School closure consultation

March 8th, 2016 by James Goudie QC

The School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 sets out the process for establishing, altering and discontinuing schools in Wales. R (Edwards) v Flintshire County Council [2016] EWHC 459 (Admin) was an unsuccessful judicial review challenge of a decision by the Defendant LEA to issue statutory notices under Section 48 of that Act to close a High School.  The ground of challenge was that the Council failed, in its consultation process, to comply with its obligation under Section 38(4) of the Act to act in accordance with the Welsh Ministers’ Code of School Organisation. The Act requires the Welsh Ministers to issue a code on school organisation. It may contain requirements and/or guidelines.  By Section 38(4), those who exercise functions in relation to school organisation in Wales, including local education authorities, must, when exercising those functions, act in accordance with any relevant requirements contained in the Code, and have regard to any relevant guidelines contained in it.  Section 48 requires a proposer for change to publish the proposals, consult and publish a report on the consultation, all in accordance with the published code.  In April 2013, the Welsh Ministers published a Code on School Organisation.  It came into force on 1 October 2013. Read more »