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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 March 2006, 16:04 GMT
Academies - a school system in legal limbo?
Primary School Classroom
BBC Radio 4's Law in Action was broadcast on Tuesday, 21 March, 2006 at 1600 GMT.

The government's Education Bill is meant to turn state schools into trust schools, modelled on Academies.

There are already about 30 Academies up and running and 30 more about to open. They are partly funded by the government and partly by outside sponsors. And that hybrid status means legal confusion.

It is not clear whether parents can, or cannot, challenge the curriculum or exclusion policies that individual academies operate, and whether they can use the Human Rights Act or judicial review to challenge school practice.

Barrister David Wolfe is telling MPs about his concerns today. He thinks that they are in a 'legal limbo'. Labour MP Barry Sheerman, who heads the Select Committee for Education and Skills, admits that he is concerned, "I think my Select Committee should look at this quite urgently and sort out what the legal status of Academies is," he says. We explain the problem.

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