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DfE plans to prepare pupils for classroom terror attacks

The Department for Education has launched a new consultation on school security.

It's seeking views on whether schools should carry out security drills in preparation for potential terror attacks in their classrooms. It also suggests that schools carry out lockdowns and evacuations to prepare for flooding and chemical and biological emergencies.

The guidance is aimed at schools but says it is relevant to FE and sixth form colleges.

Organisations have until Monday 18 February 2019 to respond.

European teachers shunning England as Brexit looms

New figures indicate that the number of overseas teachers applying for qualified teacher status in England has declined. According to the Department for Education, there were 3,525 qualified teacher status (QTS) awards made to qualified teachers from Europe in the financial year 2017/18 – a decrease of 25% on the previous year.

The TES reports that the government missed its postgraduate teacher-training targets in most secondary subjects this year – with recruitment to physics at just 47% of what was required, and just 25% of the number of design and technology trainees required starting courses.

Head teachers have already warned that they are likely to find it more difficult to recruit teachers if Britain leaves the EU without reaching a deal because the current system, under which professional qualifications are automatically recognised across the European Economic Area (EEA), will cease to apply. This will mean that European teachers could need further training to get QTS.

Almost 600 primaries investigated for cheating

A report published by the Standards and Testing Agency shows that 599 schools were investigated for maladministration in either the key stage 1 or key stage 2 tests and assessments in 2017 – 26.2% of cases were self-reported by schools. In 2016, 524 investigations were carried out.

Maladministration covers cheating by pupils, over-aiding by teachers and changes to test papers, as well as inflation or deflation of teacher-assessment judgements.

Former Academy Head given £850k payoff

According to the Guardian Newspaper, Sir Greg Martin, the former head of the Durand Academy in Stockwell, south London, has controversially agreed a £850,000 severance package. The money is coming from the proceeds from a private leisure centre run on the school grounds.

National living wage to increase by nearly 5% from April 2019

Increases to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) have been announced which will benefit 2.4 million workers.

From April 2019, the National Living Wage (paid to workers aged 25 and over) will increase from £7.83 to £8.21.

Rates for the hourly NMW rates will increase: 

  • By 4.3% for 21-24 year olds - from £7.38 to £7.70
  • By 4.2% for 18- to 20 year-olds - from £5.90 to £6.15
  • By 3.6% for 16-18 year olds - from £4.20 to £4.35 
  • By 5.4% for apprentices - from £3.70 to £3.90.

The accommodation offset will increase by 7.9% from £7.00 to £7.55.

The chair of the Low Pay Commission, Bryan Sanderson, said that, on current forecasts, the National Living Wage (payable to workers aged 25) or over will reach £8.62 by 2020.

New guide published to help managers recruit and manage people with disabilities

The Department for Work and Pensions has published a practical guide to help line managers recruit, manage and support people with a disability or long-term health condition. It provides a "quick and easy reference tool" to improve the knowledge and confidence of line managers.

It's easy to read and provides some helpful tips on reasonable adjustments and using appropriate language when discussing disability, and helps managers to deal with performance issues and sickness absence.

Schools and colleges can also sign up to the Disability Confident programme to receive accreditation and access to additional guidance, peer support groups and specialist events.

Improvement required? ACAS launch new performance management guide

According to research undertaken by ACAS, only 25% of organisations adapt performance management processes to consider staff with disabilities. It has published new guidance to help organisations get the basics right.

Government launches employer toolkit about UK Settlement Scheme

The government has issued a toolkit to help organisations support EU staff and their families apply for settled status. It signposts where users can find information, including leaflets, posters, presentations, videos and guidance.

The introduction states that, under the EU Settlement Scheme, employers:

  • Have a duty not to discriminate against EU citizens
  • Are not expected to pay/support the cost of the scheme application for their EU citizen employees, but are welcome to do so at their own discretion
  • Have no legal obligation to communicate the scheme, but may wish to signpost the information
  • Don't have to interpret government information and must not provide immigration advice.

The document also says that current "right to work" checks (eg EU passport and/or national ID card) apply until the end of 2020 and there will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK until 2021.

Key Contact

Jenny Arrowsmith