|Education Bill - continued||House of Commons|
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Clause 19: Instruments of government
77. This clause requires every maintained school to have an instrument of government. It also provides the power to establish in regulations the procedures for making, reviewing and varying the instrument of government and its required content.
78. The clause replaces Section 37 and Schedule 12 of the SSFA. In particular, regulations established under the clause will replace the requirements for making, reviewing, varying and the contents thereof of an instrument of government in Schedule 12 of the SSFA. The procedures will be similar to those in Schedule 12 of the SSFA with no change in the requirement for consulting interested parties.
Clause 20: General responsibility for conduct of school
79. This clause re-enacts section 38 of the SSFA. It sets out the governing body's responsibility for the conduct of the school, with an emphasis on promoting high standards. It also provides a power to make regulations on other matters relating to the conduct of the school. Specifically the clause provides a power for regulations to define the respective roles and responsibilities of the governing body and head teacher, to include the roles and responsibilities of LEAs.
Clause 21: Training and support of governors
80. This clause re-enacts without amendment paragraph 7 of Schedule 11 of the SSFA. It provides that the LEA must provide every governor, free of charge, with such information and training, as they consider appropriate.
Clause 22: Clerk to the governing body
81. This clause re-enacts without amendment paragraph 8 of Schedule 11 of the SSFA. It provides for regulations to make provisions in relation to the clerk of the governing body. Such regulations may include a requirement to appoint a clerk to the governing body or to its committees, the dismissal of the clerk and where the clerk fails to attend, the appointment of a member of the governing body or one of its committees to act as clerk for the purposes of that meeting.
Clauses 23 and 24: Federations of schools and supplementary provisions
82. Clause 23 gives effect to the proposal that two or more schools may federate under a single governing body and that the decision to federate should rest with the governing bodies concerned once they have complied with certain conditions and procedure. Regulations made by the Secretary of State or the NAW may, for example, establish a maximum number of schools that should be able to federate or restrict federation to schools within a certain category or within an individual LEA. Schools within a federation will continue to be treated as individual schools (i.e. that in exercising their duties governing bodies must do so for each school within a federation individually) except in prescribed circumstances.
83. The clause also establishes a power to provide in regulations requirements relating to federations, federated schools and the formation or dissolution of federations. For example, it is intended to provide for a procedure by which a school within a federation will leave a federation; this may include a requirement to involve the parents of registered pupils at the school.
84. Clause 24 provides that regulations will be able to modify those parts of the SSFA that relate to schools causing concern and financial delegation as to how they should apply to federations. Similarly it provides that the regulations may modify any enactment that relates to different categories of schools as to how those individual schools in, or the governing body of, a federation should be treated.
Clauses 25 and 26 and schedules 1 and 3: Power and limits of governing body to provide community facilities
85. These clauses enable the governing bodies of all maintained schools to provide any facilities or services which will further any charitable purpose for the benefit of their pupils, families of pupils and the wider community. This power is in addition to the governing body's general responsibility to conduct the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement at the school.
86. These clauses give governing bodies flexibility by, for example, allowing them to incur expenditure, enter into agreements and charge for any services or facilities.
87. Schedule 1 provides that the general powers of the governing body relate to the provision of community facilities as well as the governing body's core duty of provision of education.
88. The clauses place certain limits on governing bodies should they decide to exercise their power. Clause 26 provides that governing bodies' power to provide community facilities is subject to any limits or restrictions contained in the school's instrument of government and the local authority's financial scheme under section 48 of SSFA. The clauses ensure governors cannot exercise the power to provide community facilities if it interferes with the duties they are required to carry out under Education Acts and contain a power to make regulations to prohibit certain specific types of service.
89. The clauses require the governing body to consult the LEA before exercising this power, to have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State or the NAW and to have regard to any advice offered by the LEA.
Clause 27: Additional functions of governing body
90. The clause re-enacts section 39 of the SSFA. It requires governing bodies to establish a procedure to deal with complaints not covered by existing statutory requirements in relation to delivery of the National Curriculum, provision of collective worship and religious education (RE), SEN assessments, admissions and exclusions. In producing their complaints procedures governing bodies will be required to have regard to guidance that will set out a framework of principles. This replaces the existing requirement for regulations where none have been made. The provision will not apply to nursery schools.
