Education Newsletter Summer 2019
2 May 2019
Welcome to the summer edition of our Education newsletter. We hope you had an enjoyable and peaceful Easter break.
As you embark upon the season of exams, we have focussed on some of the issues that many of our schools clients face at this time.
Vicky Wilson and Debbie Ashenhurst have produced a Q&A on exam malpractice and Alexandra Sollohub highlights the key pitfalls to avoid when looking at your school's summer holiday lettings agreements.
Sophia Zand provides a round-up on the current position with the changes to the TPS and Andrew Mackie looks at the duty to report serious incidents to the Charity Commission. We also comment on dealing with managing allegations of peer-on-peer abuse.
All independent schools should be aware of the new guidance from the DfE: "The Independent School Standards: Guidance for independent schools", published 30 April 2019. We will be commenting on this shortly, but for now the full guidance is available to read online.
We wish you all the best for the summer term,
The Education team at Wilsons
Q&A on exam malpractice and results
We are embarking upon the exam season once again and every year schools face similar issues. This Q&A has been designed to ensure that you are well prepared for the challenges that may lie ahead.
Q1. Where do we start with exam terminology?
- The regulator of exams in England and Wales is “Ofqual”, which regulates the various Awarding Organisations (“AO”).
- The AOs are the exam boards, for example: AQA; OCR; Edexcel; WJEC and Eduqas - once recognised by Ofqual, AOs can submit qualifications to the official qualifications frameworks. The AOs then approve Centres to deliver these qualifications.
- The Centres are the schools, colleges and other education institutions that run/deliver the qualifications.
- The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) is the single voice for its 8 member AOs, providing guidance on exam administration and wider education policy, when appropriate.
Q2. What are Ofqual’s regulatory requirements?
All AOs must continually meet the regulatory requirements set out in Ofqual’s General Conditions of Recognition - these rules make sure that qualifications are valid and fit for purpose.
Managing peer-on-peer abuse
When it comes to safeguarding incidents or concerns, the questions that you ask (or indeed decide not to ask) will be important. There may be pieces of a puzzle missing that you need to obtain quickly and efficiently with minimal disruption.
The issue of peer-on-peer abuse is an emerging and complex safeguarding issue and every member of staff should know what your school does to minimise the risk of peer-on-peer abuse and how to deal with any allegations.
In a safeguarding scenario, what do you need to consider immediately?
Top 10 tips when considering withdrawing from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme
Schools will be aware of the increase in employer contributions under the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS) that will apply from September 2019. The Department of Education has confirmed it will help maintained schools and academies meet these additional costs and for now, the focus is largely on independent private schools.
Wilsons are advising a number of independent schools who are considering withdrawing from the TPS and have prepared our 10 top practical tips for schools that are in the same position.
“Serious incidents” at school – don’t forget the Charity Commission
If a serious incident happened at your school, would you report it to the Charity Commission?
The Charity Commission requires charities in England and Wales to report serious incidents promptly and directly to it as the sector regulator.
A report by a Charity Commission taskforce made towards the end of last year, concluded that there is "significant under-reporting" of serious incidents by charities, on the basis that only 0.9% of registered charities submitted a report of a serious safeguarding incident, and only 1.5% reported any kind of serious incident at all during the four-year period from April 2014.
Summer Holiday Lettings - Key considerations
Although schools have just returned from the Easter break, it will not be long before school is out for summer. But the days of “No more Latin, no more French, no more sitting on the old school bench”, and empty playing fields are long gone.
To the 21st century school, the holidays represent an opportunity to hire out its premises to independent third-party enterprises for a range of educational uses including children’s sports and activity camps, language schools and conferences, for concerts, weddings and film locations. Done well, such arrangements can provide valuable income and enhance a school’s relationship with the local community and reputation generally.
When all goes smoothly, the school will be ready for the start of the autumn term intact, both from a physical and reputational perspective. But what if things do not go smoothly?
Updated Governance Handbook
The Governance Handbook for academies, multi-academy trusts and maintained schools was updated in March 2019. A summary of the main changes can be found on pages 6-8 of the Handbook, available here.
The Department for Education currently has an open consultation on children not in school. The DfE seeks views on a local authority register for children who do not attend state-funded or registered independent schools and a number of other proposed changes to legislation. For further details and to respond to the consultation, visit the gov website here.
The consultation closes on 24 June 2019.
Thank you for reading our newsletter.
If you have any questions raised by our newsletter, please contact us for an informal and confidential chat.
© Copyright Wilsons Solicitors LLP
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.