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To wonder on what constitutional basis Local Authorities are doing their own thing regarding opening schools and giving Stay at Home message

(36 Posts)
cantdothisnow1 Fri 15-May-20 17:17:51

2 LA's have today announced that they are not opening schools (other than are currently open to key workers and vulnerable) and another has urged a Stay at Home message.

Does anyone, more knowledgable than me, know on what constitutional basis local authorities may make such decisions. They are not devolved like Scotland and Wales and we don't run a federal system where state governors make decisions.

Could this be the start of a new political era where regions do their own thing and central government yields less power?

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StoorieHoose Fri 15-May-20 17:20:54

They maybe know what percentage of their teaching and support staff will not be at work and have decided accordingly.

cantdothisnow1 Fri 15-May-20 17:22:06

StoorieHoose I know why they might want to do it but what I'm wondering is if they are legally entitled to do something different from the directions of Central Government?

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Greysparkles Fri 15-May-20 17:23:43

I don't believe 100% of staff could be off

They could at least offer a reduced intake/timetable for year 6, the "easiest" year group.

qweryuiop Fri 15-May-20 17:34:36

The guidance around school opening is all guidance, and therefore not mandatory, so I don't think "constitutional basis" is required, though I'm not certain on this. I imagine things will settle and changes will be made. I also believe that central government knew full well that this might happen

Millicent10 Fri 15-May-20 17:38:48

This is interesting, a lot of schools that were under council control are not academy run. How many schools are under council control these days? Admittedly my child’s nursery is (although this is a conservative majority council).

Millicent10 Fri 15-May-20 17:39:30

Now not ‘not’

Methtones Fri 15-May-20 17:40:09

Good on them.

cantdothisnow1 Fri 15-May-20 17:44:55

qweryuiop it is interesting because presumably, it being guidance, individual head teachers could determine it is impossible to be safe. I'm not sure that central government would have intended local authorities to blanket refuse to 'open'.

Millicent10 I presume therefore that private schools within the LA's in question can still follow central government guidance. Not sure about academies as they tend to follow the school holidays etc of the LA albeit that the staff are not employed directly by the LA.

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RuffleCrow Fri 15-May-20 17:47:45

Well they're the ones who have to help run local NHS services, so i guess it's their call whether they want to go along with the unofficial second-peak plans of the gov or not.

qweryuiop Fri 15-May-20 17:53:27


Yes, I see what you mean. Which authorities is it?

As far as academies go, I work at a school that is part of an academy, and the local authority would not dictate what we do, it would be the academy. But if the local authority are saying a blanket no, academies might fall in line, or they might not. It would depend on the managers of the academy and their views

cantdothisnow1 Fri 15-May-20 17:59:56

Liverpool and Rochdale so far.

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Greysparkles Fri 15-May-20 18:04:45

Has there been bad outbreaks in those areas?

ListeningQuietly Fri 15-May-20 18:12:23

Local Authorities set their own term dates
Local Authorities set their own admission systems
Local authorities decide whether to close schools in bad weather

Academy governing bodies set their own term dates
Academy governing bodies set their own admission systems
Academy governing bodies decide whether to close in bad weather

Local authorities decide on the schooling structure in their areas (infant / junior / primary/ lower / middle / grammar / high / 6th form etc)

What makes you think it should be a central government decision all of a sudden?

cantdothisnow1 Fri 15-May-20 18:16:58

Listening Quietly yes I know that they do those things.

However, this is not setting term dates or admitting or closing due to bad weather it is not providing an education setting at all when the central government says it's safe to do so. Local Authorities do not have the power to not educate as they see fit or run shorter terms (to my knowledge).

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Greysparkles Fri 15-May-20 18:18:26

Have them set a date when they aim to deem it safe? Or are they shutting permenatly

cantdothisnow1 Fri 15-May-20 18:19:51

Greysparkles I don't think so, just that it won't be 1 June.

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Selfsettling3 Fri 15-May-20 18:20:24

I don’t know but history is full of people in the wrong who said they were just following orders.

Love51 Fri 15-May-20 18:23:20

The wording was along the lines of 'some schools may start to reopen to some pupils....' so local authorities don't have to enable it.

897654321abcvrufhfgg Fri 15-May-20 18:23:36

Grey sparkles the priority order is year R then 1 then 6. If they don’t have enough space or staff then they prioritise I that order

twinnywinny14 Fri 15-May-20 18:24:44

@Greysparkles no they couldn’t because schools have to prioritise reception pupils if they can’t do all year groups

ListeningQuietly Fri 15-May-20 18:26:14

Technically around 30% of pupils are eligible to be in school already
and yet less than 1% are there
and the most vulnerable are the least likely to be there
(those at risk of domestic abuse and neglect)

Schools HAVE to be allowed to take the decision themselves based on
- the risk profile in their area
- the risk profile of their staff and pupils
- their building and facilities
it should NOT be dictated from Whitehall

Greysparkles Fri 15-May-20 18:26:36

Ah OK, I didn't realise that.
But still think they're taking the piss a bit.
If the majority of the country's schools can manage it, why can't they?

fartyface Fri 15-May-20 18:30:45

There is no constitutional basis.this is going to play out over the next few weeks and then things will start to settle. At that point las/schools /academies will start to behave in a broadly similar way.

Mistressiggi Fri 15-May-20 18:40:23

If the majority of the country's schools can manage it, why can't they?
This hasn't happened yet though, has it?

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