Independent Schools’ Virtual Conference

Date: 29 January 2021

Time: 9am - 11am

"Very professionally presented as I would expect from Wilsons.  Well worth two hours of my time."

"Impressive agenda and presentations. The tech worked well too."

"Excellent presentations from all - some key nuggets of information touched upon which will be fed back."

Whilst current restrictions mean that we are unable to discuss matters over a coffee, you are invited to join us remotely to examine the following risk management topics and take part in the live Q&A with our panellists:

  • Effective handling of parental complaints
  • How to conduct a robust investigation
  • Post-Brexit immigration issues for schools
  • Essential Employment law update
  • 'Rebuilding an aircraft in flight’ – an insight from our guest speaker
  • Live Q&A

All senior leaders within the independent school sector are welcome to attend, including: Heads, Deputies, Bursars, School Business Managers, DSLs and Governors.


9:00 – 9:05

Registration and Chair's welcome 

Stephen Oxley, Wilsons

9:05 – 9:25

Effective handling of parental complaints

Vicky Wilson, Wilsons

We will cover the basics of handling parental complaints whilst sharing our tips for navigating the difficult issues that frequently arise.

  • Understanding your school's complaints policy
  • The three stages required by law
  • How to communicate with parents at each stage
  • Dealing with witnesses and legal representation
  • How to form and conduct a Stage 3 panel hearing
9:25 – 9:45

How to conduct a robust investigation

Debbie Ashenhurst, Wilsons

We will be focusing on the investigation of parental complaints but our best practice guide to conducting investigations can be applied to other scenarios including student disciplinary issues and safeguarding matters. We will cover:

  • Identifying the complaint
  • Determining staff roles
  • Obtaining evidence
  • Making findings of fact
  • Producing a report
  • Informing affected parties of the outcome
9:45 – 10:05

Post-Brexit immigration issues for schools

Jay Moghal, Wilsons

Post-Brexit issues that any school with international students should be aware of. The rules on immigration will change from 1 December 2020 and apply to all overseas students from within and outside the EU. This session will provide a summary of the changes and guidance on how to ensure compliance with the new rules, including:

  • An overview of the new student visa regime and reminder of sponsor duties
  • Reporting to the relevant regulators: DfE, ISI/Ofsted and Home Office
  • Recruitment of overseas students from 1 January 2021
10:05 – 10:25

Essential employment law update

Sophia Zand, Wilsons

We will set out the most recent changes to employment law including those implemented following the Good Work plan as well as a review of what to expect in 2021.

During the session we will also cover key employment issues that have arisen out of the COVID-19 pandemic including health and safety considerations, local lockdowns and staff travelling abroad.

10:25  – 10:45

'Rebuilding an aircraft in flight’

Gareth Doodes, Headmaster, The King’s School and CEO The King’s School, Worcester Foundation

Our guest speaker will reflect on:

  • The 2008-09 downturn
  • COVID-19

And on communications, leadership, support and the changing attitude of parents.``

10:45 – 11:00 Live Q&A with Panel

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