Investigation reveals academies are failing to meet new legal duties

A number of multi-academy trusts (MATs) are not meeting new legal duties set out in January, according to a Schools Week investigation.

The industry publication found that just two out of 10 of the largest MATs are fully compliant with the “Baker clause,” which came into effect on 2 January 2018.

Under this legislation, all local authority-maintained schools and academies must give further education (FE) providers access to every pupil in years eight to 13 to explore approved technical qualifications and apprenticeships.

The law, proposed by Lord Kenneth Baker last year, also requires schools and academies to publish a policy statement outlining how providers can access them, as well as the rules for granting and refusing access.

In February last year, Lord Baker said the law was likely to be “met with great hostility in every school in the country”.

“I am going to write to [the academies minister] about it. It’s really a matter for the Government to chase them up,” he told Schools Week.

“We know that many schools will try to resist this, but it’s very important that it should be implemented more rigorously.”

In its investigation, Schools Week found that eight of the 10 major MATs it studied had failed to publish all information pertaining to its access policy and grants and refusal process.

Robert Halfon, chair of the parliamentary education committee, said: “I shall be writing to the minister to establish what efforts the Department for Education have made to ensure academies publish these policy statements, and what actions they intend to undertake to ensure academies up their game and comply with the law.”

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