Judicial Review into Oak National Academy approved

Whilst it’s not directly linked to the world of MIS it is an important milestone in holding the government to account and shows the strength and commitment of our trade association in supporting our industry.

Today, Caroline Wright, Director General of BESA published the press release below.

More information can be found at: https://www.besa.org.uk/news/judicial-review-relating-to-oak-national-academy-granted-permission-to-proceed/

The Judicial Review claim relating to the Department for Education’s proposed operating model for its new arm’s length body, Oak National Academy, has been granted permission to proceed by the High Court.

Co-claimants the British Educational Suppliers Association, the Publishers Association, and the Society of Authors launched Judicial Review proceedings in November 2022. The National Education Union has also publicly supported the claim.

A spokesperson for the co-claimants said: “We welcome the High Court’s decision to grant permission for the Judicial Review claim into the Department for Education’s plans for Oak National Academy.

“A judicial review has always been a route of last resort, but as the government continues to press ahead with its plans for Oak – disregarding the concerns of authors, edtech innovators, publishers, schools, teachers, unions, and many others across the school sector – we are left with no other option to protect the autonomy of teachers, the experiences of learners, and the UK’s world-class education resources sector. The court has recognised that these concerns deserve a proper hearing.”

“The government’s current plans for Oak are an unprecedented and unevidenced intervention that risks causing irreparable damage to the school sector as we know it. It puts unnecessary strain on already stretched public funding for education – soaking up £45m of public money that could otherwise be given to schools directly. It creates a one-size-fits-all state publisher that promotes a single curriculum, controlled by the ministers of the day. No existing provider can compete fairly with this. It will undo decades of work by publishers, tech innovators and others whose expert workforce have created our existing rich range of world-leading resources for school children across the country.”

“As we have at every stage of this process, we urge the Department for Education to listen to these concerns, consult properly with stakeholders and rethink its plans for Oak National Academy.”

In the High Court Order, Rory Dunlop KC observed that: “In my judgment, the grounds are arguable. Ground 2 in particular raises an arguable point of law suitable for a substantive hearing before a full High Court Judge – i.e. whether the Curriculum Body is an economic actor.”

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