91. The clause also makes provision for governing bodies to require pupils to attend any place outside the school for curriculum purposes. The clause also extends the requirement for the governing body and head teacher of community, community special or voluntary controlled schools to comply with LEA directions in relation to health and safety on the school premises or elsewhere when taking part in school activities to governing bodies of maintained nursery schools.
Clause 28: Governors' reports and other information
92. This clause replaces sections 42 and 43 of the SSFA. The clause places a duty on governing bodies of maintained schools to produce an annual report and provide for regulations to specify the content and other requirements including those relating to the distribution and availability of the annual report. The Government intends that such regulations will allow governing bodies to combine their annual report with their prospectus should they wish. The clause also places a requirement on the governing body to provide the LEA with the information it requires about the discharge of the governors' functions and that the head teacher is required to provide the governing body or the LEA with information.
Clause 29: Arrangements for joint discharge of functions
93. This clause provides for regulations to be made that would allow governing bodies to arrange for joint discharge of functions either through whole governing bodies or through joint committees. The clause permits those governing bodies that wish to collaborate but do not wish to federate under a single governing body, as provided for in clause 23, to have the opportunity to form joint committees or hold joint meetings.
Clause 30: Control of school premises
94. This clause replaces section 40 and Schedule 13 of the SSFA. It provides for regulations on the control of the occupation and use of school premises by governing bodies.
Clause 31: Responsibility for fixing dates of terms and holidays and times of sessions
95. This clause re-enacts section 41 of the SSFA. It sets out who is responsible for determining the dates of school terms and holidays as well as the times of school sessions and extends the provision to maintained nursery schools as they are now to have a governing body.
Clause 32: Annual parents' meeting
96. This clause requires governing bodies to hold an annual parents meeting in accordance with regulations. Such regulations will replace the requirements of section 43 of the SSFA and will therefore provide for the purpose of the meeting, the circumstances in which governing bodies may refrain from holding a meeting and the conduct of the proceedings.
Clause 33: Arrangements for government of new schools
97. This clause re-enacts, with amendments, section 44 of the SSFA. It sets out the arrangements for the governance of new schools before and shortly after they open. The clause therefore provides that where proposals for the establishment of a maintained school are approved, the LEA must make arrangement for the constitution of a temporary governing body and that it will exist until a permanent governing body has been constituted. The clause requires that a permanent governing body should be constituted after the school opening date and by a time to be specified in regulations. The regulations will allow temporary governing bodies to continue in existence until the changes introduced by the Bill come into force. The clause also provides that regulations may cover matters relating to the temporary governing body including its meetings and proceedings, payment of allowances and the transition to a permanent governing body.
Clause 34: Staffing of community, voluntary controlled, community special and maintained nursery schools
98. This clause contains provisions regarding the staffing of community, voluntary controlled, community special and maintained nursery schools. It replaces the current arrangements set out in section 54 and Schedule 16 of the SSFA, which are repealed. It provides enabling powers for the Secretary of State, or NAW, to make regulations, supplemented by statutory guidance, related to the appointment, discipline, suspension, and dismissal of staff.
99. The clause provides for LEAs to be the employer of staff in community, voluntary controlled, community special, and maintained nursery schools and for such schools to have a head teacher and enables staff to be engaged to work in these schools otherwise than under a contract of employment.
100. The clause provides for any regulations made under the clause to be replaced by Part 1 of Schedule 2 at any time when a school's delegated budget is suspended by the LEA.
Clause 35: Staffing of foundation, voluntary aided and foundation special schools
101. This clause contains provisions regarding the staffing of foundation, voluntary aided and foundation special schools. It replaces the current arrangements set out in section 55 and Schedule 17 of the SSFA, which are repealed. It provides enabling powers for the Secretary of State, or NAW, to make regulations, supplemented by statutory guidance, related to the appointment, discipline, suspension, and dismissal of staff.
102. The clause provides for governing bodies to be the main employer of staff in foundation, voluntary aided and foundation special schools, for such schools to have a head teacher and also enables staff to be engaged to work in these schools otherwise than under a contract of employment.
103. The clause provides for any regulations made under the clause to have effect subject to Part 2 of Schedule 2 at any time when a school's delegated budget is suspended by the LEA.
