The curriculum at an academy or free school
Produced in partnership with Nicholas Hancox of Nicholas Hancox Solicitors Ltd and Hayley O'Sullivan of Browne Jacobson Solicitors
The curriculum at an academy or free school

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with Nicholas Hancox of Nicholas Hancox Solicitors Ltd and Hayley O'Sullivan of Browne Jacobson Solicitors provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The curriculum at an academy or free school
  • The curriculum generally
  • The National Curriculum
  • Religious aspects of the curriculum
  • Creationism and political indoctrination
  • The Independent School Standards
  • Sex and relationships in the curriculum

FORTHCOMING CHANGE: From 1 September 2020, the Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019, SI 2019/924 come into force requiring relationship education in all primary schools, and relationship and sex education in all secondary schools in England under Chapter 4 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017 (CASWA 2017). See: LNB News 26/02/2019 50.

Note: Although the Academies Act 2010 (AcA 2010) does apply in Wales, the provisions for the creation new academies or free schools apply only in England. As such, this Practice Note applies to England only.

One of the vaunted advantages of an academy or free school over a maintained school is an element of free choice in the curriculum. The choice for the school is not entirely free, of course, but these things are relative.

The curriculum generally

AcA 2010, s 1A(1)(b) (as amended) requires an academy school or free school to satisfy the requirements of the section 78 of the Education Act 2002 (EA 2002) (which would otherwise apply only at maintained schools):

'…a balanced and broadly based curriculum which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.'

The model funding agreement for free schools usually adds