Changes to School Provision

Making changes to provision in local authority maintained schools, including school closures, enlargements, changes of age range, and the addition or removal of and SEN provision, is a legal process set out in statutes and regulations. These are set out in the Education and Inspections Act 2006, The School Organisation (Prescribed Alterations to Maintained Schools) (England) Regulations 2013 and The School Organisation (Establishment and Discontinuance of Schools) Regulations 2013. The DFE also publish statutory guidance about making organisation changes to local authority maintained schools, including school closure: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-organisation-maintained-schools

 

There is separate DfE guidance for academy trusts planning to make organisational changes or close an academy by mutual agreement with the Secretary of State:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-significant-changes-to-an-existing-academy

 

For local authority maintained schools, some proposals are published by the County Council, and some by the school governing body. This depends on the category of school and the nature of the change proposed. The process and timescales are set out below.

 Although there is no longer a prescribed 'pre-publication' consultation period for prescribed alterations, there is a strong expectation on schools and LAs to consult interested parties in developing their proposal prior to publication as part of their duty under public law to act rationally and take into account all relevant considerations.

For School Closure proposals a six week consultation period will usually be observed prior to the publication of statutory proposals.

Decision-making

The County Council's Executive has agreed a model for making decisions on school organisation. School organisation decisions, for which the decision-maker is the Local Authority, will be taken by the County Council's Executive, or if there are no objections to the statutory notice, the decision is delegated to the Executive Member for Schools at one of their regular meetings with the Corporate Director - CYPS.

Proposals Published by the County Council

Proposals timetable

Steps

Timescale

Executive Member gives approval to consult

 

Consultation period

Consultation document sent to

  • parents, pupils, staff and governors of school(s) concerned,
  • Unions and Professional Associations,
  • local county councillors,
  • local district and parish councils,
  • MP,
  • Diocese,
  • neighbouring local authorities,
  • other stakeholders.

Public meetings may be held.

Executive meets to consider responses to consultation and decide whether to publish statutory proposals

Usually six weeks during term time

Publication of proposals

The County Council's Executive authorises the publication of Statutory Notices in local newspaper and at school entrances. Copies of the complete proposal are sent to:

  • School governing bodies
  • Secretary of State
 

Representations

Notices provide four weeks for written representations to be made to the Corporate Director - CYPS

four weeks

Decision

Executive or Executive Member meets to consider representations to statutory proposals

Within two months of the closing date of the statutory notice

Implementation of proposals