Welcome to the May 2014 edition of the Stone King Education Bulletin. This monthly e-newsletter keeps you up to date with the latest news from the Education sector and helps you find out about upcoming workshops and seminars!
This edition focuses on: • The Stone King Education Blog • Our Intellectual Property Team • DfE Has Re-Issued Its Running A School: Myths And Facts Publication • Academy Accounting Officers Beware • Local Government Pension Scheme – Amended Discretions Policies Required By 1 July 2014 • Re-Constitution Of Maintained School Governing Bodies • The New Governor Handbook Mark 3 • Supporting Pupils In School With Medical Conditions • Admission Of Summer-Born Children To Primary School • Consumer Contracts Regulations
The Stone King Education Blog Our monthly e-bulletin is now complemented by the Stone King Education Blog where we aim to publish articles of interest as and when they arise. We invite everyone to subscribe to the blog at http://www.stoneking.co.uk/blogs/education-law-blog and to add their comments about things that catch their eye. This bulletin will then gather together the less ephemeral material and will continue to be available to those who prefer not to join the blogging community.
Our Intellectual Property Team We have expanded our intellectual property team, dealing with all aspects of IP including websites, social media, school records, freedom of information and data protection. This is in response to the ever increasing volume of advice that we are asked to give schools on these difficult and challenging issues. With six lawyers in the team we have the capacity and expertise to handle any project, large and small. For more details of what we can offer, please go here or contact Brian Miller
DfE Has Re-Issued Its Running A School: Myths And Facts Publication This note was first published in January 2014. It’s introduction says “This document addresses some common misconceptions about the activities schools are required to undertake. It seeks to tackle recurring myths and also includes some new myths on changes happening during the 2013 to 2014 academic year.” It is always worth reading and can be found online here.
Academy Accounting Officers Beware All academy accounting officers will have received a 5 page letter from the Chief Executive of the EFA which is clearly intended, to put it neutrally, to raise awareness about key issues that concern EFA. It deals with fraud and irregularity, transactions with connected parties and special payments outside of the usual planned activity of academy trusts. The letter seems to have two purposes. One is the entirely proper one of ensuring that accounting officers, normally the headteacher of a stand-alone academy, are fully alive to the possibilities of error in these important areas. The other, perhaps, has a more political thrust. The letter states that “accountability for academies is substantially stronger and tougher than for maintained schools” and that would seem to be a riposte to the gathering wave of media comment about the impossibility of the large cohort of academies being satisfactorily monitored by central government. That is as much a political battle as anything with DfE seeing a need to give out a strong message that contrasts the effectiveness of EFA against (unspoken) the failures of local authorities. Be that as it may, academies and those running them cannot afford to risk ending up on the wrong end of an EFA investigation. The letter makes the point that the accounting officer carries personal responsibility – we have written about this previously – and, in the context of ex gratia payments, that the trust may be required to reimburse EFA if payments are made without requisite consent. For further advice please get in touch with your usual Stone King contact or with Geoffrey Davies or Graham Burns.
Local Government Pension Scheme – Amended Discretions Policies Required By 1 July 2014 In our February Employment Update we drew attention to the fact that all organisations which employ individuals who are members of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) were required to have a policy in place which determines how the employer will exercise certain discretions afforded to it under the rules of the scheme and we drew attention to the need to amend employer’s discretion policies as a result of the changes in April 2014 to the LGPS. Scheme employers are required to submit a copy of their policy to the administering authority of the relevant LGPS fund by 1 July 2014 so time is now very short for those who have not yet complied. We can assist with updating your discretions policy and advising as to the consequences of the amendments. For further information and advice please contact Jean Boyle.
Re-Constitution Of Maintained School Governing Bodies By 1st September 2015, all maintained schools are required to reconstitute their governing bodies to confirm to the new structure that has been an option since September 2012. Over the course of the next few months, schools need to turn their minds to how this is to be achieved and need to do so in the light of new statutory guidance on the subject here. Read more
The New Governor Handbook Mark 3 DfE issued an amended Handbook in March of this year and in May issued a further version. The key changes reflect the changes being made to the composition of governing bodies which is the subject of a separate article but there are other changes of significance. Read more
Supporting Pupils In School With Medical Conditions DfE has published its finalised guidance on supporting pupils with medical conditions. This follows a recent consultation and the resulting document, whilst expanded somewhat and re-ordered in places, substantially follows the consultation draft. It can be found here. Read more
Admission Of Summer-Born Children To Primary School In July 2013, DfE published new guidance on when children should start school. This was to clarify a confusion that clearly did exist about the right for parents to defer entry into school to the beginning of the term in which the child reached compulsory school age. Read more
Consumer Contracts Regulations The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 come into force on 13 June 2014. They change (amongst other things) the previous cancellation and return periods and time in which refunds need to be given where there is a supply of goods and/or services (including digital content) to consumers. They therefore affect all on and offline terms. There are also now additional information requirements which need to be given to consumers, as set out in Schedule 2 to the Regulations. So, for instance, if you are selling school uniforms to parents, either from a school shop or from a website, these Regulations will affect you. For a detailed summary of how these may affect you and your school, read more
Upcoming Events 06.06.14 - Academies Annual Update IN ASSOCIATION WITH FASNA/DFE: 17.06.14 - FASNA Summer Conference 2014 24.06.14 - Lifting the Lid (Exeter) Considering converting to Academy Status 27.06.14 - Exploring Academy Status 01.07.14 - Lifting the Lid (Somerset) Considering converting to Academy Status 09.07.14 - Lifting the Lid (South Yorkshire) Considering converting to Academy Status
Click here to view all our Upcoming Events
This publication is for guidance only. The law and practice referred to has been paraphrased or prĂŠcised and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you would like to be removed from our mailing list, please click unsubscribe ÂŠ Stone King LLP 2014