The Education and Adoption Bill completed its passage through Parliament on the night of 23 February. This includes new measures that allow swifter intervention where a school is coasting or failing, which will see more schools become academies.
The DfE says the measures will “speed up the transformation of our worst schools, removing bureaucracy” and that the bill sends “a clear message that this government delivers on its manifesto commitments”.
Here is what the 14 clauses mean for you and your school:
- Coasting schools (labelled so by the Regional Schools Commissioner) will be eligible for intervention. The definition of a coasting school, however, has not yet been finalised. It will be part of a second piece of legislation and will be subject to MPs’ vote.
- New powers are given to RSCs to issue schools with a performance, standards or safety warning notice. The RSC issuing the notice will also have the power to decide how much time the school is allowed to respond and improve.
- Maintained schools that have been issued with warning notices over teachers’ pay and conditions will no longer receive a 15-day window for the compliance period. A new deadline will be set by the LA instead.
- In this case, governors of maintained schools will cooperate with the RSC.
- Education secretaries are given the power to determine the size and structure of interim executive boards in coasting schools undergoing intervention.
- LAs will have to inform RSCs before they (the LA) can order governors to undertake improvement initiatives. LAs must be informed by the government when RSCs are going to intervene, but will need permission to intervene in schools where the government has already intervened.
- The academy conversion for Inadequate schools must be ordered by the Education Secretary. They can also make academy orders for schools deemed to be coasting, but this is not a mandatory duty.
- No consultation required anymore for forced academisations.
- This (point 8) adds a consultation requirement if the government is forcibly academising a school which already has a foundation behind it, such as a church school.
- LAs and governors are now required to co-operated in the event of forced academisation.
- Education secretaries will be given powers to set the actions governors will be required to take in forced academy takeover, and impose deadlines.
- Education secretaries can also revoke an academy order if other means of improvement or closure are deemed a better option.
- Academy trusts and chains taking over maintained schools are responsible for communicating their improvement plans to parents. This does not mean they will be consulted on the changes.
- Academy funding agreements must include a provision which allows education secretaries to end agreements for coasting academies.
In the next and final step, the Education and Adoption Bill will be taken to Her Majesty the Queen for royal assent. This will turn the bill into an act of Parliament and its measures will come into force as soon as possible.