Insights from the Schools’ Workforce Policy and Employment Law Conference

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Here at SPS we like to keep abreast of the latest developments in HR and Education so imagine our excitement when this national conference from the Local Government Association came up. With speakers from government, the legal profession and colleagues in the field here’s what we learnt:

 Teacher Recruitment and Retention

First off, we were treated to an update from the DfE and the measures the government is taking to address the current recruitment and retention pressures impacting the sector. Key concerns being addressed are:

  • Increasing numbers of teachers leaving the profession, particularly in first 5 years and particular strain within the secondary sector, STEM and EBacc subjects and within costal and deprived areas. 
  • ‘work readiness’ of NQTs

 Workload and work life balance are known to be contributory factors prompting a commitment from Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, to prioritise a review of teacher workload and a commitment to a period of stability -  no further policy changes will be announced during this parliament.

 Current DfE workstreams:

  • Review / simplify multiple entry routes into teaching & whether current training schemes are fit for purpose
  • Additional financial and practical support for those in early years of teaching
  • Initiatives to encourage teachers to return to classroom – particularly after a career break
  • Advice and measures to encourage schools to embrace flexible working -  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/flexible-working-in-schools;
  • Launch of a Workload toolkit for schools (currently being tested)

 Apprenticeships in Schools

  • Great news…. Post graduate teaching apprenticeship standard now approved for delivery. 
  • Good news…There’s a TA standard in development
  • Important news… Please remember that Levy contributions expire after 24months.  Failing to make use of the levy could potentially amount to £4m being lost nationally each month. Yikes!
  • And look out for revised guidance from the DfE on apprenticeships in schools to be launched later this year – current guidance available here;

 Employment Law Update

With a practical review of the latest employment law cases we were once again reminded of the importance of considering alternatives to suspension particularly for professional post-holders. Its important these decisions are well informed, evidenced and recorded. In the event of suspension, the reasoning must be made clear to the employee.

We also revisited the employer’s duty of care, particularly in relation to responding to concerns raised and calls for support made by staff. Again, due consideration of the issues raised, and appropriate action taken.

 

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