1.The Committee has requested a memorandum on the following point:
Explain how paragraph 15(2)(b) of the Schedule is intended to work in the case of the second annual return.
2.The Department is grateful to the Committee for its question.
3.Paragraph 15(2)(b) is intended to require schools to provide the relevant figure for each of the three years prior to the date of the return. It requires a school which has not been in operation for the full three years prior to the date of its second annual return to provide figures for the years in which it did not operate. The school can comply with that obligation by providing a nil return for those years.
4.However where a school has been registered for less than three complete calendar years, there may be limited circumstances in which it will not be possible for it to comply with the requirement in paragraph 15(2)(b)(ii) because:
a) the school was in operation before it registered as an independent school; but
b) it does not have data for that period (for example because it was not recorded or because the current proprietor does not have access to it).
This is an unintended lacuna in the drafting which the Department will address by amending the regulations at the next available opportunity.
5.In the meantime, we anticipate that the situation described in paragraph 4 will apply to a very small number of schools. Schools cannot, of course, be expected to provide information that they do not have, and consequently the Department will not take action where a school does not comply with the requirement in paragraph 15(2)(b) of the Schedule because it cannot. Therefore, although regulation 7 of this instrument gives the Secretary of State the power to remove a school from the register for failing to comply with the requirements in the instrument, he will not do so in relation to a school which cannot provide numbers for all of the previous three years for the reasons set out above.
6.The Department will include reference to this issue in guidance and an explanation of how schools are expected to deal with years in which they were not operating or required to register.
Department for Education
18 September 2018
Published: 19 October 2018