Key aspects of the DfE's revised regulations following the Grenfell Tower fire and wider work on fire safety standards.
The Department of Education has issued a call for evidence as part of its review of the Building Bulletin 100 ‘Design for Fire Safety in Schools’.
The BB100, initially published in 2007, is non-statutory guidance on fire safety for schools. It applies to nursery schools, primary and secondary schools, including sixth form colleges, academies and city technology colleges, special schools and pupil referral units. Whilst it is particularly relevant to designers, fire engineers, building control officers (or equivalent) and fire safety officers, it is also of interest to head teachers, governors, teaching staff and facilities and maintenance staff in their role as fire safety managers. (albeit the Fire Safety Risk Assessment: Educational Premises Guidance is likely to be more useful for advice on fire precautions).
BB100 provides technical advice on fire safety design for the erection, extension or material alteration of school buildings and the conversion of other building types to school use, to satisfy the requirements of the Building Regulations. It covers life safety (compliance with the Building Regulations), school-specific fire risks, property protection and general fire safety management.
Whilst reviews of BB100 have been completed before following the Grenfell Tower fire and wider work across government on fire safety standards, the Secretary of State for Education decided to revise and update BB100 to ensure it remains fit for purpose and aligns with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) wider review of fire safety.
An initial consultation was held from 8 March 2019 to 31 May 2019 as part of a technical review of BB100. A summary report on the responses to questions covered in the technical review can be found here.
Following receipt of feedback as part of the Technical Review, the Department of Education has issued a revised draft BB100 guide. Before finalising the revised guidance, the Department of Education are now consulting on the main changes as set out in the consultation document (link below).
The revised guidance includes:
Respondents have until 18 August 2021 to respond to the consultation and can do so by following this link.
Whilst this is a technical guide and therefore likely to be less helpful to schools in respect of the day to day management of fire safety, it is an important reference guide, particularly where there is material alteration/extension and conversion of school buildings being considered.
It is worth noting that the Fire Safety Bill currently before Parliament will reform the Fire Safety Order, and once the law is ratified and implemented, the Department of Education will consider whether and how the guidance should be further updated to reflect the new legislation. There is also anticipated to be further changes in fire safety law and it is likely this will also impact other fire safety management guidance issued for schools. Therefore, schools should look out for further developments on fire safety over the coming months.
Regardless of the outcome of ballots on industrial action, unless there is drastic change to funding for schools in relation to pay increases, it will be unusual to find any organisational budget that is not impacted by the current economic situation.
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.
As well as providing day-to-day support to help you focus on managing your settings, we also provide training and professional development on a range of topics to keep you and your staff up-to-date.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHCR) recently issued new, non-statutory guidance regarding the wearing of natural or protective hairstyles, specifically in reference to their representation in uniform, behaviour or standalone appearance policies.
Emma Hughes, head of HR services at Browne Jacobson, explains how CST’s updated executive pay report and the linked benchmarking service from XpertHR can help trust boards make robust decisions on pay.
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.
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. The guidance also applies to other meetings of the Members (known as General Meetings).
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.
Two directors of a construction company were fined after failing to ensure the safe removal of asbestos from a plot of land. On 14 and 15 November 2021, Directors Anthony Sumner and Neil Brown, of Waterbarn Limited were involved in the uncontrolled removal of asbestos material from a plot of land in Grasscroft, Oldham.