National Ombudsmen
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LGO can look at complaints on school admissions about academies

There has been a change in the Ombudsman's jurisdiction to cover school admissions and permanent exclusions complaints against academies that have converted from maintained schools.

The Local Government Ombudsman can investigate complaints about school admissions appeals if a parent thinks the appeal was handled incorrectly. Previously, whilst able to investigate complaints about maintained school admissions appeals, if such a school converted to academy status, depending upon the stage reached in the investigation, the LGO could not always continue to be involved. So there was a gap in our jurisdiction.

We have been in discussion with the Department for Education and the Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA) about this gap in our jurisdiction and we are pleased to announce that a way forward has been agreed.

The LGO will be able to start or complete investigations of complaints about schools admissions appeals for all academies that have converted from maintained schools during the appeal process. This means that parents of children who have appealed for admission to a maintained school that converts to academy status have a route of redress if they believe a school admissions appeal has not been handled correctly prior to conversion.

The LGO may then submit their recommendations to the YPLA* who will, as the appropriate body with jurisdiction over academies, relay this to the academy. In the usual course of events, the YPLA, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education, will endorse the recommendations made by the LGO following their investigation into the actions of a maintained school which has converted to academy status, or into the actions of an admissions appeal panel in relation to such a school.

Schools that convert to academy status in the future will be contractually bound through the Academy Agreement to co-operate with an investigation by the LGO that relates to a complaint about events occurring before conversion in respect of school admissions and appeals and school exclusion appeals.

Complaints made direct to the YPLA will be forwarded to the LGO. Alternatively, parents can complain direct to the LGO. See the section on Making a complaint.

*Note: From 1 April 2012, YPLA will be replaced by the Education Funding Agency

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