Schedule 2 Part 1: Effect on staffing of suspension of delegated budget: Community, voluntary controlled, community special and maintained nursery schools
104. Part 1 of this Schedule provides for particular arrangements to come into effect in place of any regulations in relation to the staffing of community, voluntary controlled, community special and maintained nursery schools, at any time when a school's delegated budget is suspended. Subject to consultation with the governing body and the arrangements for the appointment and dismissal of reserved teachers at voluntary controlled schools, the LEA may appoint, suspend and dismiss staff at the school as the authority thinks fit.
Schedule 2 Part 2: Effect on staffing of suspension of delegated budget: Foundation, voluntary aided and foundation special schools
105. Part 2 of this Schedule provides for particular arrangements to come into effect in relation to the staffing of foundation, voluntary aided and foundation special schools, at any time when a schools delegated budget is suspended. It provides for any staffing regulations under clause 35 to have effect subject to the LEA having particular rights over the school's staff, the governing body's appointment and dismissal of staff, the educational qualifications of teachers giving secular education, and the conditions of service of persons employed for the care and maintenance of the school premises.
Clause 36: Payments in respect of dismissal, etc
106. This clause re-enacts the provisions of section 57 of the SSFA dealing with payments in respect of dismissal of staff from maintained schools, including payments for dismissal and securing the resignation of staff, payments required under contract or statutory provision, and payments for premature retirement. This clause only differs from the SSFA provisions in so far as it includes an additional provision related to payments in respect of dismissal of staff employed for community purposes.
107. This additional provision requires the LEA to recover from the governing body any costs the authority has incurred arising from the premature retirement, dismissal, or in securing the resignation, of staff employed at the school for community or family services. However this subsection allows this requirement to be waived where the authority has agreed with the governors in writing that all or part of the costs will not be recovered in this way. The new parts of this clause apply even if the delegated budget is withdrawn.
108. Where the governing body are required to pay the costs relating to dismissal or premature retirement of a member of staff employed for community purposes they may not do so out of the school's budget share.
109. Where a member of staff is employed partly for the purpose of the school, say as a classroom assistant, and partly for community purposes, say supporting adult education, the costs must be apportioned between the school's budget share and the funds the school holds for expenditure on community purposes.
110. Regulations may also be made which provide for the recovery of costs in relation to the dismissal of staff employed for community purposes.
Clause 37: Interpretation of Chapter 1
111. This clause has the effect of applying to nursery schools the requirements for schools to have legally constituted governing bodies and the majority of the consequent powers, duties and responsibilities invested in those governing bodies. Currently all maintained schools are required to have governing bodies. Nursery schools are schools maintained by LEAs but are not within the definition of maintained schools in section 20(7) of the SSFA and are therefore not currently captured by this requirement.
112. It is proposed that nursery schools should have similar provisions for establishing governing bodies and making and amending instruments of government, as for maintained schools. As a consequence, nursery school governing bodies will take on the same responsibilities, powers and duties, as for maintained schools. It is not proposed to apply admissions legislation fully to nursery schools: the responsibility for making decisions about the admission of a pupil will be dealt with by regulations.
113. The governing bodies of maintained nursery schools will have power to provide community facilities and services.
Clause 38: Amendments of Part 2 of School Standards and Framework Act 1998
114. This clause introduces Schedule 3 which provides that governing body may not use the school's budget share to finance any services they provide under the new power. The financial management of community services provided by governing bodies may be subject to requirements contained in the financial schemes prepared by LEAs under section 48 of the SSFA.
115. The Schedule also inserts a new section in the SSFA to provide cover by LEAs in cases where a third party has a claim arising from the provision of community services. The LEA may recover these costs from the school. However, these costs cannot be recovered from the school's budget share.
116. Where it appears to an LEA that a governing body is not managing their expenditure on community services satisfactorily, the LEA may suspend the governing body's right to a delegated budget.
Chapter 2 - Financing of maintained schools
Determination of budgets
Clauses 39 to 41
Clauses 39 to 41: Determination of specified budgets of LEA, power of Secretary of State to set minimum schools budget and Schools Forums
117. These clauses are related to the introduction of a new system of funding LEAs and schools in England. Much of this will be accomplished under existing local government finance legislation - the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (as amended). The new system will involve separate financial assessments for expenditure on school pupils and expenditure on the central functions of LEAs. These clauses amend education finance legislation to bring it into line and set up new arrangements in connection with the new system.
