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Back to school - preparing for the reopening of schools in September - 29 June 2020

1 July 2020

This webinar took place on Monday 29th June 2020 and is now available on-demand. The content in this recording was correct as of the original webinar date. For the latest information please view our Back to School toolkit for employment and HR >

Schools in England were closed other than to the children of key workers and children who are classified as vulnerable from 20th March as part of the management of the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the relaxation of lockdown measures many primary schools in England began a phased reopening for pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 from 1st June and secondary schools have started to provide some time in school for Years 10 and 12 pupils from 15th June.

However, while the government has said primary schools could welcome back additional pupils this term where there is considered to be capacity to do so, the government’s original ambition for all primary school children to return to school before the summer for a month has now been abandoned and the Secretary of State for Education has said that the government is now “working to bring all children back to school in September”.

In this webinar Browne Jacobson’s Head of Education, Mark Blois discussed with colleagues Stephanie McGarry, Ian Deakin, Emma Hughes and Julia Green the key legal and HR issues facing schools planning for reopening in September and we shared the lessons learned from our extensive working with clients in relation to the phased reopening of schools to date.

In particular, this webinar focused on the most important considerations around:

  • health and safety in school
  • employer obligations and leadership support
  • parental expectations and concerns

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on-demand webinar

Our speakers

Mark Blois

Mark Blois

Partner and Head of Education

Mark Blois specialises in advice to schools, colleges, and local authorities on the full range of legal issues, both contentious and non-contentious including changes of category, re-organisations, governance, commercial arrangements, special educational needs, disability discrimination, admissions, exclusions and safeguarding.

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Julia Green

Julia Green

Partner

Julia specialises in education law advice to schools, academies and colleges including statutory conversions of all types and property issues ranging from easements to development agreements.

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Stephanie Coates

Stephanie McGarry

Partner

Stephanie specialises in regulatory law with a particular focus on the issues affecting the education sector. Stephanie advises on policy drafting ranging from consumer protection to mental health and wellbeing.

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Emma Hughes

Emma Hughes

Head of HR Services

Emma is the Head of HR Services and manages the team responsible for providing HR consultancy services to a range of clients across multiple sectors.

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Ian Deakin

Ian Deakin

Partner

Ian acts across the full spectrum of employment law issues, including day to day advice and employment tribunal litigation. Ian has a particular interest in TUPE transfers and Service Provision Changes, including insourcing and outsourcing. Ian has worked on a number of cases for our education clients including recently successfully defending a claim against a MAT for race discrimination and unfair dismissal, and another against a school for age discrimination.
Ian has also assisted a government department in managing an employment tribunal claim that led to the exit of a difficult employee. In 2016/17 Ian was a Non-Executive Director at the White Rose Academy Trust and regularly presents webinars and seminars on employment related matters.

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Focus on...

Published articles

Key steps to avoid falling foul of disability discrimination laws

The law around disability discrimination against pupils is not straightforward – but the reputational risk, let alone costs, of falling foul of the law are huge, so it’s worth upskilling staff whenever possible, as these two lawyers outline.

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Employment Law – Harpur Trust v Brazel – Implications for schools webinar

On 20 July 2022, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited judgment in the case of Harpur Trust v Brazel, upholding the decision of the Court of Appeal. For those of you familiar with this case, you will know that it concerns the statutory leave requirements for part-time and part-year workers. For schools and academies whose workforce consists of a variety of types of part-time and part-year workers, this case is one that must be understood before any changes are applied. Come and join Emma Hughes, Head of HR Services as she puts questions to Ian Deakin, Employment Partner, and Sarah Linden, Senior Associate.

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Press releases

Leading education lawyers play major role as DfE announces 10,000th academy conversion

The Department for Education (DfE) have announced that the conversion of Donisthorpe Primary School in Leicestershire on 1st September marked the 10,000th academy conversion.

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Guides

How to carry out the KCSiE online checks FAQs

There is (understandably) some confusion about the steps schools and trusts need to take to discharge the new online check duty set out in paragraph 220 of KCSIE. I can’t completely clarify all of it for you, but I can help you find a sensible route through. These FAQs are a good place to start.

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The opinions expressed on this video are provided for the purposes of general interest and information and should not be relied upon. They contain only summaries of aspects of the subject matter at the time of publishing and do not provide comprehensive statements of the law. They do not constitute legal advice and do not provide a substitute for it. So why not talk to us and seek advice that's tailored to you? You can look up one of our experts on this website or call on 0370 270 6000.

Mark Blois

Mark Blois

Partner and Head of Education

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