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Education Act 2002

Local education authorities

Sections 60 to 64
Section 60: Powers of Secretary of State to secure proper performance of LEA’s functions

178.The new section 497A(1) for the EA 96 enables the Secretary of State, or the NAW, to give directions in relation to all education functions, including for example those relating to early years education, rather than at present only those relating to compulsory age education. Section 497A(2A) enables the Secretary of State, or the NAW, to give a further direction when one direction comes to an end and she is not satisfied that the authority would perform the functions to an adequate standard were they to be taken back in-house.

179.Section 497A(4) as substituted enables the Secretary of State, or the NAW, to direct LEAs to take more specific action without the setting of objectives as presently required. This is in line with powers in section 15 of the Local Government Act 1999, which enable the Secretary of State, or the NAW, to take any action considered necessary or expedient to secure an authority’s compliance with its duties. Section 497A(4A) enables the Secretary of State, or the NAW, to direct that a function is to be exercised by the Secretary of State, or the NAW, or by a nominee.

Section 61: Power to secure proper performance: duty of authority where directions contemplated

180.This section inserts in the EA 96 a new section 497AA which provides that when the Secretary of State, or the NAW, is satisfied that an authority is failing to perform its statutory functions to an adequate standard, and has notified the authority of her decision to intervene, and to whom the right of access granted by this section should apply. The authority is then obliged to give full co-operation to the nominee, rather than such a duty only arising after a direction is given under section 497A.

Section 62: Power to secure proper performance: further provisions

181.Section 497B is amended to take account of the amendments to the section 497A. In addition, the new section 497B (1A) defines to whom the general rights conferred by section 497B apply. Following a direction by the Secretary of State, or the NAW, that person is the contractor or nominee of the Secretary of State or the NAW.

Section 63: Power to require LEA to obtain advisory services

182.This section enables the Secretary of State, or the NAW, to direct an LEA to involve an external partner in providing advice to the LEA or the governors of a maintained school (or both). The power to direct applies when the LEA in question maintains at least one school which requires special measures or has serious weaknesses: and in addition it appears to the Secretary of State that the LEA has not made or is unlikely to make sufficient progress in eliminating such failings in such a school or schools, or is unlikely to eliminate such failings as may be found in the future in other schools it maintains, or has a disproportionate number of such schools. External partners could be successful schools, successful LEAs, FE or HE institutions, or from the public, voluntary or private sectors.

Section 64: Provisions supplementary to section 63

183.This section gives supplementary powers to the Secretary of State, the NAW or an external partner and requires an LEA to whom a direction under section 63 is or may be given to provide assistance.

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