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CfEE Forum round table, 13th July 2017

On managing the closure and transfer of failing schools

Schools will fail, educationally and financially, however much we all wish it were otherwise.

Any system must therefore contain robust powers for the state to step in when the state funded school fails. Education failure is often accompanied by financial failure. Indeed, school funding, particularly in the academies model, is set up to this effect. Grants payable are dependent upon pupil numbers. One would hope that schools that are failing educationally will fail to attract sufficient pupils for the schools to be financially viable. Unfortunately, what provisions there are in legislation to cover these eventualities facilitate neither efficient intervention nor clean take-overs.

Last summer Geoffrey Davies, Consultant at Stone King LLP, met with CfEE members to examin the powers available to Local Authorities in relation to maintained schools, and to the Secretary of State in relation to academies and maintained schools, to take action when things go wrong, and what currently actually happens.

Geoffrey argued that from an educational point of view, there is a fundamental problem with the DfE’s current approach to rebrokering, not least because of the time it takes. The proposal arising from this discussion were that The Secretary of State could be given power under the funding agreement to appoint a school manager to operate the academy that is failing on behalf of the academy trust. However it was also noted that the language of this intervention needs to be carefully considered when making future policy recommendations to ensure it is politically and socially palatable.

To find out more about the discussion, and to take part in similar meetings in the future, see CfEE subscription options.



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