July 2014

NEWS AND GUIDANCE

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News and guidance

End of an era...

ASCL is saying farewell to four of its specialists at the end of August. Expand

ASCL is saying farewell to four of its specialists at the end of August.

Sue Kirkham joined ASCL Council in 1993 and continued on Council throughout her two headships. She chaired the education committee for three years and was also honorary secretary. Sue was the last President of SHA and the first President of ASCL as we changed our name during her presidential year in 2005/6. She has been our education specialist since 2008 and is a recognised national expert on curriculum, assessment and qualifications. Sue is extremely well respected with a wonderfully authoritative style of delivery that has given confidence and security to our members over many years. Fortunately we are not saying farewell to our exceptional colleague as she will be supporting her successor through an induction period and will continue to lead some courses next year.


David Binnie was head of two schools in the West Midlands before becoming our regional officer for the East Midlands in 2007. David continued as a field officer and then became our pensions specialist in 2010. David has a detailed knowledge of pensions and a wonderful ability to deliver complex material confidently in a way that we can all understand. He has made a great contribution to DfE consultations. David will not be retiring completely and will continue part-time to help induct his successor and continue some work with members.


Sam Ellis has been involved with ASCL for many years, spending ten years as our branch secretary in East Riding. ‘Retiring’ from school in 2008, Sam became our regional officer for Yorkshire and the Humber before becoming our funding specialist in 2010. Sam has developed a wide range of materials to help members with their strategic financial planning. His courses for ASCL PD, and his anecdotes, are legendary as those that have attended them will testify. He has a great ability to engage with officials and one DfE official described him as the person that puts the ‘fun’ in ‘funding’. Although he is retiring completely from this role he will continue to help us with the development of our strategic planning spreadsheets.


Karleen Dowden has been with the team this year on a one-year grant funded post working across employability, careers and IAG. In that time she has been a great advocate of these areas showing great commitment in working with a range of organisations and producing a range of guidance and advice papers for our members.


We thank them all for their outstanding service to the association and wish them all the very best for the future.

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Latest guidance

ASCL Apprenticeship, Employability and Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) Specialist Karleen Dowden, has produced a new guidance paper – Implications and Implementation of DfE Careers Guidance and Inspiration – to help members get a better understanding of the DfE’s statutory and non-statutory guidance on careers guidance and inspiration for schools. Expand

ASCL Apprenticeship, Employability and Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) Specialist Karleen Dowden, has produced a new guidance paper – Implications and Implementation of DfE Careers Guidance and Inspiration – to help members get a better understanding of the DfE’s statutory and non-statutory guidance on careers guidance and inspiration for schools. The guidance paper includes details on implementing effective careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG), destination measures, statutory requirements, employer engagement, work-related learning, and monitoring and evaluating CEIAG. ASCL members can see the guidance paper online at www.ascl.org.uk/careersguide

As the number of academies and free schools increase, more educational establishments are seeking clarification of their responsibilities for financial management and how to implement systems and processes that comply with regulations. As a result, ASCL in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) have produced a guidance paper specifically for academies and free schools: Guidance for Academies and Free Schools – Good Practice in Financial Management. The guidance paper summarises the regulations, and supports the establishment of systems and processes that comply, and that also represent good practice. It concentrates on specific areas, such as roles and responsibilities, internal audit requirements, benchmarking, the risk register and procurement. Members can see the guidance on the ASCL website at www.ascl.org.uk/academiesandfreeschools

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No-notice inspections

Several members contacted ASCL expressing their concern following public support from politicians and officials for no-notice inspection in the wake of the Birmingham schools report. Expand

Several members contacted ASCL expressing their concern following public support from politicians and officials for no-notice inspection in the wake of the Birmingham schools report.

In its debate in June, Council re-affirmed ASCL’s opposition to a blanket move to no-notice inspections. Council’s view is that no notice for section 5 inspections would reduce the quality and reliability of inspection. It was noted that Ofsted already has the power to invoke no-notice inspections where concerns are raised about safeguarding and behaviour. This is a sensible safeguard.

