The registration form for The Skinners’ School, a selective school in Kent, contains an unlawful clause, Kent Independent Education Advice has found. Two concerned parents sent KIEA a copy of the form which does not appear to be published on the school’s website.
The form asks parent(s) to allow the school governors, who include eight trustees of The Skinners’ School Academy Trust, to exclude their son or transfer him to another school if the governors decide ‘withdrawal or transfer is desirable’ following a report from the head.
Such a clause potentially allows governors to exclude or move pupils for a reason other than lawful exclusion. This could include asking a boy who was struggling academically to leave. This is illegal. Statutory guidance about exclusions makes it clear the it’s ‘unlawful to exclude for a non-disciplinary reason’ such as academic ability.
There’s no evidence that The Skinners’ School has ever used this clause. But its inclusion in a registration form could result in parents thinking they had signed away legal rights.
The form also asks parent to agree their son will attend the school ‘at least’ until the end of year 11. This appears to ask parents to rule out leaving the area or removing their son if he was unhappy until he reaches 16. Not only is the clause unenforceable, it’s unreasonable and just plain daft.
The Skinners’ School has not been inspected since 2007 which makes its outstanding judgement rather out-of-date.
UPDATE 8 June 12.25: Schools Week reports that the schools has now deleted the controversial clause.
ADDENDUM: The KIEA article also discussed possible off-rolling in Kent schools. It ends with:
‘Is there anyone interested in investigating any of these matters? Under Academy accountability, and every school mentioned in this article is an academy, the answer appears not, although Ofsted and the Regional School Commissioner are I believe, aware of much of the content of this article.’