December 2016

NEWS AND GUIDANCE

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News and guidance

In the news

ASCL has been quoted widely in the media over the recent period on a range of issues. Expand

ASCL has been quoted widely in the media over the recent period on a range of issues.

A survey by ASCL about the impact of teacher shortages was reported in a front-page article in secondary school magazine SecEd, and in an article on the TES website. ASCL commented on a funding impact survey published by the Sixth Form Colleges Association. We said the level of funding provided by the government to the post-16 sector was inadequate and the situation was dire. Our comment was reported in TES. We also commented on the government’s decision to scrap the Education for All Bill and to introduce a new Technical and Further Education Bill. Our comment was reported in the Daily Telegraph.

ASCL was quoted in a BBC online article about calls for a post-Brexit strategy to safeguard language teaching. We supported the recommendations of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages.

ASCL Interim General Secretary Malcolm Trobe took part in a television interview on BBC Look North over new figures showing a rise in the number of fixed-term exclusions. Malcolm made the point that real-terms funding cuts were having an impact on the amount of individual behavioural support schools are able to offer. The Guardian Teacher Network published a feature which focused on the crisis in school funding entitled Cramped classes and staff cuts: school budgets pushed to breaking point, in which Malcolm was also quoted.

He was also quoted in a BBC News Online report over the announcement of “new opportunity areas” by Education Secretary Justine Greening at the Conservative Party Conference.

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ASCL Influence

Here is just a small selection of the meetings and lobbying activity that senior ASCL officers have been involved with on your behalf and, in particular, we have highlighted areas where ASCL has had a direct influence on policy. Expand

Here is just a small selection of the meetings and lobbying activity that senior ASCL officers have been involved with on your behalf and, in particular, we have highlighted areas where ASCL has had a direct influence on policy.

Government scraps plan for Year 7 resits

As members will have seen, the government has decided not to go ahead with its highly contentious plan to introduce statutory maths and reading resits in Year 7. It was one of several important announcements on primary assessment made in a written statement by Education Secretary Justine Greening to Parliament on 19 October 2016. A full summary can be found at www.ascl.org.uk/primaryyear7assessment

The Secretary of State’s decision not to introduce Year 7 resits follows intensive lobbying by ASCL. We have made known at the highest levels of government, including ministers, our grave concerns about the introduction of ‘resit’ tests. These include:

the potential impact on children’s mental wellbeing and perceptions of themselves at a vulnerable stage in their lives – that is, the potential to reinforce a sense of failure by singling them out

the potential to distort the Year 7 curriculum – for some of the most disadvantaged children in schools serving challenging communities to be denied the opportunity to access the full, broad curriculum in Year 7

Our position is that school leaders should decide the nature of internal assessment. Schools will be using testing in Year 7 for formative reasons. ASCL does not oppose tests and assessment, but we have very actively opposed the resit methodology for the reasons cited above.

ASCL Primary and Governance Specialist Julie McCulloch, along with Interim General Secretary Malcolm Trobe and Director of Policy Leora Cruddas, have been working relentlessly with the DfE, the Standards and Testing Agency, senior policy makers and ministers to find a way forward. We very much welcome the Education Secretary’s decision. She has clearly listened to concerns and suggestions from the profession and responded with highly constructive proposals.

Meeting with schools minister

ASCL President Sian Carr and Interim General Secretary Malcolm Trobe met with Nick Gibb, Minister for School Standards, where they pressed the government to publish its response to the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) consultation. It has been almost a year since the consultation closed. They also discussed phase 2 of the National Funding Formula consultation and the position of schools who are severely affected by the delay in implementing this long-awaited policy. Malcolm and Sian also raised the urgent need for a comprehensive communications strategy to manage the impact of qualification reform on results next summer.

Malcolm met with Sinead O’Sullivan, National College for Teaching and Leadership’s (NCTL’s) Director of Programme Delivery, to take forward a strategy for managing teacher supply. ASCL’s position is that this is now urgent if we are to recruit, retain and deploy sufficient numbers of teachers, given the current crisis in teacher supply.

Conservative Party Conference

Malcolm Trobe represented the association at the Conservative Party Conference. He was present at five well-attended educational fringe meetings and a roundtable event. Malcolm was on the panel at ASCL’s own fringe meeting together with Schools Minister Nick Gibb, Becky Allen from Education Datalab and Jonathan Simons from Policy Exchange.

