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(1)Subject to the following provisions of this section, the governing body of a foundation or voluntary school may discontinue the school by serving on the Secretary of State and the local education authority at least two years’ notice of their intention to do so.
(2)If expenditure has been incurred on the school premises (otherwise than in connection with repairs)—
(a)by the Secretary of State,
(b)by the Funding Agency for Schools,
(c)by any local education authority, or
(d)by an authority which was a local education authority within the meaning of any enactment repealed by the M1Education Act 1944 or an earlier Act,
no such notice may be served without the consent of the Secretary of State.
(3)If discontinuing the school would affect the facilities for full-time education suitable to the requirements of persons over compulsory school age who have not attained the age of 19, the governing body shall, before serving a notice under this section, consult [F1the Learning and Skills Council for England (if the school is in England) or the National Council for Education and Training for Wales (if the school is in Wales)].
(4)If, while a notice under subsection (1) is in force in respect of a foundation or voluntary school, the governing body inform the local education authority that they are unable or unwilling to carry on the school until the notice expires, the authority—
(a)may conduct the school for all or part of the unexpired period of the notice as if it were a community school, and
(b)shall be entitled to use the school premises free of charge for that purpose.
(5)While the school is being so conducted—
(a)the authority shall keep the school premises in good repair, and
(b)any interest in the premises which is held for the purposes of the school shall be deemed, for all purposes relating to the condition, occupation or use of the premises, or the making of alterations to them, to be vested in the authority.
(6)Despite the provisions of subsection (5) the governing body may use the premises, or any part of them, when not required for the purposes of the school to the same extent as if they had continued to carry on the school during the unexpired period of the notice.
(7)A notice served under subsection (1) may not be withdrawn without the consent of the local education authority.
(8)If a foundation or voluntary school is discontinued under this section, the duty of the local education authority to maintain the school as a foundation or voluntary school shall cease.
(9)Nothing in section 29 or 33 applies to any such discontinuance of a foundation or voluntary school.
(a)land occupied by a foundation or voluntary school is held by any trustees for the purposes of the school, and
(b)the termination of the school’s occupation of that land would have the result that it was not reasonably practicable for the school to continue to be conducted at its existing site,
then if the trustees (being entitled to do so) give any notice to the governing body which purports to terminate the school’s occupation of the land, any such notice shall not be effective to terminate its occupation of the land unless the requirements of subsection (11) are complied with in relation to the notice (without prejudice to any other statutory or other requirements falling to be so complied with).
(11)The requirements of this subsection are—
(a)that the period of notice must—
(i)be reasonable having regard to the length of time that would be required to discontinue the school (if the governing body chose to do so), and
(ii)in any event must not be less than two years; and
(b)that a copy of the notice must be given to the Secretary of State and the local education authority at the time when the notice is given to the governing body.
(12)Where trustees give, at the same (or substantially the same) time, notices purporting to terminate a foundation or voluntary school’s occupation of two or more pieces of land held by the trustees for the purposes of the school, then for the purpose of determining whether subsection (10)(b) applies in relation to any of those pieces of land, regard may be had to the combined effect of terminating the school’s occupation of both or all of them.
(13)If a question arises as to whether the termination of a school’s occupation of any land would have the result mentioned in subsection (10)(b) (including a question as to whether subsection (12) applies in any particular circumstances), it shall be determined by the Secretary of State.
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