0370 1500 100

New schools Governance Handbook released

The Department for Education has released an updated Governance Handbook that applies to academies, multi-academy trusts and maintained schools. It should be read alongside the Competency Framework for Governance and the Clerking Competency Framework released in January 2017.

The Governance handbook explains the core role and functions of school governing boards, their legal duties and the support available to them.
We examine the changes.

Four things for schools to consider if travelling to the EU following a no-deal Brexit

The UK will leave the EU at 11pm UK time on Friday 12 April 2019 by automatic operation of law, unless Parliament approves the Withdrawal Agreement or something else happens to prevent this. Schools planning education visits abroad need to plan to avoid difficulties caused by no- deal.

Key issues are:

  • Visas: UK travellers don’t need a visa to travel to the EU and can move freely between EU countries with a valid passport. After 12 April 2019, under reciprocal arrangements, UK citizens coming to the Schengen area for a short stay (90 days in any 180 days) can travel without a visa.

  • Passports: British passports will continue to be valid until their expiry date, but if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, British passport holders will be treated as third party nationals by countries in the Schengen area and will be subject to the Schengen Boarder Code. This provides that passports must:
    • Have been issued within the last 10 years
    • Have at least three months’ validity remaining on the date of intended departure from the last country visited in the Schengen area. But, because third country nationals can remain in the Schengen area for 90 days (approximately three months), travellers, whose passports are due to expire within six months from Friday 12 April 2019, will need to renew their passports now to avoid being denied entry to the Schengen area countries.

    UK passport holders won’t be able to use the “fast track” queues for EU and EEA citizens either and may have to factor in time standing in queues.
  • Health insurance: Currently, UK travellers to the EU have the right to receive public care for free, or at reduced cost, in any EU country. They need to carry the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which is available free of charge and covers pre-existing medical conditions, as well as emergency care.

    The EHIC card may not be valid if we leave without a deal, and the government has advised travellers to check what arrangements are in place in the country they are visiting. The government says it is “seeking arrangements” with countries on health care arrangements for UK nationals after Friday 12 April, but no agreements have been reached yet.

    Schools may need to take out separate travel insurance.
  • Mobile phone roaming charges: Under EU law, all of its citizens have the right to surcharge free roaming. This means that UK residents travelling in the EU don’t have to pay more for making calls, sending texts or using data than are charged in the UK.  Plus, mobile operators have to apply a default financial limit for mobile data usage of 50 Euros (and notify travellers once their device reaches 80% and then 100% of the agreed data-roaming limit).

    If we leave without a deal, these protections will fall away and mobile operators can increase their roaming charges. According to the government, 3, EE, O2 and Vodafone have said they have no current plans to do so, but business travellers should check with their mobile operators before travelling.

Teachers included in the list of professions exempt from proposed £30,000 salary threshold for Tier 2 visas

The government has announced that the number of professions to be exempt from the proposed £30,000 minimum salary for workers requiring a Tier 2 visa will be extended. It revealed that nurses, paramedics, medical radiographers and secondary school teachers of certain subjects from non-EEA countries will only be required to meet a salary threshold of £20,800.

Immigration minister Caroline Nokes said that the new exemptions had been introduced to retain the benefits of experienced teachers, nurses and paramedics from other countries. She added: “My priority is making sure that talented business people continue to see the UK as an attractive destination to develop their businesses. This will help create more jobs across the country and ensure our economy continues to thrive.”

Increases to National Minimum Wage

From Monday 1 April, the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage will increase.

The National Living Wage will increase from £7.83 to £8.21

The National Minimum Wage will increase as follows:

  • Workers aged 21 to 24 – from £7.38 to £7.70
  • Workers aged 18 to 20 – from £5.90 to £6.15
  • Workers aged over compulsory school age under 18 – from £4.20 to £4.35
  • Apprentices – from £3.70 to £3.90.

Changes to limits on tribunal awards and a week’s pay

Tribunal compensation limits will increase on Saturday 6 April 2019, when the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise from £83,682 to £86,444. The maximum amount of a week's pay, used to calculate statutory redundancy payments and various awards including the basic and additional awards for unfair dismissal, also rises from £508 to £525.

Statutory maternity, paternity, shared parental pay and adoption pay increases

On Sunday 7 April, the statutory rates for maternity, paternity, shared parental pay, adoption and sick pay will increase from £145.18 to £148.68 or 90% of average earnings if lower.

On Saturday 6 April, statutory sick pay will increase from £92.05 to £94.25.

Labour announces plan to give workers right to choose working hours

Shadow Women and Equalities Minister Dawn Butler has revealed new plans from Labour to give workers a day-one right to select their working hours. The plan encompasses job-sharing, working from home, part-time, annualized or compressed hours or flexi-time. The announcement comes as part of a plan to create a “presumption in favour of flexible working.”

Four-day week trial reveals record high work-life balance levels and 20% rise in productivity

A study into a New Zealand financial services company that trialled a four-day week has revealed that there was a 20% rise in output, with employees feeling less stressed and more engaged.

As productivity increased in the four days worked, there was no drop in the total amount of work done. Perpetual Guardian put its 240 staff on a four-day week in November 2018 but did not reduce their pay.

The study, which was carried out by academics at the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology, compared scores given by workers about leadership, stimulation, empowerment and commitment in 2017 against those provided after the eight-week trial. The most notable increases in scores were in commitment and empowerment, whilst work-life balance scores increased from 54% to 78%. The study also showed that stress levels decreased from 45% to 38%.

Key Contact

Jenny Arrowsmith