Legal challenge results in DfE cancelling 19 academy orders
The DfE has backed down on academy orders which would have forced 19 schools to join a church MAT, following a legal challenge.
The legal action was brought by four education unions after Catholic Hallam Diocese schools were issues academy orders with their governors’ express consent.
The diocese, which covers South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, had originally sought to academise all voluntary Catholic schools in its catchment and, as a result, the DfE issued academy orders in December 2021, even though such directives are normally only handed down as a result of “inadequate” Ofsted inspections.
Head teachers and governors at the affected schools expressed shock and surprise that the orders had been issues without their consultation and the unions mounted a legal challenge, citing the fact that the governors had note voted on the matter and the orders were therefore void.
As a result, the DfE has now agreed to formally withdraw academy orders for all 19 schools.
Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the National Education Union, added: “This is a victory for common sense, and an important line in the sand.”
A spokesperson for the DfE said: “We continue to work with the Diocese of Hallam as they establish academy trusts in consultation with their schools, and will issue new academy orders in due course once formal applications are made by the relevant schools’ governing bodies.” Contact us for advice.
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