This academic year has seen the return of Ofsted inspections for schools, albeit with a slight interruption in December owing to Omicron. The majority of the autumn term, however, was a busy period for Ofsted and included the targeted inspection of formerly exempt schools.
This academic year has seen the return of a full schedule of Ofsted inspections for schools, albeit with a slight interruption in December owing to Omicron. The majority of the autumn term, however, was a busy period for Ofsted and included the targeted inspection of formerly exempt schools.
Outstanding schools will certainly have been feeling the heat. Amanda Spielman has spoken of halving the number of schools with this grade and statistics from last term broadly reflect this figure.
As legal advisors to schools, Browne Jacobson have noticed a marked increase in the number of instructions from schools seeking advice on their recent Ofsted inspection and the NAHT also continue to receive enquiries on this topic through their helpline.
One recurring complaint is that there is a lack of genuine consideration by Ofsted of the impact of COVID-19. Despite the additional text within the School Inspection Handbook and the standard lines added to reports which suggest the impact of the pandemic is taken into account, many schools’ experience is that the actual practical repercussions of operating a school in such times are not being fairly acknowledged as part of the inspection process.
For schools seeking advice following a particularly drastic grade change, a judgement of ineffective safeguarding has been a noticeable theme.
Clearly, no school wants to find itself in a position where it is necessary to challenge an Ofsted inspection. In general terms, we encourage schools to:
There will unfortunately still be occasions when schools are unhappy with the inspection process and/or outcome. Below are some practical pointers for members who find themselves in this position.
If you have any questions or require specific advice following a recent Ofsted inspection, please get in touch:
There’s been little evidence of interventions or financial management reviews this year and it appears the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has re-focussed on financial delivery. It’s also telling that there were no discernible changes to the reporting of financial irregularities in the Academies Trust Handbook 2022.
The Children’s Commissioner, Rachel De Souza, has recently published a report “Beyond the labels: a SEND system which works for every child, every time”, which she intends to sit alongside the DfE’s SEND Review (2019) and SEND Green Paper (2022) and which she hopes will put children’s voices at the heart of the government’s review of SEND system.
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. While most staff in schools and academies are conscious of their legal duties relating to complaints management, many are struggling to cope with such a significant increase in the volume of complaints they must manage.
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 DfE has published new guidance and opened the application process for window two of the Trust Capacity Fund (TCaF) for 2022/2023, with a fund of £86m in trust capacity funding focused particularly on education investment areas.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was established in March 2015. We now have its report. As you would expect with such a broad scope, the report is long and makes a number of far-reaching recommendations. In this article, Dai Durbridge highlights seven of the 20 recommendations, sets out how they could impact on schools and suggests what steps to take now.
Browne Jacobson’s education team has been named as winner of the ‘Legal Advisors to Education Institutions’ category at the Education Investor Awards 2022 for a record sixth time.
Since the new Suspensions and Exclusions Statutory Guidance was published, we have received a lot of questions about the use of managed moves. For the first time, the Statutory Guidance does explain what a managed move is, but in relatively broad terms and does not cover the mechanics of how a managed move should operate.
Over 3000 young people from across the UK and Ireland took part in a virtual legal careers insight event, aimed at making the legal profession more diverse.
Holly Quirk, an associate barrister in Browne Jacobson’s Manchester office, was awarded the Legal Professional of the Year Award at this year’s Manchester Young Talent Awards.
The risk of assault against staff is, sadly, something that all schools need to consider carefully. Here one legal expert explains what they can do to protect staff and ensure they fulfil their duty of care.
Browne Jacobson’s education team has again been confirmed as a national powerhouse after securing five Tier 1 rankings relating to Education in the latest edition of Legal 500 and maintaining a Band 1 UK-wide ranking for Education in Chambers & Partners UK 2023.
Created at the end of the Brexit transition period, Retained EU Law is a category of domestic law that consists of EU-derived legislation retained in our domestic legal framework by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. This was never intended to be a permanent arrangement as parliament promised to deal with retained EU law through the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (the “Bill”).
In this article we set out the criteria, expectations and support schools should consider if notified they fall within this new category.
The words “Grammar schools” are once again being whispered in government and the question of whether the creation of new grammar schools will finally be implemented as a central focus to DFE policy has re-surfaced.
As a result of a recent Charity Commission legal action, the former trustee of a Welsh charity was ordered to pay over £117,000 to Wrexham charities which support cancer patients.