General Secretary Brian Lightman wrote to Mike Cladingbowl at Ofsted to emphasise this position and ASCL will continue to engage with Ofsted officials. ASCL will be publishing a position paper shortly on the Ofsted and government recommendations coming out of the Birmingham report.

Commenting on the Ofsted reports into allegations of extremism in some Birmingham schools, Brian Lightman said:

“Extremism of any kind has no place in education. Young people in schools and colleges must not be exposed to intolerant ideologies which are incompatible with life in modern Britain. The vast majority of leaders and governors understand this and most schools and colleges are safe and secure places. Where there is clear evidence of extremism by anyone connected with a school community, it is absolutely right that firm, appropriate action is taken.

“The top priority now must be the education of the young people. The constant cycle of leaks and accusations over the last few weeks will have been demoralising and damaging for students and staff caught up in this ongoing drama. The issues arising from the investigations must now be addressed swiftly and effectively so that leaders and teachers can focus their efforts first and foremost on raising the achievement of the young people in these schools.

“It’s been a difficult time for Birmingham and it won’t be easy to rebuild bridges, but this must be the priority. The leadership response should be to help promote social cohesion and tolerance. Senior faith leaders need to be part of the discussion about how to do this.”

We will continue to keep you informed about any developments on this issue.

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ASCL's election strategy

The last ASCL Council meeting this academic year took place on 12-13 June in Burton upon Trent. Expand

The last ASCL Council meeting this academic year took place on 12-13 June in Burton upon Trent. Among the important items on the agenda, Council members discussed ASCL’s election strategy.

There are just three further Council meetings left before the general election. However, the political party policy making process will be in full swing from the autumn term 2014 so this Council meeting was our last significant opportunity to agree our policy and position statements in order to influence party manifestos and policies. Our committee agendas therefore focused on items dealing with important pieces of party political policy.

Position statements from Council will inform our election strategy and our work with each of the three main political parties. Here are some of the latest position statements:

Capital funding

All capital funding must be realistic in the context of schools and colleges being able to maintain appropriate premises and infrastructure in order to deliver quality education. Any allocation system must be transparent, fit for purpose and based on need. We have grave concerns about the inadequacy of Devolved formula capital (DFC) the inequitable bidding system which unfairly advantages the academy and free school sector and the dependency of maintained schools on the Local Authority Basic Need Grant.

ASCL has grave concerns about the expectation that colleges have to borrow unsustainable large sums to cover capital expenditure.

Future funding

ASCL is gravely concerned about the lack of strategic planning with regard to place provision in the secondary sector as the current increase in primary numbers works through the system.

The next Comprehensive Spending Review must recognise the real terms cuts that have taken place in education and the resulting mismatch between the capacity of the system to deliver quality education and the funding base on which such provision is predicted.

Pensions

ASCL welcomes the reduction from eight to six tiers in the 2015 pension's settlement but will continue its commitment, in each future evaluation, to reduce this to our preferred two tiers.

Provision of sufficient teachers

In the school-led system, we look forward to a time in which groups of schools, as trusts or alliances, become effective hubs for the training of the next generation of teachers.

However, at the present time, the national supply model is not delivering an adequate supply of new teachers. We recommend that the model should be reviewed, particularly with regard to School Direct, so that it can be more responsive to subject and regional requirements.

Teacher training routes

Despite the significant number of routes into teaching, teacher supply remains a concern which we attribute in part to insufficient clarity about that range of routes among both schools and potential recruits. ASCL will take a lead in clarifying the system and produce guidance to this end.

Timings of the school day

Schools and colleges already have the freedom, subject to consultation, to determine the length of their school day. ASCL maintains that schools should be left to decide how best to structure their day in accordance with local circumstances and in light of the educational needs of young people.

Mandatory Reporting

ASCL maintains its current position:

  • Schools and colleges take very seriously their role in deterring,preventing and detecting the abuse of children and young people.
  • Any new legislation should be evidence based.
  • ASCL has yet to see evidence that mandatory reporting backed up by criminal sanctions will protect children and young people.
  • ASCL is also concerned about unintended consequences; for instance, if discretion is removed, the resulting weight of un-moderated reporting will make it more difficult for those with the responsibility for investigating allegations to identify genuine cases of abuse.
  • If it is decided to introduce mandatory reporting, ASCL takes the view that it should be strictly limited.