118. Clause 39 introduces new definitions of the "LEA budget" for central functions and the "schools budget" for expenditure on pupils. Details will be set out in regulations. That part of the schools budget which is placed under the control of individual schools will continue to be known as the "individual schools budget". These new definitions will apply in Wales but in the context of the existing funding arrangements for LEAs and schools. The Secretary of State, or NAW, will continue to have power to set limits on the classes, descriptions and amounts of expenditure that may be deducted from the schools budget to arrive at the individual schools budget: some of these powers may be exercised by the local schools forum.
119. Clause 41 requires LEAs to establish a schools forum, to represent the views of schools on the authority's schools budget. The functions of the forum will be set out in regulations: it is intended that they will include the giving of advice on funding policy and other financial issues affecting schools, which the LEA will be obliged to take into account in setting the schools budget; consultation on the LEA's school funding formula; consultation on contracts for services provided by the local authority; and the setting of limits or conditions on some items of expenditure to be deducted from the schools budget. Provision for indemnification of members and the application of the Secretary of State's, or NAW's, default powers are modelled on those for School Organisation Committees (SOCs) in Schedule 4 to the SSFA.
120. Clause 39 requires LEAs to notify the Secretary of State, or NAW, and all the schools maintained by them, by the end of January each year, of the proposed amount of their schools budget for the following financial year. Clause 40 provides for a reserve power of intervention by the Secretary of State, or NAW. It is intended that this would be exercised in exceptional circumstances, where the Secretary of State, or NAW, considers that the schools budget proposed by the LEA is seriously inadequate. In coming to such a conclusion the Secretary of State, or NAW, would have to consider all relevant circumstances, such as an LEA's proposed schools budget compared with its school funding assessment; the performance of an LEA's schools; significant and demonstrable pressures from other services; or the degree to which the authority has failed to pass on extra funding for schools.
Accounts and financial statements
Clauses 42 and 43
Clauses 42 and 43: Accounts of maintained schools and financial statements
121. These clauses will allow requirements to be imposed as to the way maintained schools keep accounts, and report information based upon those accounts. In England, this will be implemented under the Consistent Financial Reporting (CFR) initiative for schools. This will provide a consistent minimum standard for school financial reporting, and enable all schools to compare their expenditure with that of similar schools. The Secretary of State, or NAW, will publish information reported by schools so as to facilitate financial benchmarking. The main provision will also allow requirements to be imposed as to the way in which maintained schools' resources are to be audited. In both cases the scope of the provision extends both to public funds and private funds controlled by the governing body.
122. Clause 43 makes related amendments of section 52 of the SSFA, extending the scope of that section to private funds included in the main provision. This will enable LEAs, in publishing their annual out-turn statements, to include data relating to such funds.
Chapter 3 - Admissions, exclusions and attendance
Clauses 44 to 48
123. The following clauses introduce a number of changes to the current legal framework that instructs LEAs and school governing bodies on how they should operate their school admission arrangements. Guidelines for England are set out in the School Admissions Code of Practice and the School Admission Appeals Code of Practice, in force since April 1999 and September 1999 respectively. Guidelines for Wales are set out in corresponding Codes of Practice.
Clause 44: Admission forums
124. This clause amends the SSFA by inserting a new section 85A to require LEAs, through regulations, to establish advisory bodies, to discuss and advise on local school admission issues including proposed admission arrangements. There is provision for LEAs to establish such admissions forums jointly with one of more neighbouring LEAs. This provision replaces the current guidance from the Secretary of State and in the NAW in the Codes of Practice on School Admissions that recommends voluntary bodies for this purpose.
Clause 45: Admission numbers
125. This clause, together with the relevant repeals, removes the requirement for a school to have a standard number relating to the number of pupils in an age group in which pupils are normally admitted to the school who are to be admitted in any particular school year. Section 86 (5) of the SSFA is amended so that prejudice to efficient education or the efficient use of resources may not be taken to arise (and so the duty to comply with parental preference will apply) until an admission authority has admitted up to the number of pupils it has determined to admit in the year in question. When setting admission numbers admission authorities will have to consider, amongst other factors, the current capacity of the school as determined under a new formula for assessing capacity that is being introduced.
