Education Bill


Reference: EBCC/2011/Note 20

To aid the Committee’s consideration of the Education Bill, this note provides further information on the delegated powers in clause 52 (consequential amendments: 16 to 19 Academies and alternative provision Academies) in relation to 16 to 19 Academies.

1. The Government committed in the White Paper The Importance of Teaching to 16-19 Free Schools as a key part of our goal to drive up standards for all young people, regardless of their social background.

2. Evidence from Sweden shows that the presence of a Free School in an area can drive up standards across the whole area for all young people. Charter Schools have dramatically closed the gap between the performance of students from poorer inner city areas and the performance of those from the wealthiest suburbs. This is why it is right that we expand the Academy and Free School programmes so their benefits can be felt by all pupils. Opening these programmes to new 16-19 providers is permissive and will let them use those greater freedoms to innovate to better meet the needs of their pupils.

3. Clause 51 amends section 1 of the Academies Act 2010 and provides that a person who enters into Academy arrangements may undertake to establish one of three different types of Academy: Academy schools, 16-19 Academies, and alternative provision Academies. As there will be three new types of educational institution, the Government will need to make provision for what existing legislation is to apply, or not, as appropriate to each type. How these new types of education institutions will fit into the existing legal framework is complex and detailed and so the Government will make the necessary consequential amendments by order.

4. Clause 52(2) of the Education Bill therefore gives the Secretary of State the power by order to make changes in consequence of clause 51 to any provision of any Act passed before or in the same Session as the Education Bill, and of any subordinate legislation made before the Act is passed. Such changes will be further to the consequential amendments made to the Bill in Schedule 12. It will enable the Secretary of State to determine, by order, which statutory provisions should or should not apply to different types of Academies. Previous Bills have included such provisions: for example section 265 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 gives the Secretary of State wide powers to make consequential amendments.

5. The relevant existing statutory provisions which the Secretary of State will need to consider are those relating to maintained schools, independent schools, sixth form colleges, schools generally and Academies.

6. Legislation which currently refers to "Academies" will automatically apply to all the new types of Academy. In most instances this will be right but occasionally it may not be appropriate for 16 -19 Academies because of the different nature of their provision. Similarly, 16-19 Academies will not legally be schools but we will want some schools legislation to apply to them.

7. For example, the Government would not want a 16-19 Free School to have to offer a broad and balanced curriculum when it may aim to offer a specific and tailored course that best meets the needs of local young people to enable them to progress to higher education or seek employment.

8. Equally it is important that these institutions are able to operate on a level playing field with Sixth Form Colleges and other post-16 institutions and so it may be appropriate to apply some Sixth Form College legislation. Where possible we will use the funding agreements signed with 16 to 19 Academies to allow for the changes we need. However, this will not be sufficient in some circumstances such as third party obligations. For example, it is our intention that 16-19 Academies are inspected by Ofsted in line with other post-16 institutions, such as Sixth Form Colleges. We will consider how best to do this but without this delegated power we would require further legislation in a subsequent Bill.

9. We are already making some consequential amendments in Schedule 12 but there may be more and we will provide a more detailed statement as the Bill progress through Parliament. All amendments made by order under section 52 would still be subject to scrutiny by the House with any order amending primary legislation subject to affirmative procedure with a debate in each House. In this way we will ensure that there is ample opportunity for both Houses to consider the consequentials. It is our intention to lay consequentials shortly after Royal Assent is received to allow the first 16-19 Academies to open in September 2012.

March 2011