0370 270 6000

Dramatic change for the education system set to continue in 2012

21 December 2011

As 2011 draws to a close with playgrounds silent until next term, it is time to reflect on the past years developments in education and look at what lies in store come 2012.

Academies full steam ahead

This past year, the Governments academies programme has taken off, with 1,463 open as of 1 December. Will the pace of conversions keep up? Yes - if the number in progress is anything to go by. There will undoubtedly be further controversy as plans announced to force poorly performing schools to convert under a sponsor will be met with stiff opposition in some areas. How this will work in practice if a school does not want to cooperate with their sponsor remains to be seen.

Power to the teachers

This past year we saw government plans set out in the White Paper The Importance of Teaching come to fruition in the form of a much debated bill. The bill gained royal assent on 15 November, though most of its provisions will not come into force until next year.

The act will give teachers the power to search pupils for items banned under the school rules and issue same-day detentions. Teachers will be better protected from false allegations by pupils and will have anonymity until charged. Exclusion appeal panels will be replaced by review panels with no power to direct reinstatement, which could result in far fewer appeals in 2012, but a greater risk of legal challenge.

Admissions and admission appeals

The new streamlined codes should come into force early next year, replacing the current 130 pages and 600 mandatory requirements in the current two codes. The Government promises the new code will make it easier for popular schools to take more pupils, ban local authorities from using area-wide 'lotteries' and improve the current in-year applications scheme. The new code will also give priority to children of school staff when a school is over-subscribed (if the school wishes). Will we see the best teachers flock to work at outstanding schools, leaving poorer-performing schools struggling to recruit?


Come January, Ofsted will judge schools under four criteria - the quality of teaching, leadership and management, behaviour and safety of pupils and the achievement of pupils, replacing the previous 27 headings. Will this change simply subsume the 27 headings underneath the four criteria? Or will there be a renewed focus on standards of teaching and school governance in line with the governments expectation?

Meeting the challenges head-on

It is clear that the Government is intent on numerous reforms over the next few years; consultations are underway on funding and performance management of teaching, a new system for SEN statementing is being trialled and there are plans to overhaul the curriculum. Few aspects of the educational system look to stay the same.

Schools will have to continue to find new funding streams and share resources by collaborating and partnering with other schools in their area. Challenges remain and are likely to get tougher, but as schools have already shown, they are more than ready to pull together to meet these demands and adapt to whatever 2012 has in store.

Training and events


EdCon2023: Planning for the future Online

We're delighted to offer you a complimentary invitation to our EdCon2023 online platform - a virtual event space where you will have the opportunity to hear from our education lawyers and HR experts.

View event

Focus on...


The role of benchmarking in setting pay in schools

The use of salary benchmarking data is common place in most sectors in the UK and it’s great to see that CST’s salary survey for school trusts is growing with a higher number of participating organisations and included job roles. This years’ survey includes over 2000 job roles and 147 participating organisations.


Legal updates

School complaint management - exploring a new way forward

There’s greater opportunity than ever for parents, carers and guardians to voice any concerns they have relating to their child’s education and for their concerns to be heard and to be taken seriously.



Virtual AGMs

This guidance has been prepared to support academy trusts (Trusts) who want to hold a fully virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) or a hybrid AGM, as we know that Trusts may want to be prepared for future disruption as well as having a general interest in holding more meetings virtually.



Setting up a trading subsidiary – a guide for academy trusts

We’re pleased to collaborate with Lloyds Bank, who recently asked us and audit and risk specialists Crowe UK to offer guidance that academy trusts would find helpful when considering setting up a trading subsidiary.


The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up