Education newsletter - Spring Term 2021 edition
8 January 2021
Welcome to the spring edition 2021 of our newsletter for schools.
If you require advice following the January 2021 school closure announcement, please get in touch with your usual Wilsons contact or direct specific queries to:
- Education, pastoral or safeguarding: Vicky Wilson
- Employment and HR: Stephen Oxley
- Data protection: Debbie Ashenhurst
- Governance and charity law: Gillian Fletcher
- School fees and debt recovery: Alexandra Sollohub
We appreciate that the immediate focus has shifted to delivering remote learning to all pupils required to stay at home. In our first article below, we have summarised the legal powers involved and provided links to the most recent guidance on remote learning, expectations, template documents and training materials available for schools at the time of writing.
Also in this edition, our Employment law colleagues report on the vaccination and testing issues for schools which will remain a high priority in the coming weeks. We also visit the important topics of: data protection and the impact of Brexit; how to conduct robust internal investigations in school; and the new equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) principle in the updated Charity Governance Code. We have also prepared a roundup of SEND issues and an overview of the guidance and Code of Practice on KCSIE in out of school services.
To everyone working in the education sector, thank you for everything you are doing.
Schools will continue to face unprecedented challenges and our team at Wilsons are here to support you.
All the best for 2021.
The Education Team
Further to the Government announcement on Monday evening which imposes another national lockdown, the immediate focus has shifted to delivering remote learning to all pupils that are required to stay at home.
Schools have been asked to publish information about their remote education provision on the school's website by 25 January 2021. We have summarised the legal powers involved and provided links to the most recent guidance, template documents and training materials available for schools at the time of writing.
Refusal to attend school on health and safety grounds
Many schools will have been aware of the template letter being circulated by the Unions which staff could use to support a decision to stay away from school. With the National Education Union claiming that the letter has been downloaded over 5,000 times, many school leaders will have received one of these letters.
COVID -19 Vaccinations, testing and Employment issues for schools
Whilst we wait for the roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine, many senior leaders will be considering how it will change their schools and whether testing, which is now widely available, can be put in place in the meantime to reduce the risk of an outbreak. In our latest article, we look at some frequently asked questions on vaccination and testing.
Data protection BREXIT update - boring but important!
Although the UK left the EU at midnight on 31 January 2020, we didn't feel the impact of our departure because EU law continued to apply in the UK during the Brexit transition period. That period ended at 11 pm on 31 December 2020 and, while there are still areas of uncertainty in terms of data protection law, we know a fair bit about what UK data protection law now looks like.
If you are a head, deputy head or designated safeguarding lead, there could be a number of scenarios where you are required to conduct an internal investigation at school. Examples include parental complaints, pupil behaviour incidents and employee grievances. As bursar or clerk to the governors you may be asked to be involved with or co-ordinate any of these processes. This article contains a best practice guide to ensure a fair and robust process is conducted.
Debt recovery service for schools
We have launched our new Debt Recovery Service for schools.
Wilsons’ Education team has advised independent schools for many years. We understand that schools often face a wide range of legal and practical issues in relation to the recovery of school fees. Our experienced team offers expert, pragmatic and commercially focused legal support.
For further information, please click here.
Updated Charity Governance Code 2020 - new equality, diversity and inclusion princple
The Charity Governance Code was updated on 7 December 2020. As a result of the update, a number of changes have been made to the previous 'Diversity' and 'Integrity' principles. In this article, our Education team outlines the impact of these changes for independent schools.
Roundup of SEND issues
As we move into the Spring Term 2021, our Education Team have gathered a list of key SEND-related issues which arose in the news and courts during the latter part of 2020. The article addresses matters ranging from the requirement to make reasonable adjustments to the duties of public authorities.
KCSIE: Out-of-school guidance
On 21 October 2020, the Department for Education (DfE) published a raft of guidance notes for providers of out of school activities. Our Education Team has reviewed the guidance and has put together a guide to the most important issues it addresses.
Independent Schools' Virtual Conference
Join us on Friday 29 January for our annual Independent Schools' Conference.
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.
To find out more and to register click here.
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.