Administrative Court quashes Academy Order in respect of maintained middle school due to failure to consider prejudice to ongoing local authority review of unviable three-tier school structure


Re: Somerset County Council & Secretary of State for Education & Ors [2020] EWHC 1675 (Admin)

The Administrative Court quashed an Academy Order permitting a community middle school maintained by Somerset County Council to join a Multi-Academy Trust (‘MAT’) in the midst of an on-going local authority-led review process seeking a solution to an unviable historic three-tier school system in the Crewkerne and Ilminster area. Fraser J found that the Regional Schools Commissioner had unlawfully failed to consider and properly inquire into the negative impact of her decision on the on-going review in circumstances in which the MAT’s commitment to necessary structural reforms was doubtful. There had additionally been a failure by the Commissioner to assess viability in breach of applicable policy and an unlawful failure to give reasons.

Raj Desai was involved in this case.