The topic of ‘the importance of education in driving social mobility’ generated a great deal of discussion and allowed Malcolm to state clearly ASCL’s position that there should be no increase in the amount of selection in schools. He described the proposals as a “dangerous distraction” and said the government should focus on the important priorities for schools, with teacher supply and a sufficient amount of funding for schools at the top of the list.

Meeting with Prime Minister’s office

Malcolm together with Sian and Leora met with Will Tanner, Deputy Policy Director in the Prime Minister’s office. They stressed the need for a co-ordinated strategy for teacher supply and offered to work with ministers and the DfE to develop such a strategy. They pushed hard on the impact of the delay in the National Funding Formula and urged Number 10 to work with the Treasury to find funding for schools worst hit by this delay.

They also discussed the impact of qualification reform on results next year and recommended that the government puts in place a communications strategy that supports parents, employers, governing boards and the wider public to understand the implications of the changes.

Funding

Malcolm met Tony Foot, Director of School Funding at the DfE, to discuss progress on the National Funding Formula and the second stage of the consultation. He was able to restate the urgency of the consultation being released and also the need to have some financial support for those schools that are in the greatest financial difficulty in 2017/18.

Inspection and accountability

Malcolm Trobe and Leora met with Amanda Spielman, HMCI designate, to discuss the ASCL policies on inspection and accountability. They took the opportunity to explore a number of issues with her and this will be followed up by a further meeting or two before she takes up post in January.

DfE Programme of Talks

Malcolm and Deputy Director of Policy, Duncan Baldwin, attended the monthly DfE Programme of Talks meeting, which Nick Gibb attended for part of the time. The topics covered included the government’s consultation Schools that Work for Everyone. ASCL’s position and the views of the teacher associations were very clearly and strongly stated to the minister.

Other matters that were discussed included the school improvement strategy being developed by the DfE/ NCTL, several issues around Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), including funding, and a range of matters around teacher and school leader workload.

Education Bill

Malcolm, Leora and Julie met with Lord Watson of Invergowrie for a preliminary meeting, as he will be leading for the Labour Party in the House of Lords on the upcoming Education Bill.

They were able to explore a range of issues set out in the ASCL Blueprint and the issues emerging from the recent consultation document. They were again able to give him a clear statement of the ASCL position on issues around selection.

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Update from ASCL Council

At its meeting in Sheffield in October, ASCL Council debated the government’s consultation document Schools that Work for Everyone ( Expand

At its meeting in Sheffield in October, ASCL Council debated the government’s consultation document Schools that Work for Everyone (http://tinyurl.com/z6yjn62), which proposes increasing selection in schools in England, requiring universities and independent schools to support schools in the state sector and changing the admissions rules for faith-based free schools.

Council agreed the following position statement:

  • ASCL wants all young people to succeed in order to realise their full potential and to create a workforce with the capacity and skills to enable the UK to thrive in a global economy. We welcome the contribution that all types of schools, colleges and universities can and do make to this through collaboration and partnership.
  • The evidence we have seen does not support the premise that the further expansion of selection will improve education for the majority of young people. The evidence indicates that it will have a damaging impact on the life chances of the majority who do not attend a selective school.
  • The expansion of selection is a distraction to the profession’s efforts to ensure that the education system works for everyone.
  • The best way to deliver a good school place for every child is to ensure that existing schools and colleges have sufficient funding and access to a ready supply of high-quality teachers and leaders.

The government’s consultation runs until 12 December 2016 and ASCL will be submitting a full response in due course.

ASCL Council also agreed position statements on a number of other issues, including on EBacc, funding, pay and conditions, and qualification reform. Please see all of our position statements online at www.ascl.org.uk/position-statements

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Schools take on the fight for fair funding

ASCL is pressing the case for transitional funding for poorly funded schools following the government’s decision to delay the implementation of the new funding formula to 2018–19. Expand

ASCL is pressing the case for transitional funding for poorly funded schools following the government’s decision to delay the implementation of the new funding formula to 2018–19. Headteachers in West Sussex have powerfully highlighted the plight of schools in this position and the urgency of the situation with a high-profile campaign.

West Sussex is towards the bottom of the list in terms of the funding it receives – it is 151st out of 154. Now, a group of headteachers known as the West Sussex Secondary Headteachers’ Executive is running a campaign called ‘Worth Less?’ in partnership with all local secondary, primary and special schools.

So far, their efforts have included sending out consistent messages to parents on the funding situation, undertaking several newspaper interviews, making an appearance on ITV’s Good Morning Britain and delivering a petition directly to Number 10 Downing Street signed by parents, teachers and students.