You can see all the position statements from this Council meeting and from previous meetings on the ASCL website at www.ascl.org.uk/ position-statements


For further information on ASCL's election strategy, please see the ASCL manifesto article.


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Ofqual survey

General Secretary Brian Lightman wrote to Ofqual Chief Regulator Glenys Stacey objecting to Ofqual’s survey asking about strategies used by schools to maximise students’ results. Expand

General Secretary Brian Lightman wrote to Ofqual Chief Regulator Glenys Stacey objecting to Ofqual’s survey asking about strategies used by schools to maximise students’ results.

Brian said, “ASCL has serious concerns about the idea of treating anonymous and anecdotal feedback as evidence. Explicit procedures to report malpractice are already in place.”

Glenys Stacey quickly responded by letter, stressing that they “do not wish to simply impost an Ofqual view about what is right and what is not. Rather, we want to stimulate a discussion about matters of genuine and common concern not just to us, but to those in schools doing their best for young people.” 

The letter recognised the potential for malicious comments and that the “methodology has its limitations… but the more people who respond, the better it is and the more likely it can lead to a longer discussion and debate.” ASCL will continue to seek clarification from Ofqual about how it will exclude malicious responses.


See the letter online at www.ascl.org.uk/ofqualletter120614.

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Queen's birthday honours list

ASCL is delighted that former general secretary John Dunford has received a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Expand

ASCL is delighted that former general secretary John Dunford has received a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Sir John was general secretary from 1998 to 2010. He started out as a maths teacher in Nottingham and the North East of England before becoming a headteacher, including 16 years as head of Durham Johnston Comprehensive School in Durham. Many will know of him in his current role as the government’s Pupil Premium Champion. General Secretary Brian Lightman said, “School and college leaders throughout the country will share my delight in this tremendously well-deserved recognition.”

Recognition also goes to ASCL Council representative Dr Robert Sykes, Head of Thornden School near Southampton, who was honoured with a CBE, and to former Council member Neil Hopkins, former principal of Peter Symonds Sixth Form College in Winchester, who received an OBE. ASCL congratulates all the headteachers, principals, teachers, staff and governors who received honours this year.

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Online defamation

A recent police case demonstrates that the standard of proof in employment is the civil standard of the balance of probabilities. Expand

A recent police case demonstrates that the standard of proof in employment is the civil standard of the balance of probabilities. A policeman was dismissed as the author of a website, ‘@The British Cop’. The website had described senior officers as ‘scum… treating hard-working staff like garbage’. Such expressions have not been unknown in some unhappy staff rooms. This public statement would be quite enough to give grounds for the dismissal of whoever was responsible. The individual accused of being ‘The British Cop’, however, has continued to deny that he was the author and the evidence would not have been sufficient to have proved that he was ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. But it didn’t need to be. He lost his claim.

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Consumers and contracts

Treating every transaction as one between consumer and provider has its drawbacks. Expand

Treating every transaction as one between consumer and provider has its drawbacks.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is considering whether universities are acting unlawfully advertising courses and so inducing students to sign up for them and then changing significant aspects of the course late in the day. There are also chickens beginning to consider roosting in other areas.

For example, academies, which do not follow the admission code or the rules on exclusion, are in breach of their contract with the Secretary of State. It is a moot point whether a free school that fails to recruit up to the figure that it projected during negotiations is also in breach. Not an issue for the present, but worthwhile keeping an eye on.

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ACAS guidance

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has issued a code of practice on the new flexible working regulations that came into force on 30 June 2014. Expand

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has issued a code of practice on the new flexible working regulations that came into force on 30 June 2014.

The essential thing to note is that all employees are now entitled to ask for a permanent change of contract to allow them to work flexibly.

 This does not mean that they have to be granted it and it gives them no rights to a return to a normal contract when they wish. An employer is entitled to refuse agreement on a number of specified and fairly wide grounds. It may be easier to do so now that the right is not restricted mainly to groups who constitute protected categories for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010.

