Date updated: Friday 24th May 2024

Welcome to the latest issue of our Education Bulletin, which we hope you find useful. If you have any queries, then please get in touch with your usual contact at Stone King, who will be happy to assist.

 


On Wednesday 22 May, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the general election will take place on 4 July.

The next six weeks will be a whirl of activity as political parties and candidates announce their manifesto pledges, key policies and take their campaigns to constituencies up and down the country.

Stone King has created an election hub as a way to keep individuals and organisations – including charities, education providers, social enterprises, businesses, and faith-based organisations – up to date on the latest news, insights and developments relating to the general election. The hub will be updated as policies and manifestos are announced by the political parties.

The aim of the hub is twofold: to demystify the policies and manifesto commitments of the political parties, and to outline campaigning rules.  

Schools and the election

Our election hub includes a look at the impact a Labour government would have on free school meals.

The party’s plans include a commitment to ensure there are “free breakfast clubs in every primary school to drive up attendance and standards”.

Whilst this is very positive, there will certainly be challenges for schools in implementing it, read in full here.

We also take a look at the significant changes to employment law planned by Labour and what schools might want to be considering now to prepare for these possible changes here.

Independent schools and the election

Independent schools are aware of the importance of taking steps at an early stage to consider the school’s context and range of strategic options which might be available to it. These are key issues which require detailed involvement and consideration by governors working closely with senior leadership, more information on how we can support here.

Watch: Mergers and acquisitions in the Independent Sector

As a result of wider economic headwinds, as well as political pressures, the independent schools' sector is facing a period of change and uncertainty. Against this backdrop, we are seeing an increasing amount of merger activity in the sector. The recording of the webinar below reflects on our experience to date and to explore the key considerations for all schools, whether actively considering merger or not. Watch here.

Colleges and the election

Colleges will also be looking at the impact the election may have on the sector, read Tom Morrison’s thoughts here.

The new “Making significant changes to an academy – Non-statutory guidance on collaborative school place planning and making organisational changes to academies" is much broader in scope than the 2022 guidance.

Senior Associate Nicola Andrews explains here.

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced a consultation concerning two policy proposals relating to faith:

  • A removal of the 50% cap on faith admissions at mainstream free schools which are designated as having a religious character; and

The ability for new special academies and existing special academies with a faith ethos to be designated as having a religious character. Read more about the proposals here.

The draft has been published for consultation purposes and is not final but indicates a significant change of policy. 

Associate Clare Wigzell outlines the proposed key changes here.

An informative overview for schools on the legal implications of decisions relating to pupils whose attendance raise safeguarding/health and safety considerations for others. It also discusses when local authorities will have an obligation to provide alternative provision (AP) for pupils unable to attend school. 

Watch here.

Stone King’s Information Law Toolkit for Schools has recently been updated so that provision is made for images to be used on the basis of legitimate interests. Schools can use the editable templates to choose the most appropriate lawful basis for use of images based on the purposes of their use. 

The Toolkit can be accessed here.

Senior Associate Josh has joined our Employment Team, working across the Education, Charity, and Business & Social Enterprise Sectors.

E: Joshburke@stoneking.co.uk

T: 0161 3832 216

More here.