We know that many schools and trusts feel vulnerable in the current climate of forced academisation and school interventions, and often receive mixed messages regarding their legal position. Our lawyers make the complex simple, offering clear and strategic advice which enables governors to secure the right path to improvement for their school.
Current education policy carries an expectation that formal intervention powers are used to tackle ‘schools causing concern’.
For maintained schools, there are well-established intervention measures available to local authorities, such as issuing a warning notice or imposing an interim executive board (IEB). In addition, the Secretary of State has a range of intervention powers and, in certain circumstances, can make an academy order without a governing body’s consent. This includes where a school is graded inadequate by Ofsted or is designated as a ‘school not making necessary improvements’ under the Coasting School regulations.
For academies, both legislation and the terms of the funding agreement grant powers exercisable by the Regional Directors to take intervention steps where academies are causing concern. This includes the discretionary power to intervene in academies not making necessary improvements. The ESFA also has rights to intervene in cases of financial mismanagement or weaknesses in governance.
Our expert education lawyers have an established track record of supporting governing bodies and trust boards with responding to the full range of intervention measures.
Following an Ofsted judgement of special measures, we supported a school to resist forced academisation. When they came to us for support, we prepared a robust and well-timed letter to the DfE to demonstrate how, in light of the improvement made by the school during this period, forced academisation would be irrational to the point of being unlawful. Subsequently, the school was re-inspected and judged to be ‘good’ by Ofsted, meaning it was no longer eligible for intervention and safe from forced academisation.
Advising a primary school on responding to a warning notice issued by their local authority on the grounds that there had been a breakdown in governance at the school. We identified a number of ways in which the warning notice was flawed, and the local authority agreed to take no further action. As a result, the school did not become eligible for intervention and did not become vulnerable to further school intervention measures, such as the imposition of an IEB or an academy order.
Supporting an academy with a complaint to Ofsted following a section 5 inspection. We prepared a letter of complaint which focused on the discrepancy between the feedback and provisional gradings provided by the lead inspector and the contents of the final report following moderation, with no clear reason provided for these changes. Ofsted agreed to reinstate their original judgement and adjusted the gradings for both Teaching & Learning and Leadership & Management, leaving the academy satisfied of a fair outcome.
Advising a single academy trust on a judicial review case against the Secretary of State for Education challenging decision-making relating to the proposed re-brokerage and the chosen ‘sponsor’. During the course of proceedings, the Secretary of State agreed to revoke the termination notice.
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Browne Jacobson’s education team has been named as winner of the ‘Legal Advisors to Education Institutions’ category at the Education Investor Awards 2022 for a record sixth time.
Over 3000 young people from across the UK and Ireland took part in a virtual legal careers insight event, aimed at making the legal profession more diverse.
In this article we set out the criteria, expectations and support schools should consider if notified they fall within this new category.
The new set of Legal 500 directory rankings have been published and we are proud to once again be recognised as one of the country’s leading firms advising the Education sector.
We provide an update on the Schools Bill proposed legislation & it's impact on academy trusts.
Part 1 of the Schools Bill introduces statutory rights designed to ensure that the Secretary of State has efficient oversight and is equipped to address “instances of failure” in academy trusts.
National law firm Browne Jacobson has grown its team behind its dedicated Space + Time executive coaching programme with the addition of two more qualified coaches who will work with clients in the education sector.
Tomorrow, (Wednesday 27th October), national law firm Browne Jacobson will host its second FAIRE: virtual work experience and legal careers insight event, in partnership with Young Professionals.
The Confederation of School Trusts (CST), as the sector body for School Trusts, today releases a salary benchmarking service for executive roles in School Trusts, in conjunction with partners XpertHR, Cendex and Browne Jacobson.
Our client, Yew Tree Primary School, challenged the Secretary of State for Education’s (SSE) decision not to revoke a directive Academy Order.
The scrutiny of multi-academy trust (MAT) performance by Ofsted has recently undergone some operational changes. In this note, we comment on the revised approach and identify a number of key elements for MATs to reflect on.
A Head Teacher and her father were convicted at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for running an unregistered private school in Streatham.
Browne Jacobson has once again been delighted to work in partnership with the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and the National Governors’ Association (NGA) on the revision of a trio of popular guidance papers focusing on ‘Taking the next steps’ when ‘Considering Forming or Joining a Group of Schools’, ‘Joining a Multi-Academy Trust’ or ‘Forming a Multi-Academy Trust’.
The scrutiny of multi-academy trust performance by Ofsted has undergone some 'operational changes'.
In 2017, we wrote about Durand Academy Trust’s (“Durand”) case against Ofsted and the High Court’s decision that Ofsted’s complaints procedure was unfair for those schools judged to require special measures or have serious weaknesses.