ACAS has also issued a guide to Early Conciliation and it provides model templates for appraisal documents, including ‘suitability for promotion’. In the light of performance-related pay changes, it may be worthwhile checking these out and seeing whether they can be modified to a school or college situation.


For further details, see the ACAS website at www.acas.org.uk

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Guidance

Just occasionally, one runs across an employee whose behaviour would exhaust the patience of any organisation and becomes ‘completely unmanageable’’ Hampshire police did so in the case of one of their sergeants who turned ‘raising an issue’ into a ‘one-man industry’. Expand

Whistleblowing

Just occasionally, one runs across an employee whose behaviour would exhaust the patience of any organisation and becomes ‘completely unmanageable’’ Hampshire police did so in the case of one of their sergeants who turned ‘raising an issue’ into a ‘one-man industry’. (One document submitted, for instance was 22 pages long.)

The original issue he raised could be seen as a protected disclosure. But the subsequent ‘campaign’ could not, and he lost his case for dismissal. Whistleblowing has to be ‘more than a trivial component’ of a reason for dismissal for an employee to be able to claim. This is sensible, as with the more severe capping of awards claiming whistleblowing is a way to get one that is uncapped. It is only fair to add that the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) also criticised the police for using a process that deprived the claimant of procedural safeguards. The EAT remarked that ‘it seems to us incumbent on a police force to recognise the rules of natural justice’.


Paying for textbooks?

The headlines that appeared to say that 82 per cent of parents were paying for school textbooks proved to be a misinterpretation of data. However, it is a useful reminder that in state-funded schools, it is unlawful to ask for payment for anything necessary for teaching the curriculum or that is organised by a school as part of its offer within school hours. The most a school can do is to ask for voluntary contributions and those must be entirely voluntary. The school must provide resources to pay for the participation of children whose parents do not contribute.


Taking care of employees

It is important to remember that it is the responsibility of a school or college to safeguard its employees’ health and safety as far as is reasonable and to be sure that contractors do, too. Most schools do not employ a stonemason so they do not have to worry about one of their employees suffering from silicosis because they have failed to take adequate precautions, as one distinguished school recently found. The fine of £100,000 may seem high but then so is the cost that the worker has paid.


Words are not air

Schools and colleges may want to think about how their own strap lines and sentiments may look in court when compared to their practice. IBM UK Holdings had a code of conduct for managers that stated, ‘Never make dishonest statements to anyone. If you believe the other person has misunderstood you, promptly correct any misunderstanding...’ It proclaimed the company’s aim was to embody ‘trust and personal responsibility in all relationships’. When it came to its employees’ pensions, however, the High Court (IBM UK Holdings Ltd and another v Dalgleish and others EWHC 2014) felt that it would only impose ‘a legitimate expectation of fair conduct’. And even on that, the company failed. The fine sentiments did not help its case, though.


Guidance

Leader contains general guidance on the law. If you have a specific legal issue, we recommend that you seek advice from a qualified legal professional.

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Health and safety

The government’s war on red-tape has meant that 89 per cent of health and safety regulations have been scrapped, and in parallel with this, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revised its Codes of Practice for First Aid; Workplace Health and Safety; Working at Heights; Managing Asbestos; Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH); Legionella; and Work Experience. Expand

The government’s war on red-tape has meant that 89 per cent of health and safety regulations have been scrapped, and in parallel with this, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revised its Codes of Practice for First Aid; Workplace Health and Safety; Working at Heights; Managing Asbestos; Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH); Legionella; and Work Experience.

A revision of the Code on Work Equipment is on its way. 

Schools and colleges need to be aware and adjust their policies and procedures accordingly. Lawyers are taking the view that the way forward for injured employees is through the law of negligence. There is, and has remained, a civil law duty to ‘take reasonable steps’ to safeguard employees.

However, health and safety does not include barring a girl with an ear stud from a zip wire, or banning fruit and rice cakes in a junior school on the grounds that they may damage a child with an allergy.

