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This article was first published in Lexis PSL Local Government.
There is no guidance dealing specifically with what constitutes ‘collaboration’. However, there is ample statutory provision and guidance concerning school closures, setting out the processes which must be followed prior to a school closure. This includes consultation with local schools and parents and governing bodies of local schools.
A local authority can propose the closure of all categories of maintained school, following a five-stage statutory process which is set out in the Opening and Closing local authority maintained schools guidance.
The governing body of a voluntary, foundation or foundation special school may also publish proposals to close its own school following the statutory process. Alternatively it may give a least two years notice of its intention to close the school to the Secretary of State for Education and the local authority.
The decision maker (ie the local authority/or governing body of a voluntary aided school) should be satisfied that there is sufficient capacity to accommodate displaced pupils in the area, taking into account the overall quality of provision, the likely supply and future demand for places. The decision maker should consider the popularity with parents of the schools in which spare capacity exists and evidence of parents’ aspirations for those schools.
Schedule 2 of the Establishment and Discontinuance Regulations prescribes the information that must be included in a proposal to close a school.
There is a presumption against the closure of rural schools. EIA 2006, s16(1) sets out those to be consulted.
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