To ask the Secretary of State for Education what process must be followed by an existing academy wishing to extend its age range; and whether an academy could extend its age range beyond the age of 18.
The process to be followed by an existing academy that wishes to extend its age range is that it should first contact the Education Funding Agency (EFA) to discuss the proposal. The EFA will advise the academy to carry out a consultation with interested parties. Following that consultation the academy should submit a business case to the EFA. The EFA will analyse the business case and then make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend Michael Gove, who will approve or reject the request to extend the age range. Once he has made a decision, the EFA will inform the academy. If the request is approved, the funding agreement will be amended to reflect the change.
As with any significant change, an academy cannot extend its age range beyond 18 without the Secretary of State's permission. The main purpose of academies is to provide primary and/or secondary education. Where the funding agreement permits, an academy can provide further education upon which there are no legal restrictions relating to age. In relation to individual pupils, as with maintained schools, academies have the flexibility to allow a 19-year-old to remain on roll in order to complete a course of secondary education that began before they turned 18.