Academies Bill [HL] — Report (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 7th July 2010.

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Photo of Lord Hill of Oareford Lord Hill of Oareford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education 4:30 pm, 7th July 2010

My Lords, in essence, this group of amendments would put on the face of the legislation requirements that are covered by academy funding agreements. As we know, since their inception, academies have been regulated by funding agreements. That was thought to be appropriate for many years, including by the previous Government and we agree with them. We intend to retain the funding agreement route as the principal regulatory mechanism for academies. I know that I deviated from this principle in relation to SEN, because we recognise that there are specific concerns around that about which I wanted to send a signal. But as a matter of principle, we are keen to stick to the well established idea that these safeguards should be delivered through the funding agreement.

On Amendment 6, I hope that I can provide my noble friend Lady Walmsley with some reassurance. Funding agreements require that academies act in accordance with the law on exclusions as if the academy were a maintained school. They have to have regard to the Secretary of State's guidance on exclusions as set out in paragraph 1 of annexe D to the funding agreement. I have shared with noble Lords the new version of the exclusions annexe to the funding agreements, which continues to impose these legal requirements on academies. I am happy to put on the record that this annexe will be included in all future academy arrangements, both contractual funding agreements and grant arrangements.