The HSE ‘jury’ ruled this ‘thoroughly disproportionate’ and added that a child with an allergy needed to be helped to learn to manage an allergy, not kept in a hermetically sealed and protected environment in school and sent out without any coping strategies into a dangerous world.


 See the HSE website for more on these revisions at www.hse.gov.uk.

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Misuse of medicines

We do not know at the moment whether the child was actually diabetic and had been allowed to have the pen in school but it does highlight the importance of having clear rules for handling all medicines and medical apparatus. Expand

We do not know at the moment whether the child was actually diabetic and had been allowed to have the pen in school but it does highlight the importance of having clear rules for handling all medicines and medical apparatus.

A child who is lawfully allowed to have a controlled drug in his or her possession without committing an offence, does commit an offence if he or she shares it with others, for example.

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Emotional abuse

Schools have a duty under the Children Act 1989 to co-operate with other agencies to keep young people safe. Expand

Schools have a duty under the Children Act 1989 to co-operate with other agencies to keep young people safe.

The government is intending to insert a new clause into the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 to include psychological harm in the list of harm that parents can inflict on their children. This proposal has been around for some time and is not uncontroversial: not least because of the difficulty of defining psychological harm in these days of judiciary constantly updating interpretations to keep up with the development of modern life. It is something that schools will have to be aware of once the legislation is on the statute book.

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Family court changes

Changes in the family courts took effect in April. Expand

Changes in the family courts took effect in April.

The courts are completely reorganised, which in itself should not have any great effect on schools and colleges. Other changes may. Terminology has changed and parents no longer have ‘custody’ of a child; the phrase is now ‘child arrangement order’. The purpose of this change in vocabulary is to emphasise that parents do not have a property right in their children. New technical rules apply to a change of a child’s name, and schools should continue to ensure that a change of name has been made according to law before using it on official documents, records or returns.

There are also new rules on compulsory ‘mediation awareness’ sessions. This is in line with similar provisions in employment law. Mediation has a proven record of success where people engage with it. The problem, of course, is actually getting the right people to engage.

One development that has nothing to do with the law as such is likely to make things more difficult. The effective removal of legal aid from family proceedings means that there are likely to be more litigants in person. Removed from the restraining advice and guidance of a solicitor, these litigants are likely to get more and more frustrated by the legal process and more and more angry. This may affect their relationship with schools and colleges.

The presumption that both or all parents have parental responsibility unless for reasons of child protection, means that schools and colleges may have to deal with more and more difficult interventions and will need to take advice rather than acting ‘in the best light they have’.


Social media

Six weeks in prison for a Facebook poster who thought that the murder of teacher, Anne Maguire was an opportunity to show off his general malice is just one of a number of recent prosecutions for misuse of social media. It is too soon to say that the law has begun to civilise the internet but it is beginning to make some inroads.

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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.

Update from ASCL's Executive Committee

ASCL's Executive Committee, including elected officers, Council committee chairs and senior staff, met in May. Among the items on the agenda was the DfE's review of the headteacher standards. The consensus was that, while it is the right time to review the current standards, they are broadly fit for purpose and do not require a complete overhaul. They are useful for governors when appointing a new head and setting objectives, but should not become statutory. The DfE also has asked for ASCL's feedback on how prepared schools feel about handling all of the planned changes in September 2014. The strong view was of frustration that effective planning at school level has been hampered by lateness of key decisions and publication of detail such as the final version of the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice and associated guidance and the new exam specifications. General Secretary Brian Lightman and senior officers are continuing to communicate this to DfE officials.

Post-16 funding

ASCL General Secretary Brian Lightman and ASCL Colleges Specialist Stephan Jungnitz met with the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove and the Skills Minister Matthew Hancock, together with the other signatories to our letter (see www.ascl.org.uk/Post16funding) about the insufficient funding for 16-19 education. Our concerns were recognised, and we were given the opportunity to make a case for at least no further diminution in funding. We intend to follow up the meeting with further communication from the group behind the original letters, and hope to maintain the momentum of our argument in the minds of ministers.

