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Education Act 2011

November 16th, 2011 by Edward Capewell

Eagle-eyed readers will doubtless have spotted that the Education Bill is now the Education Act. It received Royal Assent yesterday, 15th November 2011. Practitioners will no doubt warmly welcome a further 83 sections and 18 schedules of education legislation.

How much of it is already in force, and when the rest will come into force, is determined by section 82, to which readers should direct their attention. One provision which came into force yesterday is section 58, the late amendment designed to tidy up the confusion over local authorities’ continuing PFI payments in respect of Academies (see Clive Sheldon’s earlier post on the subject here).

The DfE has a webpage on the Act and supporting documents (including, for those who are interested in these things, the Equality Impact Assessment) here, and you can read and download a pdf copy of the Act from the legislation.gov.uk website here.

New Legislation: Update

November 3rd, 2011 by Tim Kerr QC

The Education Bill is edging closer to becoming law. It was amended at Report stage in the Lords and the provisional date for the third reading is 14 November 2011. Based on proposals in the DfE’s White Paper, The Importance of Teaching, with the higher education funding proposals coming from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (the one that seems to change its name most frequently). This is the second major legislative of the coalition following last year’s Academies Act 2010. Next year we are promised major reforms to the special needs regime following the Green Paper, Support and Aspiration: a New Approach to Special Educational Needs and Disability – a Consultation (covered in my recent paper at http://www.11kbw.com/articles/docs/EducationgreenpaperTK.pdf).

Some readers may need reminding of the Bill’s main themes:

  •  targeted free early years care for children under compulsory school age
  • changes to school discipline and restrictions on public reporting of allegations against teachers
  • abolition of five quangos: the General Teaching Council for England, the Training and Development Agency for Schools, the School Support Staff Negotiating Body, the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency and the Young Person’s Learning Agency; the Secretary of State taking over some of their functions
  • removal of some duties of governing bodies, local authorities and further education institutions, including the demise of “school improvement partners”
  • changes to the arrangements for setting up new schools and academies; amendment of the Academies Act 2010 (already) to make provision for 16 to 19 academies and “alternative provision” academies
  • a miscellany of measures on admissions, school meals, composition of governing bodies, school inspections, school finance and permitted charges.

Those thirsting for more detail may quench it at http://www.education.gov.uk/aboutdfe/departmentalinformation/educationbill/a0073748/education-bill and http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/education.html .

Education Bill

January 31st, 2011 by Edward Capewell

As readers of this blog may have seen, the government’s new Education Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons on 26th January 2011. You can view the Bill and the Explanatory Notes to it (prepared by DfE) from this page. The Bill makes amendments to the existing education law statutes (interestingly, as you can see from the Glossary in the explanatory notes, there have been, excluding the Children Act 1989, 16 education statutes in 18 years, from the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 to the Academies Act 2010. The torrent of legislation seems set to continue under the present government) and takes forward proposals in the White Paper The Importance of Teaching, published in November last year.

There has, so far, not been a lot of media coverage of the Bill, although there is a good general introduction on the BBC news website. That article includes a number of quotes from the Secretary of State which can also be read in the press release on the DfE website. It also notes that the Labour party has accused the government of “going back to the 1950s” in the Bill, although Stephen Ball in this article in the Guardian finds the Bill taking us “back to the 19th century”. The Daily Mail meanwhile focuses on the Bill’s proposals to give pre-charge anonymity to teachers facing accusations from pupils.

Away from the political controversy that the Bill will undoubtedly generate, 11KBW’s education law group will soon be hosting a seminar on the legal changes that the Bill will bring if passed. Watch this space for details.