Clause 46: Co-ordination of admission arrangements
126. This clause amends the SSFA by inserting a new section 89B to allow the making of regulations which may require LEAs to co-ordinate, in their areas, school admission arrangements as between themselves and those maintained schools which are responsible for their own admissions. The effect is that, through regulations, LEAs must attempt to negotiate agreement between all maintained schools in their area for a co-ordinated application process for local parents. Each LEA will be responsible for the administration of the co-ordinated arrangements. Regulations made under section 89B may require that all parents in an LEA's area are made an offer of a school place on the same day. Where an LEA and other admission authorities are unable to agree a scheme, the Secretary of State, or NAW, will have the power to impose one. The NAW will have the same regulation-making power in relation to Wales.
Clause 47: Admission Appeals
127. This provision amends section 94 of the SSFA to reflect the repeal of Schedule 24, relating to admission appeals, which will be replaced by new implementing regulations.
128. Admission appeal panels consider parents' appeals against the decision of an LEA or governing body (where it is the admission authority for a school) to refuse their child a place. The current provisions that govern arrangements by LEAs and schools for such appeals, and their operation, will in future be prescribed by regulations.
Clause 48: Further amendments relating to admission arrangements
129. This clause introduces Schedule 4 containing a number of other amendments to the provisions in SSFA relating to school admission arrangements, as follows.
130. The Schedule amends the definition of "appeal panel" in section 84(6) to reflect the substitution of the provisions of Schedule 24 by regulations.
131. The Schedule amends section 86 to clarify that a parent may express more than one preference for the school they wish their child to attend, to which the duty on LEAs and governing bodies under subsection (2) to comply will apply. Provision is also made to clarify that this also applies for preferences expressed for a school's sixth form.
132. The Schedule amends section 87 which removes the requirement from LEAs and school governing bodies to comply with a parent's request to admit their child if he or she has been permanently excluded from two or more schools. It clarifies that a child should not be regarded as permanently excluded from a school if, had it been practical to do so, either a governing body reviewing the head teacher's decision to exclude or an exclusion panel hearing an appeal against the governing body's refusal to direct reinstatement, would have directed that the child be reinstated.
133. The Schedule amends section 89, which sets out the procedure for determining admission arrangements annually. The main change is to provide governing bodies of community and voluntary controlled schools with the right to refer objections about proposed admissions arrangements to the Schools Adjudicator, or NAW, to the extent permitted by regulations. Admission authorities may also be required to publish their proposals in certain circumstances, such as where they intend to admit fewer pupils than the school has capacity for (as calculated under a formula), enabling groups of ten or more parents to refer an objection to the Schools Adjudicator about the proposed admission number.
134. In addition, where the admission authority is a school's governing body, regulations may provide for the duty to consult not to apply in certain circumstances (for example, where their admission arrangements have not been the subject of previous objection to the Schools Adjudicator and are unchanged).
135. The Schedule amends section 90 to clarify that an objection about proposed admission arrangements can be referred to the Schools Adjudicator, or NAW, by all those in the local area who should have been, as well as those who actually were, consulted.
136. The Schedule amends section 91 that allows foundation or voluntary aided faith schools to make admission arrangements that preserve their religious character. The amendments clarify that an objection about a faith school's proposed admission arrangements can be referred to the Schools Adjudicator, or NAW, by all those in the local area who should have been, as well as those who actually were, consulted about the proposed arrangements. The Schedule also introduces a new section 92 enabling information requirements to be placed in regulations.
137. The Schedule amends section 94 to reflect the repeal of Schedule 24. It also amends section 94 to clarify that any refusal to transfer a pupil already admitted to a secondary school into that school's sixth form carries the right of appeal. This Schedule makes consequential amendments to section 95 to reflect the repeal of Schedule 25 in relation to the making and hearing of appeals by governing bodies of community and voluntary controlled schools against an LEA's request to admit to that school a child permanently excluded from two or more schools. This allows those provisions to be made by regulations.
138. The Schedule amends section 96 and 97, which relate to the power LEAs have to direct a school to admit a child who has been refused admission to, or permanently excluded from, every other suitable school within a reasonable travelling distance of the child's home. The amendments clarify that such a direction may only be given to a school for which the LEA is not the admission authority. It also clarifies that where (following a referral) the Secretary of State, or NAW, decides that the child should be admitted to a different school for which the LEA is the admission authority, the LEA must admit the child to that school.
139. The Schedule amends section 98 to clarify which of the LEA or the governing body of a maintained school has responsibility for any decision relating to the admission of a child to a nursery class at such a school. Provision is also made for regulations to make such provision in relation to maintained nursery schools.
|© Parliamentary copyright 2001||Prepared: 26 November 2001|