HC Deb 24 July 2002 vol 389 c1341W
Mr. Brady

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to the statement of the School Standards Minister of 15 July 2002,Official Report, column 67, lines 1–2, and the statement of the former School Standards Minister of 13 December 2001, Official Report, Standing Committee G, column 157, lines 59–61, if subsection (1) (a) of section 10 of the Education Bill allows governing bodies to form a company to manage or operate a school [71732]

Mr. Miliband

[holding answer 22 July 2002]: As a matter of law, the conduct of a maintained school must be under the direction of a school's governing body. That duty is re-enacted in clause 20 of the current Education Bill. (References are to HL Bill 51 (Rev) as first printed for the Lords.) This statutory position is referred to in both lines 1 and 2 of column 67 of the Official Report for 15 July 2002 and in lines 58–59 of column 157 of the Official Report on Standing Committee G on 13 December 2001.

It would not therefore be possible for a company or any other body to "take over the running of the school", because the governing body cannot contract out the duty to conduct the school.

Nothing in the Bill means that governing bodies have greater powers to enter into contracts. By virtue of schedule 10 to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, governing bodies already have the power to enter into contracts, which may include elements of the operational management of the school.

Clause 10 (1)(a) gives groups of schools the power to form a company to deliver services to other schools. Thus, clause 10(1)(a) means that a governing body may contract with a school company on the same basis as with other bodies. However, the conduct of the school must remain under the direction of the governing body.