The Chair of West Sussex Secondary Headteachers’ Association, Peter Woodman, who is Headteacher of The Weald School, said: “If West Sussex was funded at national averages we would receive another £44 million. We are asking for half of this, £20 million, to get through next year. We have the whole community supporting us including local MPs, our local authority, as well as the people of West Sussex.

“We simply cannot continue to provide an education service without taking drastic action to balance budgets. We may even have to review opening hours, introduce larger class sizes and reduce options at KS4 and 5. All of these things will damage the education of our students and we are trying our hardest to make sure that this does not happen.”

Malcolm Trobe, ASCL Interim General Secretary, said: “The campaign by the West Sussex heads is helping to raise the profile of this critical issue, and ASCL will continue to vigorously press the government over the need for urgent action.”

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New vacancy advertising service from ASCL

ASCL’s Leadership Appointment Service is evolving. Expand

ASCL’s Leadership Appointment Service is evolving. In addition to our high-quality cost-effective appointment service, we can now give even greater exposure to your leadership vacancies by advertising them to all of our members. Through both our weekly email newsletter and our website, your vacancies will have a reach of more than 18,500 school and college leaders. In addition, you can choose from a package of either one, two or three weeks of advertising.

Our Leadership Appointment Service also offers psychometric testing as an option to ensure further that you get the right candidate. This adds further value to the considerable expertise of our team of consultants and in turn gives governors an unparalleled support service when appointing senior leaders such as executive headteachers, headteachers and business leaders.

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New school improvement service

ASCL in partnership with the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education ( Expand

ASCL in partnership with the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE) is now able to offer a new service that could help schools to accelerate their improvement progress significantly.

The service, Skein Momentum, builds capacity and provides an expert, evidence-based diagnostic and development planning programme that gets underneath barriers to progress. It is specially designed for schools where progress may have stalled and where there is a desire to employ an innovative approach to fast-track progress to gain, or regain, momentum.

Skein Momentum works for primary and secondary schools and is especially useful for small to medium multi-academy trusts (MATs).

To discover more about how Skein Momentum can help your school, visit www.ascl.org.uk/skein-momentum

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Guidance on school uniform

The DfE published non-statutory guidance in September 2013 relating to best practice on developing school uniform policy ( Expand

The DfE published non-statutory guidance in September 2013 relating to best practice on developing school uniform policy (http://tinyurl.com/hgn6s6t). There is no legislation in place that deals specifically with school uniform or other aspects of appearance, however, the DfE expects schools and colleges to take full account of this guidance. The guidance is relevant to school leaders, school staff and governing bodies in all maintained schools and academies, and local authorities.

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Teacher recruitment crisis hits GCSE performance

More than half of school leaders in an ASCL survey say that teacher shortages are so severe they have had an impact on the performance of pupils in their GCSEs. Expand

More than half of school leaders in an ASCL survey say that teacher shortages are so severe they have had an impact on the performance of pupils in their GCSEs.

Nearly all those who took part in the survey reported difficulties in recruiting teachers. A total of 80% of the 433 respondents – who are school leaders in English secondary schools – said the situation was worse or significantly worse than 12 months ago. They were asked if the recruitment difficulties they were experiencing had affected the education they were able to deliver to pupils.

  • 51% said that the situation has affected performance in GCSEs.
  • 23% said it had affected performance in A levels/AS levels. The survey also found that:
  • 73% have had to use supply teachers to fill vacancies, rather than as short-term cover for absences such as illness.
  • 71% have had to use non-specialists – those without a degree in the relevant subject – to teach classes.
  • 58% have had to offer enhanced salaries or other financial incentives to recruit teachers – at a time of severe funding pressures on schools.
  • 27% are no longer able to provide courses in some subjects, such as design & technology, music, and modern foreign languages.

The survey was conducted to provide evidence to the Migration Advisory Committee about the need to place teaching on the shortage occupation list, which makes it easier for schools to recruit from Englishspeaking countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

Currently, the teaching subjects on the shortage occupation list are mathematics, physics and chemistry. ASCL believes that teacher shortages are now so serious that the list needs to be extended to cover teaching in general. The survey found that 41% of respondents had recruited teachers from outside the EEA.

Interim General Secretary Malcolm Trobe said: “Teaching shortages are widespread across many subjects and the situation is having a direct and detrimental impact on the education schools are able to provide to young people.

“School leaders and teachers are doing a fantastic job in extremely difficult circumstances and they do everything they can to mitigate the effect on pupils. Schools cannot, however, produce teachers out of thin air.

