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Academies: Special Educational Needs

Volume 467: debated on Thursday 15 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will allow local authorities to direct school academies to admit pupils who have a statement of special educational needs. (164451)

Academies are required by their Funding Agreements to admit pupils who have a statement of special educational needs (SEN) in any case where the statement names1 the academy. A local authority (LA) must first consult an academy before naming it on a SEN statement, but the academy must consent unless admission of the pupil would be incompatible with the efficient education of other children, and no reasonable steps may be made to secure compatibility. In the case of a dispute between a LA and an academy, either side can ask the Secretary of State to determine whether or not the academy should be named. That determination is final, subject only to the parents’ right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

The Secretary of State also has the power, again through Funding Agreements, to direct an academy to admit a named pupil. Academies are independent schools, and we do not believe it would be appropriate for this power to pass to LAs.

1 Part 4 of a SEN statement can be used to name the school which the LA believes to be best placed to meet the needs identified in earlier parts of the statement.