2011 09 Education

Saturday 1 October 2011

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Little by way of case law development in education law this month.

But it is interesting to note the Government's responses to various challenges to the way it was dealing with the budget cuts and savings in education law.

On 19th July 2011, Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education made various announcements on various education funding topics.

In response to the controversial cuts to the Building Schools for the Future project (see litigation in R (Luton Borough Council & others) v Secretary of State for Education [2011] EWHC 217 (Admin)), the Secretary of State announced that there will also be a new (privately financed) school rebuilding programme, targeting those schools in the worst condition. Those applications can be submitted in October. There will be a paring down of school building regulations (as is happening in other areas of law) so as to cut down on perceived unnecessary costs and red tape.

What does this mean for the local authorities which brought judicial review proceedings against the Secretary of State? He said in a statement to Parliament that:

Some of those local authority areas that had experienced the termination of their BSF projects asked for a judicial review of my Department’s decisions. In February, Mr Justice Holman found in favour of the Department on the substantive matters in dispute, but he found against me on procedural grounds and asked me to look again at the decision in six local authorities. He stressed that the decision to restore all, some or none of the projects was a matter for me. Over the past few months, Ministers and officials have listened carefully to the case made by the six local authorities and I am very grateful to them for the timely and constructive way in which they have presented their case. I have today written to those authorities to let them know that I am minded to indemnify them for contractual liabilities resulting from the stage their projects had reached but I am not minded to restore their specific BSF projects. They now have a further opportunity to make representations to me before I take a final decision.

So not so much of a win for the local authorities as ultimately those projects will be cut after all.

See the rest of what Michael Gove had to say about education funding here.


In the cross-over area with children's rights law, the new duty under s23CA, Children Act 1989 clarifies the confusion over how the leaving care duty owed to former relevant children may in certain circumstances extend beyond the age of 21, S23C(7), Children Act 1989 has always suggested that if the young adult care leaver remains in education or his / her pathway plan specifies a programme of education which would take him / her beyond the age of 21 (see Birara v Hounslow LBC [2010] EWHC 2133 (Admin)), they remain within the former relevant child regime. S23CA, Children Act 1989 (which came into force on 1st April 2011) extends that so that if a young adult who was until 21, a former relevant child, expresses a wish to embark a programme of education during the period between when he / she is 21- 24 (inclusive), if this is informed to the local authority, that young adult would effectively be put back into the former relevant child leaving care regime.

This new duty is brought in by the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 (a pre-Coalition government piece of legislation which passed with little opposition) and strengthens the ongoing duties owed to young adults who were formerly in care (by a care order or voluntarily) and acknowledges the long process young people take to transition into adulthood.

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