“Making it easier to recruit teachers from overseas will not solve the underlying problem, but it at least gives school leaders another option in dealing with the immediate crisis. The government must get to grips with tackling this issue and we would be very willing to work with them on developing a strategy.”

One secondary school headteacher in the Yorkshire and Humber region said: “For too long now we have had to creatively timetable our curriculum with inexperienced and non-specialist staff leading classes in core curriculum areas. The lack of a national strategic approach to recruiting new teachers is now having a massive impact on student outcomes and is a ‘ticking time-bomb’ that remains largely ignored and unaddressed.”

Another secondary head in North West England said: “We have repeatedly tried to recruit maths and English staff, placing ever bigger incentives on to the posts to attract candidates, which reduces expenditure elsewhere. Despite that, we have started the year with non-specialists in some classrooms as there is simply no one available to employ. We are a solidly good school in a rural market town so I worry what the situation must be like for recruiting into schools in more challenging circumstances.”

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Academy conversion costs

Schools considering academy conversion should be aware of a sharp growth in the number of local authorities looking to recoup their costs for fulfilling their part in the process from schools. Expand

Schools considering academy conversion should be aware of a sharp growth in the number of local authorities looking to recoup their costs for fulfilling their part in the process from schools.

While a small number of local authorities have always looked for their costs to be met, the majority of local authorities covered these expenses themselves. However, we are aware of some local authorities that have changed their position in the last three months. The contributions requested range from £2,000 to £6,000 (but can be high as £10,000 in some instances) and cover the expenses incurred in actions such as negotiating the land transfers and the commercial transfer agreements, together with other administrative responsibilities.

Schools currently receive a grant of £25,000 for professional charges; it is questionable whether it is the DfE’s intention that this should be used to cover the local authority’s expenses.

As schools are under a duty to ensure that public funds are spent appropriately, schools should always be robust with local authorities on the appropriateness and scope of the charges. It is therefore important that schools look to control the level of contribution as much as they can by ensuring that the fees are capped from the offset. They should also ensure that the fees charged are tied to stringent service levels to ensure that the project is delivered on time and is not subject to avoidable delays.

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A further step towards coasting schools

The concept of coasting schools has moved a step further in recent weeks following the Education and Adoption Act 2016 ( Expand

The concept of coasting schools has moved a step further in recent weeks following the Education and Adoption Act 2016 (Commencement No.2) Regulations 2016 being made.

The Regulations bring into force (with effect from 5 September) the Secretary of State’s power to define coasting in regulations. As yet, the regulations, which actually define coasting, have not been made but we should expect to see these shortly now that the relevant provisions of the Education and Adoption Act have come into force.

By way of reminder, designation as coasting will result in a maintained school becoming eligible for intervention, thereby opening up a range of formal intervention options to the local authority and regional schools commissioner. In the case of a coasting academy, the regional schools commissioner will be in touch to suggest specified action within a prescribed timeframe and the ultimate outcome could be transfer to a different academy trust.

In the meantime, although no school can currently be legally designated as coasting, we know that, for secondary schools, the level set against the new Progress 8 measure will be relevant. The DfE’s guide on Progress 8 and Attainment 8 measures in 2016, 2017 and 2018 (published in September 2016), details the new secondary school accountability system implemented with effect from this year. The guide explains how the measures will be calculated in 2016 and the changes that will apply in 2017 and 2018. See the guidance online http://tinyurl.com/o8trck4

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Social media and email: protecting your professional reputation

Your professional reputation is part of your current and future career, and therefore managing your online reputation is essential. Expand

Your professional reputation is part of your current and future career, and therefore managing your online reputation is essential. The open nature of the internet and social networking means that everyone – including senior leaders – should take active steps to protect themselves and their school or college by taking simple precautions.

We have published an updated guidance paper (www.ascl.org.uk/socialnetworkmedia) that covers areas including protecting your professional reputation, privacy settings and password security, managing content and reporting abuse.

The guidance is relevant to all staff in schools and colleges. It offers information and guidance when considering the safeguarding of staff in their use of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, both at school and personally.

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Roles and Teachers’ Pensions eligibility

With the growth of multi-academy trusts ( Expand

With the growth of multi-academy trusts (MATs) and newly emerging senior roles within education, there has been some confusion regarding teachers who are in CEO or executive principal (EP) roles and if they will remain eligible members of Teachers’ Pensions (TP).

TP has issued advice that helps to clarify the above and provides guidance on ways of ensuring that we can justify why a specific role should/shouldn’t remain an eligible member.

