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New law imminent to tackle performance of RI schools

15 May 2015

As the dust begins to settle on the General Election result, the Government is wasting no time in implementing its plans to “force coasting schools to accept new leadership”. The Conservatives remain committed to that new leadership coming via academy sponsorship.

Currently, the Academies Act 2010 enables the Secretary of State to impose an academy order on a school which is graded inadequate by Ofsted or has become “eligible for intervention” following the service of a warning notice. In line with its manifesto pledge, the Government will now introduce new legislation to extend this power to cover schools judged by Ofsted as requiring improvement (RI).

The new powers are set to cause waves amongst school leaders and unions who will argue, amongst other things, that academy status is not the only or best way to secure improvement. The Government has indicated that it will consider what other plans a school may have to improve rapidly. However, once legislation is in place, long-standing RI schools looking to resist academy sponsorship will need to fight hard and rely on public law principles to challenge such intervention.

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