The Schools Bill 2022: some initial observations

In a guest post, Russell Sandberg looks at the religious elements in the Schools Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech. 

The Schools Bill is one of several bills mentioned in the Queen’s Speech that will be of interest to readers of this blog. It had its First Reading in the House of Lords on 11 May 2022 and will have its Second Reading on 22 May. It is being led through the Lords by Baroness Barran.

Explanatory Notes and the text of the Bill are now available. The following provides some initial observations based on these documents. The Bill is largely about the regulation of schools. There are two aspects of the Bill that impact directly upon freedom of religion or belief: clauses 19-27 deal with the regulation of academy schools with a religious character while Part Four considers the regulation of what it calls “independent educational institutions” and extends this to deal with unofficial religious schools. The bill also deals with school funding, attendance and teacher misconduct, but the following will briefly explore the provisions on Academies and independent educational institutions. Continue reading