Education Newsletter Spring 2020
7 January 2020
Welcome to the Spring edition of our newsletter for schools.
We hope you have all enjoyed a break over the Christmas period. With the election result in mid-December 2019, an air of stability has returned to the education sector and with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson at the helm we will see what 2020 has in store for us all.
In this edition we have covered the topics of: taking and using images of children; the fine print required for Parent/School Contracts; reporting safeguarding concerns under the new Local Safeguarding Arrangements; transgender guidance for schools; as well as a guest article from EdUKAid.
We look forward to seeing many of you at our annual Independent Schools' Conference "Schools Managing Risk" on Friday 24 January 2020. For further information on the conference programme and to reserve your place, please see the link to the event invitation here. The event is free to attend and the RSVP deadline is 17 January if you would like to join us.
We wish you a happy and successful New Year!
The Education Team at Wilsons
Taking and using images of children
There are a number of events throughout the Academic Year when parents will no doubt be vying for the best seats to watch their child perform, wanting to record or photograph the performance or sporting event, but unsure as to the School's policy or where the law now stands on taking and using images of children.
All schools should make it clear that they are committed to protecting and promoting the privacy and welfare of pupils. It is good practice for Schools to have a clear policy explaining the general rules regarding the taking and using of images of children so that parents, pupils and employees have the information they need to understand the position.
The fine print
A parent/school contract contains the legally binding contractual terms and conditions between a parent and an independent school for the delivery of “education services”.
Following the election result in December 2019, a degree of stability has been restored to the independent schools sector and certain threats have significantly diminished. The UK is due to leave the EU entirely by December 2020, which brings a host of different challenges. With the end of freedom of movement in sight, schools should be aware of the potential employment and pupil recruitment and retention implications. Increasing costs will also remain a threat to the sector, including TPS contributions.
Reporting safeguarding concerns - KCSIE changes
Our 'go to' statutory guidance on the topic of safeguarding is 'Keeping Children Safe in Education' (KCSIE). The latest version is from September 2019, with a few minor updates on 1 October 2019.
The key changes can be found at paragraphs 27 and 28 of KCSIE. Although schools are aware that safeguarding is everyone's responsibility, the guidance goes a step further to confirm that all staff should be aware that children can abuse other children. This is often referred to as peer-on-peer abuse and can include: bullying; cyberbullying; physical abuse; sexual violence, sexual harassment; upskirting; sexting and initiation type violence or rituals.
Transgender guidance in the press
Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) has recently issued guidance to schools and colleges on how to cater for transgender pupils in school. The controversial guidance attempts to directly address some of the complex issues and states that schools should allow male pupils who identify as female to share changing rooms, toilets and dorm rooms on residential trips without parents' knowledge or permission. It also goes on to state that the same pupils should be allowed to compete with and against female pupils in sports.
As at 20 December 2019, a crowdfunding page had raised approximately £7,500 to fund a judicial review claim against OCC if they refuse to "publicly withdraw" the guidance by 3 January 2020.
Guest article - EdUKAid
Nelson Mandela said “From the poorest of countries to the richest of nations, education is the key to moving forward in any society.” Based in affluent Salisbury but operating in one of the poorest areas of southern Tanzania, we at EdUKaid see on a daily basis how true this quote is. Whilst several thousand miles apart, the importance of access to education is exactly the same. The challenges, however, for children in rural Tanzania are very different.
Tanzania is facing an education crisis – with a rapidly growing population the under resourced schools and over-crowded classrooms (up to 200 children in one class) are struggling to cope and often unable to meet even the most basic needs of their children. Compounded by a critical shortage of teachers and those that remain being hugely demoralised, Tanzania is at risk of failing its next generation.
Safer Internet Day - Tuesday 11 February 2020 - #freetobe
This year the theme is "Together for a better internet". Safer Internet Day is tuning in to online identity and asking young people whether they are truly free to be themselves online.
Safer Internet Day has been running successfully since 2011 and is celebrated globally every year. Over 225 schools and colleges in the UK have already registered their support for this year's event. For more information and to sign up, you can visit: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/safer-internet-day-2020/i-am-educator
Put the date in the diary and do make use of the free resources that have been created by UK Safer Internet Centre to assist with lesson planning and assemblies, etc.
The campaign is using the hashtag #freetobe to reflect the aim of exploring what young people should be free to be when they are online.
Thank you for reading our newsletter.
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The content of this newsletter is intended as a summary of the law for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Our newsletter is not a substitute for specific legal advice and consequently we do not accept liability for the consequences of any action taken or refrained from as a result of using the information provided.