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Monday, 21 May 2007

The Legal Framework

A Consultation Document has been produced by the Children and Younger Adults Department of Derbyshire County Council. Entitled "Proposals for a Re-Organisation of Primary Education, Combs Infant School", it has this to say about the legal process.

The statutory procedures relating to school closures are contained within Part 2 and Schedule 2 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006, Regulations made under the Act, and statutory guidance issued to Local Education Authorities (and other relevant bodies) by the Department for Education and Skills.

Any proposal by a local education authority ("the Authority") to close a maintained school must be preceded by a process of public consultation ith all interested parties following which the Authority will determine, in the light of the responses to the proposal, whether or not to proceed with publication of formal statutory notices. If a decision is made to publish notices, there follows a statutory period for representations during which written objections or letters of support to the proposal may be sent to the Authority. If there are no objections, and the proposals are not related to other proposals, the Authority must determine [within a prescribed period] whether to implement the proposals.

If there are objections to the proposals, the Authority must consider the proposals, [within a prescribed period], and may reject them, approve them, or (subject to certain further consultation) approve them with modifications. If this is not done [within the prescribed period] the Authority must refer the proposals, and the Authority's comments on them, to an independent Adjudicator, appointed by the Secretary of State. The Authority must refer proposals to the Adjudicator in certain prescribed cases, and it must refer proposals that it has already determined to the Adjudicator, if a request is made by the Roman Catholic or Anglican Diocese.

All proposals referred to the Adjudicator will be considered afresh and his or her decision is binding on all parties.

See also "Who to Write To"

1 comment:

HB said...

I have looked into the DCC Consultation Document and wish to offer some analysis in the context of The Education Act (2005). In my opinion:

(1) DCC has given inadequate consideration to these issues in documents provided to date. Insufficient consideration has been given to the local community, and the alternatives to closure.

(2) When considering alternatives to closure, it should be remembered that there are a number of errors and inadequacies in DCC’s documentation, as recorded in the Combs Infant School Responses to DCC’s Proposed Re-organisation of Primary School Provision:

- The per-capita cost of Combs School is misleading on a number of counts.

- Incorrect statement of the number of pupils currently on roll,

- Barely acknowledged the projected number on roll is increasing !

- Incorrect statement about the number of pupils moving from Combs Infant School to Chapel Primary School,

- Assumptions about the destination school(s) for the pupils of Combs Infant School in the event of its closure,

- Unsubstantiated claims about the preference for all-through primary school establishments.

- It is also worth balancing the suggested saving of £53k against the cost of transport and the cost of developing the proposals by DCC ! The net saving, if recycled to the County Schools Budget as stated by DCC, will have a negligible impact on pupils across the county.

- DCC has given some consideration to the increase in the use of motor vehicles, and the likely effects of any such increase, however this is based on assumptions regarding the school(s) taking up the Combs pupils.

In conclusion .........

The documentation provided by DCC prior to the public consultation meeting 22-May is incomplete and contains errors. It does not fulfil the requirements of The Education Act (2005). Therefore, the consultation meeting cannot properly consider the proposals unless and until such a time as DCC’s documentation is made complete and accurate.