Education newsletter - Autumn Term 2021 edition

19 August 2021

Welcome to the Autumn 2021 edition of our Education newsletter. We hope you have managed to enjoy a break over the summer. 

You are invited to connect with us on LinkedIn for regular and timely updates of interest to the education sector.
We are publishing a little earlier than usual as we expect many of our schools clients and contacts to be in school from time to time over the coming weeks to deal with exam results, planning and preparation for the new term.
In this edition, Vicky Wilson summarises the key mental health and wellbeing considerations for schools contained in the new KCSIE guidance, effective from 1 September 2021, including: the definition of "harmful sexual behaviour"; whether to appoint a Senior Mental Health Lead in school; and what schools can do to reduce safeguarding risks in the 'Mental health and wellbeing in schools – a safeguarding perspective' article below.
We also shine the spotlight on:

•    COVID-19 vaccination for 16-17 year olds
•    The new Academy Trust Handbook 2021
•    Data Protection – Brexit fall-out
•    An inspector calls...What you need to know from 1 Sept 2021
•    School archives and long-term data retention

Please contact Vicky Wilson, Stephen Oxley or your usual Wilsons contact with any legal queries.
We wish you all the best for the forthcoming academic year.
The Education Team

Mental health and wellbeing in schools – a safeguarding perspective     

Mental health and wellbeing has been in the spotlight since the reopening of schools in March 2021 and there is now welcome commitment from the DfE and the Mental Health in Education Action Group to prioritise mental health in education recovery plans across England.

The new "Promoting and supporting mental health and wellbeing in schools and colleges" guidance (first published in June 2021) suggests taking a coordinated and evidence-informed approach to mental health and wellbeing in schools to improve pupil resilience and emotional wellbeing, which can help with readiness to learn.

This Q & A style article is designed to guide school leaders through some topical issues, legal considerations, associated risks and relevant changes to the statutory safeguarding guidance as well as some thoughts on how schools can best equip themselves to improve pupil mental health and wellbeing.

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COVID-19 vaccination for 16-17 year olds – tackling the immediate issues     

The government has adopted the JCVI's (Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation) advice to extend the COVID-19 vaccination programme to 16 and 17 year olds and all such young people in England will have been offered their first vaccination by 23 August 2021. For schools, this means that pupils in Years 11 – 13 may decide to have the vaccine and schools will need to consider the following issues.

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The new Academy Trust Handbook 2021     

The Academy Trust Handbook 2021, which replaces the Academies Financial Handbook, comes into effect on 1 September 2021. The name change, announced by Baroness Berridge, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System, in a June 2021 letter to Academy Trusts, is intended to reflect its full range of content more accurately, and DfE views the new Handbook as a ‘one stop shop’ for trustees, governors and leaders to access information and guidance.

The general tone of the Handbook is that it gives the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) more power to hold academies and their governance to account, and whilst it contains some new provisions, it also consolidates pre-existing requirements in one central location.

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Data Protection – Brexit fall-out     

We have three matters to report relating to the impact of Brexit and a CJEU (the Court of Justice of the European Union) decision on data protection law.

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An inspector calls...What you need to know from 1 Sept 2021 

Routine inspections were suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic, but a full program of routine inspections for maintained schools and academies will commence from September 2021.

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School archives and long-term data retention (SARA)     

Many schools may wish to retain personal data for periods long after the relationship with the employee, parent or pupil ends, but are you clear on the basis for doing so and are you sure that your current practices are in line with the UK GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018?

Read more

This update is of a general nature and is not a substitute for professional advice. No responsibility can be accepted for the consequences of any action taken or refrained from as a result of what is said. 

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