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Where a school is eligible for intervention there are a number of powers the local authority or the Secretary of State may use to drive school improvement. These interventions are set out in sections 63-66 of the 2006 Act in respect of local authorities and sections 67 to 69 in respect of the Secretary of State.
Section 63 enables a local authority to require a school which is eligible for intervention1 to enter into arrangements with a view to improving the performance of the school. The local authority may give the governing body a notice requiring them:
Where the school is eligible for intervention as a result of being given a performance standards and safety warning notice, this power must be exercised within a period of two months following the end of the compliance period. If the local authority fails to exercise this power within this time, it can no longer be exercised and a new warning notice must be given in order to do so.
Before the local authority can exercise this intervention power they must consult:
A consultation must be undertaken when proposals are at a formative stage and include sufficient detail to allow those consulted to give a considered response. A final decision can only be taken after consideration has been given to any representations received. There is no statutory time scale in which the consultation process is to be completed. We would expect a normal consultation process to take about 14 days, but this may vary depending on the circumstances of the case.
Section 64 enables a local authority to appoint additional governors where a school is eligible for intervention. The local authority is likely to appoint additional governors when they would like a school to be provided with additional expertise and may appoint as many additional governors as they think fit. In the case of a voluntary aided school where the local authority have exercised the power to appoint additional governors, the appropriate appointing authority in relation to that school may appoint an equal number of governors to those appointed by the local authority.
Where the school is eligible for intervention as a result of being given a performance standards and safety warning notice, this power must be exercised within a period of two months following the end of the compliance period. If the local authority fails to exercise this power within this time, a new warning notice must be given in order to do so. Where the local authority appoints additional governors there is no requirement to consult.
Section 65 of the 2006 Act enables the local authority to apply to the Secretary of State for consent to constitute the governing body as an IEB in accordance with Schedule 6 to the 2006 Act. An IEB can be used to accelerate improvement in standards and attainment and provide challenge to the leadership of the school to secure rapid improvement or where there has been a serious breakdown of working relationships within the governing body of the school.
This power may be exercised at any time a school is eligible for intervention and is not subject to the time limitation set out above in respect of other intervention powers.
Before the local authority can exercise this intervention power they must consult:
A fair consultation must be undertaken when proposals are at a formative stage and include sufficient detail to allow those consulted to give a considered response. A final decision should only be taken after consideration of any representations received. There is again no statutory timescale in which the consultation process is to be completed and it is likely that this will vary depending on the circumstances in which the IEB is required. We would expect a normal consultation process to take about 14 days, but this may vary depending on the circumstances of the case.
IEB applications should be made using the form on the Department's website and should follow the guidance for the completion of an IEB application form.
After obtaining consent in writing from the Secretary of State, the local authority must write to the governing body to give them notice that the IEB will be established (a “notice of establishment”). This notice should specify a date when the IEB will commence and will usually also give a date when the IEB will cease, but may not always.
An IEB has a right to a delegated budget. If the school’s budget has previously been withdrawn from the governing body, then the local authority must restore the budget from the date when the IEB commences its work. If a notice has been given to the normally constituted governing body specifying a date when it is proposed to withdraw the right to a delegated budget, the notice will cease to be valid from the date of commencement of the IEB.
The IEB’s main function is to secure a sound basis for future improvement in the school and this should include the promotion of high standards of educational achievement. This may include taking decisions on structures that are most likely to secure long term and sustainable improvement at the school.
The IEB should be considered as the governing body of the school and any reference in the Education Acts to a governor or foundation governor has effect as a reference to an interim executive member. During the interim period, when the governing body is constituted as an IEB, the requirements concerning the governing bodies constitution set out in the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012 do not apply.
The IEB will take on the responsibilities of a normally constituted governing body, including the management of the budget, the curriculum, staffing, pay and performance management and the appointment of the headteacher and deputy headteacher. An IEB may recommend to a local authority, or recommend that the Secretary of State give a direction to a local authority, that a school should be closed. However, the IEB cannot itself publish proposals for closure. If, following the statutory consultation and other procedures, it is agreed that the school will be closed, the IEB should continue to hold office until the implementation date of the proposal. The IEB may also seek an academy order from the Secretary of State which enables the school to become an academy. An IEB does not need to consider whether to become an academy by law. However, we would expect this to be considered in most cases where a school has had consistently low standards.
As set out in Schedule 6 to the 2006 Act the number of interim executive members must not be less than two; once the IEB has been established, further interim executive members can be appointed at any time. An IEB should be a small, focused group appointed for the full period which it is expected to take to turn the school around. Members of an IEB should be chosen on a case-by-case basis, depending on the needs of the school and existing governors may be appointed to the IEB. We expect members of an IEB to bring a fresh outlook to the governance arrangements of the school, marking a clear break from the previous management of the school. In most cases, therefore, we would not expect existing governors who are vacating office to be nominated as IEB members (although this is not prohibited by the law). LAs who are considering doing this should contact the Department to discuss the particular circumstances of the school.
The IEB may arrange for the discharge of their functions to other people as they see fit (under paragraph 11(2) of Schedule 6 to the of the 2006 Act). In this way the IEB could continue to benefit from the experience of existing governors and help engage future governors.
The local authority is able to nominate one of the members of the IEB to act as Chair.
Interim executive members may be removed in limited circumstances. This can be for incapacity or misbehaviour or where their written notice of appointment provides for termination by the appropriate authority on notice. The appropriate authority may be the local authority or the Secretary of State depending on who made the original appointment.
The local authority should produce a written notice of appointment for each member of the IEB. Copies of this notice should be sent to all other members of the IEB; the school’s existing governing body; the Secretary of State; and, in the case of foundation or voluntary schools, the diocesan or other appropriate appointing authority. A local authority or the Secretary of State may choose to pay interim executive members such remuneration and allowances as is considered appropriate.
Section 66 of the 2006 Act enables a local authority to suspend the governing body’s right to a delegated budget by giving the governing body of the school notice in writing. This applies where a maintained school is eligible for intervention and the school has a delegated budget within the meaning of Part 2 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.
A copy of the notice to suspend the right to a delegated budget must be given to the headteacher of the school and the governing body. If the local authority has appointed an IEB, during the period when the governing body is constituted as an IEB (the interim period), the LA cannot suspend the school’s right to a delegated budget.
Where a school is eligible for intervention as a result of being given a performance standards and safety warning notice, this power must be exercised within a period of two months following the end of the compliance period. If the local authority fails to exercise this power within this time, a new warning notice must be given in order to do so. There is no requirement for the local authority to consult before exercising this power.
1 Except where a maintained school is eligible for intervention under section 60A of the 2006 Act.
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