We round-up the latest news affecting schools.
Coronavirus: Statutory Sick Pay to apply from day one
The Prime Minister has
announced that workers who fall ill with coronavirus or who are advised to self-isolate will be entitled to receive statutory sick pay (SSP) from the first day of their illness or isolation.
Currently, SSP is payable from the fourth day of absence. It's paid at a fixed rate of £92.25 per week (increasing to £95.85 from 6 April 2020) and is only payable if someone earns at least £118 per week.
We understand that the government is going to introduce emergency legislation to make the changes which, we think, will only apply to coronavirus – not to other conditions or illnesses.
We'll keep you updated.
Apprenticeships under fire
According to the
BBC, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has attacked employers in England who use apprenticeship funding to pay for qualifications for senior managers. He wants to stop firms using the apprenticeship levy to subsidise Master of Business Administration (MBA) courses for “highly paid” managers. He wants to direct funds towards helping to kick-start careers or level-up skills and opportunities.
He’s ordered a review of the senior leader apprenticeship.
Ofsted launch open consultation on proposed changes to initial teacher inspections
Ofsted are seeking views on its proposals to the initial teacher education inspection framework and handbook. The proposed framework applies to all phases of initial teacher inspections, including early years, primary, secondary, and further education.
consultation closes at 11:45pm on Friday 3 April 2020. Consultation on keeping children safe in education
The Department of Education are seeking views on proposed changes to the statutory guidance – ‘Keeping children safe in education’ – with a view to making changes in September 2020.
The aim is to help schools and colleges better understand what they’re required to do by law, and what they’re advised to do to meet their safeguarding responsibilities. Many of the proposed changes are technical in nature and are intended to improve the clarity of the guidance and ensure consistency throughout.
consultation closes at 11:45pm on Tuesday 21 April 2020. School and college performance tables in England
The Department for Education is due to publish an update to the
performance tables 2018/19 on Thursday 12 March 2020 at 9:30am. New guidance on schools admissions: applications for overseas children
The Department of Education has recently updated its
guidance on admitting children from overseas to schools and academies, and explains how admission authorities should process applications from overseas children/students looking for a state-funded school place in England.
It’s also provided
guidance for EU students already studying in the UK. £24 million earmarked for FE providers to recruit, retain and develop teachers
The government has recently
announced a package of support worth up to £24 million to help schools and colleges recruit, retain, and develop excellent teachers.
£11m to provide bursaries and grants worth up to £26,000 to attract talented people to train to teach in FE, in priority subject areas such as STEM, English and SEND teaching
A £10m boost to expand the government’s
Taking Teaching Further programme (delivered in partnership with sector body the Education and Training Foundation (ETF)), which sees industry professionals working in sectors, such as engineering and computing, retrain as further education teachers £3m for high-quality mentor training programmes, designed and delivered by the ETF to support FE teachers to develop and progress.
‘Knackered’ teachers forced to work 70-hour weeks to ‘plug funding gap’
Research carried out by Ofsted indicates that pressures on school funding has forced head teachers to cut the numbers of teachers they employ and increased the workloads of some staff.
Making the cut: how schools respond when they are under financial pressure explores how schools make decisions when they’re under financial pressure and what impact this has on the quality of education.
The Department for Education has dismissed the findings which, they say, are based on a small and unrepresentative sample of schools.
Primary schools condemned for encouraging children to attend holiday ‘booster’ sessions for SATS revision
The Department for Education has
criticised schools for holding revision sessions during school holidays to help their pupils attain better SATS results. A DfE spokesman said that children shouldn’t spend their holidays revising for key stage one assessments. Government pulls plug on 5,000 post-GCSE qualifications
According to the
BBC, the Department for Education is removing funding from about 40% of the 12,000 post-16 qualifications as it prepares to introduce new T-levels in September.
Qualifications that attract few students won’t be funded. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is reported as saying finding the right course was like looking for “a needle in a haystack” and removing unpopular courses will help students find suitable courses.
Consultation on changes to subcontracting in further education
The Education and Skills Funding Agency has launched a six-week
consultation to obtain the sector’s views about proposed reforms for post-16 education and training delivered under subcontracting arrangements.
This consultation ends at midday on Tuesday 17 March 2020.
Increase in unfair dismissal cap and other rates
From Monday 6 April 2020, rates are going up for certain employment claims. A week's pay, for the basic award and statutory redundancy purposes, will increase from £525 to £538 for all dismissals that take place on or after Monday 6 April 2020.
Plus, the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases from £86,444 to £88,519.
Other increases appear in this
table. First UK GDPR fine for company who ‘carelessly’ stored customer data
The Information Commissioner has issued its first fine to a UK company following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018.
Doorstep Dispensaree Ltd was fined £275,000 for failing to ensure the security of special category data. The company, which supplies medicines to customers and care homes, left approximately half a million documents in unlocked containers at the back of its offices. The documents include names, addresses, dates of birth, NHS numbers, medical information, and prescriptions belonging to an unknown number of people.
Company cars – new advisory fuel rates from March 2020
HMRC has published
revised advisory fuel rates for company cars, applicable from Sunday 1 March 2020. The rates are to be used only where employers either reimburse employees for business travel in their company cars or require employees to repay the cost of fuel used for private travel. HMRC updates manual with IR35 changes
HMRC has recently updated its Employment Status Manual with new guidance on the off payroll working changes due to come into effect from Monday 6 April 2020.
In the section on ‘reasonable care’ in relation to status determination statements, HMRC confirms that it will ‘expect a higher degree of care to be taken by a large multi-national company with its own internal finance function than of a much smaller entity’.
The new regime applies to organisations that meet two or more of the following criteria:
Turnover above £10.2m
Total balance sheet assets above £5.1m
An average of more than 50 employees.
Government employee wins £400,000 for race and age discrimination
A female employee working in the Department for Work and Pensions has been awarded substantial compensation after a tribunal decided she had been the victim of a hostile environment because of her race and age. This included £42,800 for injury to her feelings, which is at the highest end of the scale and is only given in the most serious cases.
Ms Giwa-Amu was bullied. Colleagues used derogatory and racist language to describe her, suggested that she smelled, and undermined her confidence. She became ill and was dismissed six months later. The BBC has
covered the case.
The DWP has been ordered to contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission for diversity training and its permanent secretary Peter Scholfield must directly review her case.
‘Whistle-blower’ ordered to pay £170,000 after his claim was rejected
The Employment Appeals Tribunal has recently confirmed that an Employment Tribunal was entitled to order an employee to pay £170,000 in costs to his employer following the dismissal of his complaints of whistleblowing detriment.
The tribunal held that the surgeon had acted unreasonably in pursuing the claims when no reasonable and objective person looking at the evidence would have considered there to be an arguable case.
The case of
Brooks v Nottingham University Hospital is significant because costs aren’t usually awarded in an Employment Tribunal, whether a party wins or loses. Costs can only be awarded in specific circumstances, and this case provides useful guidance about when an order might be made. Are any of your staff having problems at home?
People are key to the success of any organisation. If your staff are struggling at home and in their personal lives, in terms of divorce, separation, relationship breakdown or difficulties regarding children, they won’t be effective at work. This can affect the efficiency of your school.
In this world where we should very much focus on the wellbeing of our people, we offer a free 30-minute session giving initial guidance and support on any of their family law issues to your employees, shareholders or directors. We’ll then signpost them to what they need, which could be counselling, mediation, or support from a family lawyer.
We believe it’s good to talk. We can work with you to help your people and your organisation.
Contact one of our experts for more information.
Read more – March 2020
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