End to confusion on Academies

October 28th, 2011 by Clive Sheldon QC

A number of recent posts have highlighted the confusion surrounding the ability of local authorities to continue funding PFI contracts when a school converts to an Academy (Holly Stout, 19 September; Ed Capewell, 17 October). This confusion has held up a number of Academy conversions. One would have thought that the confusion would have been put to rest by the opinion of an eminent education silk that local authorities could continue the funding.

To put the matter beyond any doubt, however, an amendment has been tabled to the Education Bill currently progressing through Parliament. This will provide as follows:

‘In section 6 of AA 2010 (effect of Academy order), after subsection (2) insert –
(2A) Subsection (2) does not prohibit the local authority from providing financial or other assistance in respect of the academy, including by
(a) making payments in respect of some (but not all) of the
expenses of maintaining the academy,
(b) providing premises, goods or services for the academy, or
(c) making premises, goods or services available to be used for
the purposes of the academy.’

With this wrinkle out of the way, we should expect to see an increasing number of schools applying for and achieving Academy status.

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