Confirmation of changes to statutory policies for schools – Friday 11 October 2019

This week I highlight DfE confirmation of changes to statutory policies for schools, information on the new T Level study programmes being introduced from September next year and publication of a guide for primary headteachers on relationships education.

Confirmation of changes to statutory policies for schools
As you are aware a couple of weeks ago, the DfE updated its ‘Statutory policies for schools and academy trusts’ guidance to introduce new statutory policies, remove the statutory status of some policies, make some existing policies statutory for academies, and outline recommended review cycles.

Policies that are now statutory
The following policies have been added to the list of documents schools must have:

  • Protection of biometric information of children in schools and colleges
  • NQT
  • Children with health needs who cannot attend school
  • Designated teacher for LAC and previously LAC – only a requirement for maintained schools
  • School exclusion
  • First aid in schools

The DfE recommends that the policies are reviewed annually and has confirmed that schools should exercise their professional judgement in determining which policies are standalone and which can be combined within existing policies and documents.

Policies that are now also statutory for academies
The following policies are now statutory for academies as well as maintained schools:

  • Capability of staff
  • Register of business interests of headteachers and governors

Policies that are no longer statutory

  • Home-school agreement – this requirement was removed in January 2016.
  • Teacher appraisal – while the requirement to have a separate teacher appraisal policy has been removed, schools are still required to have a capability of staff policy.
  • Freedom of information – while it’s no longer statutory to have a freedom of information policy, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, all schools must have a publication scheme.

Recommended review cycles
In the 2014 guidance, the review cycles of some policies were listed as ‘for the governing board or headteacher to determine’. While this is still the case, the DfE has clarified that they recommend an annual review cycle. This applies to the following policies and documents:

  • Charging and remissions
  • School complaints
  • Capability of staff
  • Staff discipline, conduct and grievance
  • Allegations of abuse against staff
  • Supporting pupils with medical conditions
  • Sex and relationships education
  • Behaviour in schools
  • Behaviour principles written statement
  • Premises management documents
  • Governors’ allowances
  • Instrument of government
  • Register of business interests

Updated information on the introduction of new T Level study programmes
This week the DfE updated information about the new T Level study programmes that will be introduced from September 2020.  It sets out:

  • what T Levels are
  • how and when they will be introduced
  • what they will cover
  • how qualifications will be awarded
  • how education providers can get involved in delivery

The information on the website was updated following the publication of the T Levels action plan 2019 and the launch of the new T Levels campaign.

Engaging parents with relationships education policy
From September 2020, relationships education will be compulsory for primary schools. The DfE had produced guidance for primary headteachers on engaging parents on this subject. It offers advice, tips and case studies on how to carry out effective parental engagement including where to go for help and the role governors and trustees can play in the engagement process.