It advises that some CEO/ EP roles may remain eligible members of TP provided that they continue to meet the definition of a ‘teacher’ and ‘specified work’ under Regulation 6 of the Education (Specified Work) (England) Regulations 2012, which is also the same definition as ‘Teaching Work’ in Regulation 3 of the Teachers’ Disciplinary (England) Regulations 2012.

The specified work referred to in the Specified Work Regulations is defined as:

  • (i) Planning and preparing lessons and courses for pupils.
  • (ii) Delivering lessons to pupils.
  • (iii) Assessing the development, progress and attainment of pupils.
  • (iv) Reporting on the development, progress and attainment of pupils.

TP states that while CEOs/ EPs may not be involved in planning and delivering lessons or front-line teaching, they may be actively engaged in the academic side of the school and report to other board members in respect of items (iii) and (iv) above, that is, assessing and reporting on the development and progress of students. On this basis, employers may therefore consider their role to be within the scope of the Teachers’ Pensions Scheme.

TP advises that it is for each employer to determine the eligibility of the individual to membership of the TP scheme in accordance with the regulations. However, as a starting point, the person must undertake some academic and teaching roles. TP further confirms that any CEO/ EP occupying a financial or administrative role would not be eligible for membership.

One of the ways TP suggests to help determine whether the post-holder meets the eligibility requirements, is in relation to their contract of employment and job description. TP would expect employers to satisfy themselves that the detail of the role has been accurately captured within these documents and that the employer could defend their decision on membership of the TP Scheme, if challenged.

It is therefore important that contracts of employment and job descriptions are clear on the duties and responsibilities of each individual role. If the CEO/EP will have any of the above stated ‘specified work’ or ‘teaching work’ as part of their duties, you should make it explicit within these documents.

It is important that these decisions are considered and recorded carefully because if an individual is incorrectly placed into membership of the scheme, TP states that action will be taken to correct the position and the contributions refunded.

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What schools must publish on their websites

All maintained schools must have a school website and must publish specific information on it. Expand

What maintained schools must publish online

All maintained schools must have a school website and must publish specific information on it. For the latest guidance on what maintained schools must publish online to comply with The School Information (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016, see the DfEs guidance here: http://tinyurl.com/o36m9w9

What academies, free schools, studio schools, university technical colleges (UTCs), sixth form colleges and FE colleges must publish online:

If your school or college comes under the headings listed above, you are probably required to have a website and will be required to publish specific information on it. To find out precisely what information you must publish on your website you need to check your funding agreement. The DfE publishes guidance (http://tinyurl.com/ztoe8ka) giving an overview of the information that they recommend should be published on your website.

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Schools having to do more work with fewer resources

The Education Policy Institute has published a report entitled Teacher Workload and Professional Development in England’s Secondary Schools: Expand

The Education Policy Institute has published a report entitled Teacher Workload and Professional Development in England’s Secondary Schools: Insights from TALIS (http://epi.org.uk/report/teacherworkload).

Commenting on the report, Malcolm Trobe, Interim General Secretary, said: “The main reasons for excessive teacher workload are the huge pressures on schools to meet numerous targets and manage a relentless series of reforms. This problem has to be addressed by all parts of the education system. School leaders are doing their utmost to manage and reduce the burden on their staff, and ASCL has produced guidance papers and run courses to this end.

“The problem is being made considerably worse by severe teacher shortages and real-term cuts in funding. This is at a time of huge change with major reforms in the primary curriculum and in every GCSE and A level qualification. The result is that schools have to do more work with fewer resources.

“The government must urgently address the teacher recruitment and funding crises.”

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Notes on guidance

Leader contains general guidance on the law that has been supplied by our partners Browne Jacobson LLP. Expand

Leader contains general guidance on the law that has been supplied by our partners Browne Jacobson LLP. If you have a specific legal issue relating to your role as an employer, we recommend that you seek advice from a qualified legal professional. Members can also call the ASCL Hotline on 0116 299 1122 with respect to legal issues relating specifically to their own employment.

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Brexit must not mean full-blown languages crisis

The All-Party Parliamentary Group ( Expand

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Modern Languages has called on the government to ensure that Brexit negotiations protect the UK’s urgent strategic need for language skills. It has launched a document entitled Brexit and Languages: A checklist for government negotiators and officials (http://tinyurl.com/hwcwfhu). It highlights four objectives, including guaranteeing residency status for EU nationals already living in the UK and safeguarding future recruitment of EU citizens to address the shortage of language skills.

