Friday Update – 27 March 2015

This week I provide an update on the Deregulation Bill and how it will impact on schools, highlight the publication of updated statutory guidance for all schools on Keeping Children Safe in Education, statutory guidance for secondary schools on providing Careers Guidance and non-statutory guidance on Mental Health and Behaviour and improving counselling services in schools.

UPDATE ON THE DEREGULATION BILL
The Deregulation Bill was designed to lessen the burden of regulation in many areas of public life and is scheduled to receive Royal Assent before the dissolution of Parliament. The Bill contains a clause and a schedule on schools and these remove several powers and requirements as follows:

  • the power of the Secretary of State for Education to make regulations requiring maintained schools or local authorities to set performance targets;
  • the requirement for governing bodies to establish pupil behaviour principles, on which the Headteacher has had to base the school’s behaviour policy;
  • the requirement of schools to have home-school agreements;
  • the requirement on schools to produce paper copies of Ofsted reports, denominational inspection reports or reports by HMCI following certain types of complaint against a school.  Schools must still inform parents about the outcome of inspections.

UPDATED VERSION OF KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE IN EDUCATION
Yesterday the Department for Education issued an updated version of the statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’.  The document contains information on what schools should do and sets out the legal duties with which they must comply.  It should be read alongside statutory guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015’ which applies to all the schools, and departmental advice ‘What to do if you are worried a child is being abused 2015- Advice for practitioners’.

Governing bodies should ensure all staff in schools read at least part one of this guidance and I would anticipate the LA’s Schools HR Team will provide an update in due course.

STATUTORY GUIDANCE ON CAREERS GUIDANCE PROVIDED BY SCHOOLS FOR YEAR 8 TO YEAR 13 PUPILS
This statutory guidance outlines why schools (and local authorities that maintain pupil referral units) must secure independent careers guidance for young people.  What they must do to comply with their legal responsibilities in this area and the role of the Governing body and Headteacher in shaping the guidance and support offered by the school.

NON-STATUTORY MENTAL HEALTH AND BEHAVIOUR GUIDANCE
The DfE has recently published non-statutory advice clarifying the responsibility of schools in supporting children and young people whose behaviour may be related to an unmet mental health need. Alongside this guidance the DfE has also published advice on how to improve counselling services in primary and secondary schools. It sets out the Government’s expectation that over time it would expect to see all schools providing access to counselling services and recognises that effective counselling is part of a whole school approach to mental health and well-being.