Education bill: academy trusts must ‘communicate’ school improvement plans to parents

Academy trusts will be legally required to “communicate” to parents their plans for turning around failing and coasting schools under proposed changes to the education bill.

Academies minister Lord Nash will table a series of amendments to the education and adoption bill as it goes through its report stage in the House of Lords on Wednesday.

Several of the changes are aimed at tidying up or clarifying wording, but a substantial extra clause will place a legal duty on the trusts, selected by the government to take on those schools deemed to be coasting or failing, to talk to parents about their plans.

It comes after the original incarnation of the bill was criticised for failing to include parents in the academisation process.

Lord Nash’s amendments also include the legal framework for including academies in the new coasting schools measure, which was initially only due to apply to local authority-maintained schools.

The changes will mean all new academy agreements will include a provision allowing the education secretary to terminate them should the school be placed in special measures or require “significant improvement”. They will also amend all existing agreements to include the provision.

The wording of the amendments mean academy sponsors must be issued with a termination warning notice, a document which sets out improvements required by the government within a defined time period.

Labour and Liberal Democrat peers have indicated they will support the amendments, but are also expected to table their own, which could disrupt the bill’s journey through the Lords, where the government does not have a majority.

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