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Last reviewed on 11 August 2021
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Get up to speed on the key changes that are likely to affect your school this year, and find resources to help you take action.

The last school year was a dramatic one, with schools adapting quickly to fluctuating levels of lockdown and the new experience of remote learning.

We can't be sure what this coming year will hold where coronavirus is concerned, but we do know about some of the major changes that are headed your way. 

Find out more below about what's changing, and what you need to do to prepare. Click 'save for later' in the upper right-hand corner if you'd like to get email alerts when we update this article with new information or resources.

Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) updated for 2021

The DfE has updated KCSIE - the changes came into force on 1 September 2021.

There aren't any new statutory requirements, but there is additional guidance on key issues including:

  • Safer recruitment processes and procedures
  • Sexual harassment and harmful sexual behaviours (more on this below)
  • The role of the designated safeguarding lead (DSL)

Take your next steps

Greater focus on sexual harassment

Ofsted's recent review of sexual abuse in schools highlighted the extent of this issue, and the work that schools (and society as a whole) still need to do to combat harmful attitudes and behaviours. 

With a greater focus on tackling this both in the new version of KCSIE and in Ofsted's updated inspection handbooks (see below), we expect this to be a critical focus this academic year. 

Your school won't be able to solve this overnight - an effective approach requires long-term focus and a real cultural shift, but some of our resources can help you take action.

Take your next steps

Changes to Ofsted inspection procedures

Ofsted updated its inspection handbooks in response to:

  • Its research on sexual harassment in schools
  • The impact of coronavirus

The new handbooks include a greater focus on understanding your school's approach to addressing sexual harassment, both in your curriculum and more widely. 

Take your next steps

New EYFS framework in force from 1 September

The new framework includes:

  • Greater emphasis on literacy and language development
  • A focus on developing greater depth of understanding in maths
  • New early learning goals (ELGs) linked to self-regulation
  • More detailed definitions to each ELG, to support more consistent assessment
  • Expanded definitions of the prime and specific areas of learning

Take your next steps

Changes to the Academy Trust Handbook (formerly the Academies Financial Handbook)

The updated handbook includes new requirements, including those around:

  • Cybercrime risk
  • ESFA approval of severance payments
  • Appointment of trustees

There are also minor updates, and updates to non-statutory guidance. 

The new handbook came into effect on 1 September.

Take your next steps

Changes to school admissions from September

The DfE updated the School Admissions Code to:

  • Clarify and improve the process for admitting children to school outside of the normal admissions round (i.e. in-year admissions)
  • Provide clarification and additional guidance on fair access protocols
  • Provide additional information for admissions authorities to help them manage their responsibilities effectively

Take your next steps

  • Get up to speed on what's changed
  • Update your admissions policy - you can use our model to help you (it's been updated in line with the changes)

New induction arrangements for early career teachers

As well as replacing the term 'newly qualified teacher' with 'early career teacher' (ECT), there are new requirements for statutory induction.

Schools with ECTs will need to:

  • Deliver a 2-year induction programme underpinned by the Early Career Framework
  • Provide an induction mentor to support ECTs
  • Formally assess ECTs twice
  • Provide a 5% timetable reduction in the second year of induction, in addition to the 10% reduction in the first year that NQTs are already entitled to

Take your next steps

More changes on the horizon

We're anticipating more changes over the summer term, ahead of the new academic year:

We'll update this article, and our other resources, when more information is available.

The government is also consulting on 2 issues that are going to lead to changes in the slightly longer term:

Behaviour management

Following the Timpson review of school exclusion, the government asked for evidence support its review of guidance for schools on behaviour management and exclusions. 

The consultation closed on 10 August.

Reforms to the national funding formula (NFF)

The first of a 2-stage consultation opened on 8 July, and includes proposals on:

  • The scope of the NFF to provide funding directly to schools through the 'hard' formula (if you need a refresher on 'hard' vs 'soft' formulas in the NFF, read section 3 of our explainer)
  • The approach to funding schools experiencing significant growth in pupil numbers
  • Transitioning to the hard formula
  • How the NFF can support MATs
  • Reforms to funding for LA central services
  • How the hard formula will impact provision for pupils with SEND
  • The role of schools forums
  • Moving to a consistent funding year across maintained schools and academies

Respond to the consultation by 30 September.


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