The Association of Colleges is right to resort to legal action when defending its members from glaring government inconsistency.

This should not be viewed as a waste of AoC money, as the secretary of state must be held to account.

The DfE were rightly concerned about the destabilising effects that new smaller sixth forms have on learners and larger neighbouring providers.

The permanent secretary was clearly proud of the new criteria when explaining it to the Public Accounts Committee.

So it’s beggars belief then, that these are now being ignored by the regional schools commissioner over Abbs Cross Academy and Arts College.

If the AoC lose the judicial review on the basis of exceptional circumstances it will make a mockery of all past and future DfE rules.

It’s just a shame money on both sides of the legal argument will be spent on lawyers rather than learners.