school to the EFA

Another post describes the creation of the EFA.

The EFA is an executive agency of the Department. One of the roles it has apparently been given is:

Ensuring academy and Free School funding agreement compliance.”

As part of that role (it seems) the EFA has taken over the ‘complaint handling’ role which the YPLA had before it was abolished.

The Department’s web site puts it like this:

“The EFA carries out certain functions in relation to open academies on behalf of the Secretary of State. One of its main responsibilities is to ensure that academies comply with the Funding Agreement entered into with the Secretary of State. If any complaints or concerns arise in relation to potential or actual breaches of the terms of the Funding Agreement then the EFA will try to resolve them, if appropriate, with the academy without the need for anyone to make a formal complaint. However this depends on the nature of the evidence provided.

There will be occasions when an academy has considered a complaint in accordance with its complaints procedure, but this has failed to resolve the matter. In these circumstances the complainant can complain to the EFA and that complaint will be considered in accordance with this procedure. The Secretary of State, and the EFA that acts on his behalf in these matters, cannot review or overturn the decisions made by academies about a complaint.”

That is all then explained in this document which describes how the EFA will deal with complaints.

Notably, none of that has any statutory underpinning so almost impossible to enforce.

But, actually, it is hard to see what use it will be in real life. That is because, as above, the EFA is limited to considering whether the academy has followed its own complaints procedure. Provided the academy has followed its complaints procedure, the EFA will not, it seems, look at whether the academy was right to reject a complaint in the first place.

So the EFA provides no proper independent scrutiny of what actually goes on in academies.



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