Education Bill: the school clauses explained

Education secretary Nicky Morgan carried out a second reading of the Education and Adoption Bill in Parliament on Monday, here is a short guide to the school clauses.

Clause one adds ‘coasting’ schools into the definition of schools eligible for intervention. The clause says that schools will be considered coasting if the education secretary informs them that they are. The clause allows Nicky Morgan to define ‘coasting’ later in the process with another piece of legislation.

Clause two will give the education secretary the power to issue maintained schools with three different types of warning notice: performance, standards and safety ones. It also removes the current 15-day period currently allowed for schools to respond, giving councils or the education secretary, whoever issues the notice, to set the length of time they will have. It also removes the procedure under which governors make representations to Ofsted against a notice.

Clause three removes the same 15-day compliance period for teachers’ pay and conditions warning notices, again allowing it to be set by the notice issuer instead. It also removes governors’ ability to make representations on this issue to local councils.

Clause four gives the education secretary the power to require governors of maintained schools which are ‘eligible for intervention’ to begin the conversion process.

Clause five gives the education secretary the power to give directions as to the size and make-up of interim executive boards replacing boards of schools considered ‘eligible for intervention’. The government will be able to instruct on the size of the board, who will be appointed, the terms of their appointment and the termination of their appointment.

Clause six requires councils to inform the education secretary before requiring a school governing body to begin academy conversion, suspend a delegated budget or appoint additional governors. It also means the education secretary must inform councils when they are going to intervene. The clause requires that councils get permission from the education secretary to use powers of intervention in schools where the government has already intervened.

Clause seven places a duty on the education secretary to make academy orders for schools requiring ‘significant improvement’ or in special measures. It also gives powers, but not a duty, to make academy orders for schools which fail to comply with a warning notice or those designated as ‘coasting’.

Clause eight scraps the requirement to hold a consultation before the education secretary begins the academy conversion of a school.

Clause nine adds a consultation requirement if schools are not eligible for intervention, but requires no consultation when they are considered to be eligible. The clause requires a consultation with ‘specified bodies’ where a foundation school or voluntary school with a foundation is facing conversion

Clause 10 requires councils and governors to take ‘all reasonable steps’ towards academy conversion of eligible schools.

Clause 11 allows the education secretary to require governors or councils to take ‘specified steps’, which may include time limits, in order to facilitate the conversion of a school to an academy.

Clause 12 gives the education secretary the power to revoke an academy order if, for example, it is decided that another approach to school improvement would be preferable. It also requires ‘certain parties’ to be notified.