Grounds for prohibiting individuals from participating in school management

July 25th, 2014

The Department for Education has published the Independent Educational Provision in England (Prohibition on Participation in Management) Regulations 2014, which set out the grounds on which a person may be prohibited from participating in the management of an independent school (including a free school or academy) under section 128 of the Education and Skills Act 2008, and the related procedures.

For the details of the regime generally see here.

The grounds on which a person may be prohibited are set out by regulation 2(1):

(a) the person—

(i) has been convicted of a relevant offence;

(ii) has been given a caution in respect of a relevant offence;

(iii) is subject to a relevant finding in respect of a relevant offence; or

(iv) has engaged in relevant conduct; and

(b) because of that conviction, caution, finding or conduct, the appropriate authority considers that the person is unsuitable to take part in the management of an independent school.

Note that “relevant conduct” includes, by regulation 2(5), conduct that:

(a) is aimed at undermining the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs;

(b) has been found to be in breach of professional standards by a professional body; or

(c) is so inappropriate that, in the opinion of the appropriate authority, it makes a person unsuitable to take part in the management of an independent school.

Finally, regulation 2(6) provides that spent convictions (with certain exceptions) may be considered.

Whilst the grounds above are broad, they are similar to the grounds open to the regulators of other industries, such as the Financial Conduct Authority.  In effect, they provide a broad discretion to the Secretary of State to prohibit individuals from taking part in the management of independent schools.  The powers are brought into force on 1 September 2014.

Thomas Ogg

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