The law on school organisation proposals in Wales is now contained in the School Organisation and Standards (Wales) Act 2013 (SOSWA 2013). This Act re-states some of the law previously set out in the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 but also made some important changes to the previous legislative regime. SOSWA 2013 provides for the introduction of a statutory code to deal with consultation and other arrangements, modelled on best practice. It also provides that in the case of schools which have fewer than 10 pupils on roll, the closure process followed will be shorter.
It remains the case that school organisation proposals are needed to open a new school, close an existing school, change the category of a school or make a regulated alteration. The proposals start off with a 42 day consultation period which is followed by formal publication of the proposals using statutory notices. The statutory notice is followed by a 28 day formal objection period. After that the proposer must publish an objection report which sets out the objections and the proposer’s responses.
Generally speaking decisions about proposals (including their appeal) are now made at local authority level. However, that is subject to the right given to key organisations to appeal a local authority’s decision up to the Welsh Ministers. The detail is contained in SOSWA 2013 and the statutory code.