asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the Department for Education and Skills Innovation Unit, in considering proposals from schools to introduce innovative changes in the school day, requires schools to consult parents before agreeing to such changes.
The Department for Education and Skills' Innovation Unit currently handles applications made under the powers to facilitate innovation set out in the Education Act 2002. Such applications have included proposals from schools to introduce innovative changes in the school day.
The Education Act 2002, Section 4, requires that if the governing body of a qualifying school, maintained by a local education authority, wishes to make an application for an order under the "Power to Innovate", they must consult that local education authority and such persons as appear to them to be appropriate. In doing so they must have regard to any guidance given by the Secretary of State which sets out advice for applicants on the issue of consultation.
In any application that involved a change to the timings of the school day, which impacts on the parental body, the department is clear that direct consultation with parents must take place.
Information on the consultation an applicant has undertaken is made available to the School Standards Minister so he can decide on whether to grant an order.