Confirmation of National Schools Commissioner – Friday 26 April 2019

This week I report on the appointment of the National Schools Commissioner, the Upskirting law that came into force on 12 April 2019  and funding to provide sanitary products extended to primary schools from early next year.

National Schools Commissioner appointed
The Government has appointed Dominic Herrington as its permanent National Schools Commissioner. Mr Herrington, also the Regional Schools Commissioner for south London and south east England, was appointed on an interim basis last September to succeed Sir David Carter but will now take on the job permanently.

He will also oversee “operational changes to the work of regional schools commissioners in the coming months to help schools, academy trusts and local authorities work with them by creating an even more joined-up team in each of the eight RSC regions”.

Upskirting now a crime
‘Upskirting’ – the act of taking a picture or video under another person’s clothing without their consent – has been made a criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison, under the new Voyeurism Act.

Almost 100 cases of upskirting have been reported to the police in the last year, including incidents in schools.

Schools will need to review their Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy in line with the new law and make amendments/additions as appropriate.

Government funding to provide sanitary products in primary schools
The Government committed to fund sanitary products in England’s secondary schools and colleges in last month’s Spring Statement, and the Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi has now confirmed access to sanitary products will also be fully-funded by the DfE in all primary schools across the country from early 2020.

Extending the programme to primary schools follows feedback from teachers, students and parents, and the DfE is now working with key stakeholders in the public and private sector to roll-out the programme in a cost-effective manner.