Stephan also met with the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) officials and expressed concern over the viability of proposals that Adult Skills Budget (ASB) funding for provision at Level 1 and below should in future be linked to employment outcomes. At the same time, BIS officials were made aware of the significant administrative burden and cost being borne by colleges pursuing destination data.

Supply and training of teachers

ASCL Director of Policy Leora Cruddas attended the Supply and Training of Teachers Advisory Group (SATTG). The group discussed the DfE's teacher supply model, the independent review of initial teacher education, subject knowledge enhancement and the position regarding 2015 allocations for initial teacher education. We raised the issue of significant regional variation in teacher supply and challenges in different parts of the country and whether the current teacher supply model gives enough consideration to this. We will be submitting a paper to be considered by ASCL Council's Professional Committee in order to develop detailed policy in this area. 

Headteacher Boards (HTBs)

ASCL had previously raised concerns with the DfE about its plans to enable only headteachers of outstanding academies to stand for the newly created headteacher boards. We were pleased that, following discussion with officials, this was changed so that headteachers of 'outstanding' and 'good' schools were also able to apply to stand.

Employability and careers

Following the unfortunate comments made by Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills Vince Cable about teachers and careers guidance, General Secretary Brian Lightman arranged a meeting with Mr Cable, along with representatives from other education unions. A very constructive discussion took place, during which Brian described the extensive work ASCL is doing with employers but emphasised that this is not a replacement for impartial careers guidance. The shortcomings of current policy were discussed. Everyone emphasised the importance of preparing young people for employment and explained why requiring Ofsted to report on careers guidance is not the solution.

Brian attended a round-table meeting with Labour MP Rushanari Ali focused on their policy on employability and careers. The wide-ranging discussion covered a number of other aspects of education policy. Brian also met with Shadow Secretary of Education Tristram Hunt's adviser.

A level sciences

ASCL Deputy General Secretary Malcolm Trobe gave evidence before the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee as they considered the changes Ofqual is making to the assessment of A level sciences. Ofqual Chief Executive Glenys Stacey and Education Minister Liz Truss also appeared before the committee.

Westminster Education Forum Conference

Malcolm also spoke at the Westminster Education Forum conference on future planning for the qualification system, including making a very well-received plea to future governments for a period of stability. 

Meeting with special advisers to the government

ASCL General Secretary Brian Lightman, President Ian Bauckham and Deputy General Secretary Malcolm Trobe met with Jamie Martin and Beth Armstrong, Special Advisers to the Secretary of State Michael Gove. In particular, they discussed teacher training and the role of the government and schools in this; the proposal of a College of Teaching and how it should be led by the profession; they again made the case for final GCSE results to be included in performance tables; and they also highlighted the issues that members are facing around funding. Brian, Ian and Malcolm have also attended a number of meetings with the DfE and Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's special advisers to discuss implementation of the government's current education programme and to consider plans for the party manifestos for the general election.

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Questions to use with your local MP

ASCL is calling for cross-party political support for a long-term vision for education. Expand

ASCL is calling for cross-party political support for a long-term vision for education.

What does your party believe is the role of government in creating a coherent vision for education? If elected, how will your party go about delivering this and over what timescale?

What are your party's long-term priorities for education?

How have you or will you work with the profession to ensure these priorities have professional support?

On intelligent resourcing

School and college leaders support a national funding formula. However, a simple formula could create new inequalities.

Is your party committed to introducing a national funding formula that is equitable at the point of delivery?

There are likely to be winners and losers in any move towards a national funding formula. Therefore, we believe any future government will need to stage the transition to a national funding formula carefully. How would your party manage this process?

We have modelled education budgets for schools and colleges over the next few years. We are fast approaching the point where cost pressures will result in institutional failure.What will your party do to protect education budgets and invest at a sustainable level?

How will you address the urgent issue of sufficient school places in areas of need?

What are your plans for capital investment and will you commit to transparency?

On autonomy and accountability

ASCL supports decision making being devolved as close to learners as possible. Alongside this, we recognise the need, in a largely autonomous education landscape, for strong, intelligent, public accountability that encourages and enables further improvement.

What is your party's definition of autonomy and how will you enable and encourage schools and colleges to use their freedoms to the advantage of all students?

