Select Committee on Education and Skills Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by Rt Hon Ruth Kelly MP, Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills

  I would like to take this opportunity to elaborate further on some of my responses to questions raised at the Education and Skills Select Committee hearing on 19 December, as well as to provide some additional information requested. I have also, for the Committee's information, attached a copy of the Trust prospectus that was published on 6 January and the White Paper fact sheets (on local authorities and admissions) that have been published so far.[9]


  Trusts which have objects other than those in relation to a school will be charities, because we will specify that their objects must be exclusively charitable. They will be required to register with the Charity Commission. The Charity Commission will need to be satisfied that the objects of an organisation are charitable (within the meaning of the Charities Act), and, that its activities are in accordance with those objects. They would not, therefore, register a charity which had incompatible objects, or allow a charity to acquire new objects which were incompatible with its existing objects—as such a charity would not be able to achieve its objects.

  We would not wish to prevent existing charitable organisations with both educational and non-educational objects from acting as Trusts for schools. Nor would we wish to prevent Trusts from pursuing other charitable objects in addition to those relating to schools—bearing in mind that, as indicated above, any such objects would have to be compatible with their objects relating to schools. We believe it would be wrong to limit such Trusts' ability to benefit local communities more widely where they have the capacity to do so.

  If a Trust provided services to a school and generated surplus income from doing so, it would be able to put that surplus towards the school, towards any other school for which it acted as the Trust or for another of its charitable objects. It would be for the governing body of the school to decide whether to purchase services from a Trust, taking into account the extent to which those services offered value for money in comparison with the services offered by other providers. Regulations already provide that governors may not take part in decisions about the purchase of services from the bodies that appoint them: this would mean that the governors appointed by a Trust could not take part in any decision to purchase services from that Trust.


  The Department's Five Year Strategy for Children and Learners announced a package of new measures making it easier for successful schools to open a sixth form where there is a demand for good quality new sixth form provision. This includes a new 16-19 capital fund, new fast-track arrangements for deciding sixth form proposals and a presumption that proposals from high-performing specialist schools that opt for a vocational specialism will be approved by the School Organisation Committee. The "presumption" arrangements will also apply to schools, whether specialist or not, that meet the high-performing criteria and do not require additional capital resources. The Department has published full guidance on implementation of these measures which can be found at


  Parents of children with statements of SEN may express a preference for their child to attend a particular maintained school. This does not include Academies, which are independent schools. However, parents of children with a statement of SEN can make representations to the local authority for an Academy to be named in their child's statement Where parents make such representations, the local authority must take them into account when deciding where to place the child. In these circumstances the local authority will consult the Academy.

  When a local authority proposes to name the Academy in a statement of SEN made in accordance with section 324 of the Education Act 196, the Academy `shall consent to being named except where admitting the child would be incompatible with the provision of efficient education for other children and where no reasonable steps may be made to secure compatibility' (Annex 3 of the Academy funding agreement—contract between the Academy Trusts and the Secretary of State).

January 2006

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