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The VWV 12 Days of Christmas

on Monday, 16 December 2019.

As we enter the festivities, we have a look at some of the areas which academies and schools will need to address early in the new year.

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me: admission arrangements

Every admission authority (ie the Trust Board for an academy, and the Governing Body for a foundation or voluntary aided school) must formally determine the admission arrangements for the school each year for the next intake due, on or before 28 February.

Paragraph 1.47 of the School Admissions Code, sets out the what must happen once the arrangements have been formally determined, including notifying others and publishing on websites.


On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me: safeguarding reviews

With changes to Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) in September 2019, as well as the introduction of local safeguarding partners, it is vital that you conduct your annual safeguarding review, in accordance with paragraph 57 of KCSIE. Any updates must be published and made available publicly either via the website or by other means.

Paragraph 85 of KCSIE stipulates that staff must be receiving training at least annually. We are aware of some local authorities who will be reviewing the new arrangements after 12 months, and schools should ensure they are aware of any changes and are communicating these with staff.


On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me: pupil premium data

If your school receives any pupil premium funding, you must publish specified information.

  • Maintained schools must publish a strategy detailing the planned use for the funds. The requirements for the contents of this are set out on the government's website.
  • For academies and free schools, the information that needs to be published will be stated in their funding agreement. The requirements are also set out on the government's website.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: policy reviews

We all know that Christmas is a time for family, but if you are looking for an excuse to spend some time away from visiting relatives this festive season, you could tell them that you need to check that your school's information and policies are up to date. We have identified three below to help you get started.

  • SEN Information Report
    All maintained schools and academies must publish an SEN information report, including how they put their SEN policy into effect. This should be updated annually.
  • Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) and Equality Objectives
    All maintained schools and academies must comply with the PSED. Schools must publish details of how it complies with this duty and should update this annually. In addition, schools must publish their equality objectives and review them every four years.
  • Accessibility Plan
    All maintained schools and academies must prepare a plan to ensure that disabled pupils can participate to the fullest extent in the curriculum, which must be updated every three years.

If you'd rather be watching the annual Christmas films, subscribe to our Compliance Toolkit, which will provide you with the help and assistance you need to flag those updates.


On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: five employment law changes

Is your HR manager aware of the five changes to employment law due to be brought in for April 2020?

  • All workers will have the right to be provided with terms and conditions from day 1 of their employment.
  • Contracts should include the additional information requirements:
    - days of work
    - any probationary period
    - benefits and training requirements
  • There will be a new entitlement of two weeks' leave for bereaved parents.
  • There will be a new reference period for holiday pay calculations.
  • The threshold for a request to set up information and consultation arrangements is reducing from 10% to 2% of employees.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: management accounts

Are you stuck for what to get your Trustees for Christmas? Well we have just the solution. Are you sharing your management accounts with the Chair of Trustees once a month and with the remainder of the board six times a year?


On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me: gender pay reporting

Don't forget that if you're a school or Trust with 250 or more employees, you must have published your gender pay gap data by 31 March.


On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: re-procurement of services

Many trusts and schools will have contracts and SLAs which run from April. Be mindful of automatic roll overs and any applicable notice periods for termination. Set diary reminders and plan any procurements which you're proposing in the new year. Consider any procurement law implications and how you will ensure a lawful procurement process.


On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: Single Central Register training

 Schools must carry out, record and evidence a raft of pre-appointment checks as part of the recruitment process. Sign up now to our training to ensure those involved in this aspect of the inspection process understand all the requirements:


On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: internal scrutiny

Something for the list for next Christmas… If you're a member of your Trust's audit committee, this New Year's Eve might just be about celebrating but be aware that by 31 December 2020 and every 31 December thereafter, your Trust is obliged to file its annual summary report of the areas reviewed, key findings, recommendations and conclusions as presented to the audit committee by the person or organisation carrying out the agreed programme of work to deliver internal scrutiny.


On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me: teaching Relationships and Sex Education

From September 2020, it will be compulsory for schools to teach relationships education to primary school children, and relationships and sex education to secondary school children.

Health education will also be compulsory in all academies and maintained schools. Schools should be familiar with the guidance Relationships Education, Relations and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education, and the situations where a parent will have the right to request that a child is withdrawn from some or all of the sex education lessons delivered as part of the programme.


On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: data protection

Cyber-attacks cause huge headaches for schools and this is the last thing that you want over the Christmas holidays. Hackers exploit weaknesses in your school's systems to gain access.

Give your staff the gift of data protection guidance and training this Christmas! The start of term in January is a great time to remind staff that they have an important role to play in protecting your school's personal data.

We can offer staff data protection training with E-learning through My OnStream, our online compliance management solution.

Don't let the Grinch steal your school's personal data this Christmas!


For specialist legal advice or more information about all of our products and services, please contact Yvonne Spencer, in our Academies, MATs and Schools team, on 020 7665 0870 or complete the below form.

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