How will you ensure that Ofsted inspections are better focused and more proportionate to need? And what is the future for Ofsted?

In performance tables, will you commit to ensuring that progress, rather than raw attainment, is the prime measure of schools effectiveness?

On teacher professionalism

Motivated, skilled and professional leaders and teachers are of crucial importance to securing further improvements.

There have been significant changes to teacher performance management that schools need time to embed. Will your party commit to this?

How will your party address the crucial issue of teacher supply in shortage subjects?

How will your party help the profession to ensure that all teachers have access to high-quality continuing professional development?

What are your party's ideas for attracting strong leadership and strong teachers into schools in challenging circumstances, especially those outside the main metropolitan areas where there is entrenched social deprivation?

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New ASCL guidance papers

The guidance paper includes details on implementing effective careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG), destination measures, statutory requirements, employer engagement, work-related learning, and monitoring and evaluating CEIAG. Expand

The guidance paper includes details on implementing effective careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG), destination measures, statutory requirements, employer engagement, work-related learning, and monitoring and evaluating CEIAG. ASCL members can see the guidance paper online at www.ascl.org.uk/careersguide

As the number of academies and free schools increase, more educational establishments are seeking clarification of their responsibilities for financial management and how to implement systems and processes that comply with regulations. As a result, ASCL in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) have produced a guidance paper specifically for academies and free schools: Guidance for Academies and Free Schools – Good Practice in Financial Management. The guidance paper summarises the regulations, and supports the establishment of systems and processes that comply, and that also represent good practice. It concentrates on specific areas, such as roles and responsibilities, internal audit requirements, benchmarking, the risk register and procurement. Members can see the guidance on the ASCL website at www.ascl.org.uk/academiesandfreeschools

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Acting without fear of the law

The Queen’s Speech announced a new Social Action Responsibility and Heroism Bill intended to give protection to people performing a social service from claims for negligence. Expand

The Queen’s Speech announced a new Social Action Responsibility and Heroism Bill intended to give protection to people performing a social service from claims for negligence.

The obvious example is clearing snow from in front of one’s property. It may apply to teachers supervising bus queues off the school site or patrolling the area around school. For individuals who believe that it is safer not to act rather than act and be liable for negligence, the tests proposed for the new Bill may help to reassure. These are that the person is acting for the benefit of the community; that the action is generally responsible; and in extreme cases that the person is acting without regard to his or her own safety.

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Payment but no contract

Student complaints about universities have apparently exceeded 20,000 and are rising. Expand

Student complaints about universities have apparently exceeded 20,000 and are rising.

The basis for them seems to vary from poor teaching to courses cancelled or only made available on another distant campus. Although students bring an increasingly large amount of money with them, there is apparently no contract. It can only be a matter of time before some legal principle is invoked to hold universities to their promises.

In the meantime, schools and colleges will doubtless be redoubling their efforts to ensure that their students consider all the relevant factors when choosing a university.

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Copyright

In June, the copyright laws were significantly loosened. Expand

In June, the copyright laws were significantly loosened.

Schools and colleges now have more opportunities to use copyright material for non-commercial purposes. However, it is important to note that where licences exist, schools and colleges are expected to honour the terms of the licence insofar as it does not restrict beyond the terms of the new rules. The amount that may be copied is increased to 5 per cent from 1 per cent of a work. There is an obligation to quote sources where quotations are used. Not a bad lesson to get into children’s minds when using online as well as book resources.

If in doubt, legal advice should be sought. Breaches of copyright do not come cheap.

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Social situations

It is a reminder that it is often the most social of situations that cause the most trouble at work. Expand

It is a reminder that it is often the most social of situations that cause the most trouble at work. And after the World Cup, less than six months to the next crisis point: the staff Christmas party!

At more or less the same time, ACAS also issued new guidance on Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) to take account of recent changes in the law. While members will want to get specific legal advice on their own situation when TUPE comes into play, it is as well to be wise before the event and a quick read of the ACAS booklet (see http:// tinyurl.com/2wywym2) is well worthwhile: not only for business leaders.

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LEADING READING