Interim General Secretary Malcolm Trobe said: “The All-Party Parliamentary Group is absolutely right to highlight this issue and we fully support its conclusions. It is essential that schools continue to be able to recruit EU nationals post-Brexit. There is already a critical shortage of language teachers and the last thing that we need is anything which makes this situation worse. We understand that Brexit means Brexit but it is vital that it does not also mean a full-blown crisis in language teaching.”

This issue of Leader also contains alternative views on the crisis facing MFL on page 32 (Viewpoint) and page 34 (Last Word)

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Absence update

Over the last few years, the number of penalty notices issued to parents dramatically increased because of a shift in government policy whereby schools were advised to only authorise pupil absence in ‘exceptional circumstances’. Expand

Over the last few years, the number of penalty notices issued to parents dramatically increased because of a shift in government policy whereby schools were advised to only authorise pupil absence in ‘exceptional circumstances’. In 2012/13, 52,370 penalty notices were issued; in 2014/15, 151,125 were issued. Recent figures from attendance data show (http://tinyurl.com/lmfxxtt) that fewer children were absent from school since the government’s crackdown on unauthorised absence.

However, following a high-profile court case earlier this year, which determined that taking children out of school during term-time did not mean that parents had failed to ensure their children attended school regularly, the government’s policy is in jeopardy. Local Councils have dropped penalty notice cases and, most recently, Derbyshire County Council has confirmed that fines will only be issued in extreme cases of non-attendance; undoubtedly, others will follow suit.

There is still no legal definition as to what constitutes ‘regular attendance at school’ and therefore what ‘failing to ensure a child attends school regularly’ means in practice. This ambiguity will lead to fewer fines being issued and fewer parents being prosecuted. Critics of the government policy will argue that the legislation intends to prevent systematic truancy, rather than pupils being taken out of school for holidays with their families.

Government guidance remains somewhat at odds with the legislation. Although schools can continue to refuse to authorise absence in non-exceptional circumstances, this may be of little consequence if local authorities do not issue penalty notices. The government’s crackdown on pupil non-attendance looks set to crack.

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Keeping children safe

The updated Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance ( Expand

The updated Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance (http://tinyurl.com/p9cxb7e) (September 2016), contains several important changes to the previous version because of new and/or amended legislation and social/cultural developments. These changes are listed in Annex H of the guidance and a number of web links take users to updated, detailed guidance on various safeguarding topics.

There are new requirements for staff training, staff recruitment checks and the Single Central Record. In addition, the guidance now covers schools’ responsibilities on missing children, the importance of ensuring that appropriate online safety measures are in place and mandatory reporting obligations on female genital mutilation (FGM).

New paragraphs highlight the harmful behaviours linked to safeguarding issues that can put children in danger and emphasise the importance of staff being aware that children do abuse children, for example, by bullying (including cyberbullying), gender-based violence, sexual assaults and sexting.

More information on Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards is included and the importance of data sharing is stressed, as is not allowing data-sharing concerns to come before safeguarding.

Certain recommendations, such as requiring governing bodies and proprietors to take a proportional, risk-based approach when considering the level of safeguarding information provided to temporary staff and volunteers, may lead to different interpretations and uncertainty about how far they need to go to discharge their duty.

For many schools, the updated guidance will reaffirm a number of actions that they have already taken, for example, ensuring online safety; many will be fully aware of the new requirements. Yet it is clear from subtle changes in language like ‘consider’ to ‘ensure’ that the guidance will need to be read carefully to make sure that nothing is missed and that staff receive swift and appropriate refresher training on their responsibilities.

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Children missing education

From September 2016, all schools have new responsibilities to share information with local authorities arising from the changes to the Education ( Expand

From September 2016, all schools have new responsibilities to share information with local authorities arising from the changes to the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 and the DfE guidance ‘Children Missing Education’. The duties will enhance communication between schools and local authorities where a child is admitted to a school in-year or where a child is deleted from the school roll. The duties will apply when a school:

  • admits a pupil outside the usual point of entry; the local authority must be informed within five days of the pupil being added to the school roll
  • is about to remove a child from the school roll under one of the prescribed categories set out in regulation 8 of the 2006 regulations; the details must include the child’s name, the current (and future) parental address phone number and destination school
  • is considering removing a child from the school roll due to non-attendance and prior to making any decision the school must make reasonable enquiries to establish the whereabouts of the child jointly with the local authority

Clearly, these changes set out a more collaborative approach and schools should consider the duties alongside current practices and ensure that appropriate changes are made.

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LEADING READING