Education Law

Brief Alerts - July 2019

Off-rolling Penalties

The Children’s Commissioner has recently called on the Department for Education to investigate the 10 per cent of schools responsible for the majority of the country’s exclusions. In the meantime two school were down-graded by Ofsted, one to ‘inadequate’ and one to requires improvement’ due to unlawful off rolling. What is striking is that in one case the procedure the school followed had been agreed with the local authority.

Reviewing your academy’s complaints procedure

With policy reviews often taking place over the summer, we send out a reminder of what is required in an academy’s complaints policy, and some tips to effectively handle parental complaints.

The requirements

Academies and independent schools are required by law (The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014) to draw up and implement a complaints procedure. It must be:  

School punishments – what is ‘reasonable’ or ‘usual?’

We have come a long way in terms of what are considered to be reasonable sanctions in schools. Gone are the days of the Victorian school era where pupils were likely to receive punishments eliciting fear, shame, embarrassment and anxiety and this would be supported by the courts. Since then the government has banned corporal punishment and set out guidance in the form of the Behaviour and Discipline in Schools which states what are acceptable (and reasonable) punishments in schools.

Assessing curriculum; Ofsted’s new inspection framework

Ofsted have issued their new curriculum inspection framework. Its main features are outlined in this section.

“The [framework …] is intended to restore curriculum – largely ‘missing in action’ from inspection for more than a decade – to its proper place, as an important component of the quality of education.” Amanda Spielman

Ofsted have confirmed that their working definition of curriculum is:

Still Talking About Sex... (and relationships)

February saw the first new guidance on relationships and sex education (RSE) issued by the Department for Education in 19 years. The new regime makes RSE compulsory in secondary schools from 2020, with primaries also required to teach relationships education. It also introduces an expectation that pupils will be taught about LGBT relationships, though the point at which this content will be introduced is a matter left to individual schools.

Teachers working time – the “new norm” or illegality?

A recent Department for Education workload survey suggests teachers in England work an average of 54 hours a week and school leaders work in excess of 60 hours a week. Regulated working hours for teachers are essential both to help schools plan the school day effectively and to ensure teachers are able to achieve a satisfactory work life balance. So should they be working these hours, including in the school holidays?

Access to schools for education and training providers (the “Baker clause” requirement) – What schools are required to do and why they must do it.

Secondary schools and schools with secondary age pupils (excluding independent schools) are under a statutory obligation to publish a policy statement on the circumstances in which education and training providers are permitted to have access to pupils. This article sets out the school’s obligation and the risks of non-compliance.

Stone King raises over £500 for the London Legal Support Trust

It was best foot forward for a 24-strong team from Stone King’s London office at an annual fundraising event.

Stone King’s team took part in the London Legal Walk on Monday, June 17, covering 10K and raising £537.

15,000 people took part in the event with the money raised going to the London Legal Support Trust to help provide free legal services in London and the South East.

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