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Last updated on 4 August 2020
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Get ahead of the curve and read our comprehensive round-up of changes in education that affect you this year.

4 August 2020: We've updated the section on changes to GCSEs and A-levels to reflect Ofqual's final decisions, and added a new section on changes to reporting procedures for deaths related to Covid-19.

Coronavirus: school reopening in autumn

Due to the changing impact of coronavirus, there'll be quite a few changes to how you'll need to operate in September. This includes:

  • Opening to all pupils - attendance will be mandatory in autumn and the usual rules on attendance will apply
  • Increasing the size of pupil 'bubbles' so everyone can return to school
  • New measures to responding to infections
  • New government expectations for curriculum, which means you'll likely need to modify the curriculum substantially in the autumn

For more on these areas, and other changes in autumn, see our article here.

Keeping Children Safe in Education: updates from September

The 2020 version of the statutory safeguarding guidance will be in force from 1 September. Find out what the changes are in our summary.

The most important things to know are:

  • There's additional guidance for all staff on mental health, child criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation
  • There's also new guidance for headteachers, DSLs and governors on supporting children with social workers and those who require mental health support
  • You should follow your allegations against staff procedure where someone may have been involved in an incident outside of school which didn't involve children, but could have an impact on their suitability to work with them (e.g. domestic violence)
  • You should also use this procedure when allegations are made against supply staff, even if they're employed by an agency

Ofsted to conduct 'school visits, not inspections' during autumn term

Ofsted has said it won't be resuming routine inspections until January 2021 (though the exact timing is still under review).

Instead, it'll be carrying out school visits from late September 2020. It'll pilot these visits to volunteer schools throughout September.

Find out what these visits will (and won't) focus on in our article.

Teacher pay rises 

From September:

  • The minimum of the main pay range will be raised by 5.5%
  • The maximum of the main pay range and the minima and maxima of all other pay ranges and allowances will be increased by 2.75%

There's no separate pay grant this year, and the government is expecting you to cover the costs from your existing budget. 

This'll apply to all teachers employed under the STPCD. Get up to speed on the details here.

Universal coronavirus catch-up premium

You'll receive a one-off catch-up premium for the 2020/21 academic year to help pupils catch up for lost learning.

Read our article to find out how the premium will be allocated, what you can use the funding for and how you'll be held to account by Ofsted. 

Year 7 catch-up premium discontinued

The Department for Education (DfE) announced in June that the year 7 catch-up premium will be discontinued.

Instead, pupils will be provided for under the low prior attainment factor as part of the national funding formula [Tes - free sign-up required].

Reception baseline assessment delayed

The DfE confirmed that statutory introduction of the reception baseline assessment will be delayed until September 2021 due to coronavirus.

If you've opted to take part in the early adopter year, you'll be able to carry out the assessment after October half term 2020, but none of the data collected will be used for the progress measure.

'Grace period' for introducing new relationships, sex and health education (RSE) curriculum

The new RSE curriculum will still be compulsory from September 2020, but if you aren't ready:

  • You can start to deliver the curriculum from the start of summer term 2021 (but no later)
  • You should still try to start teaching it as soon as possible – the DfE suggests taking a phased approach if needed, for example prioritising curriculum content on mental health and wellbeing

Read our summary of the DfE's 'grace period' arrangements here.

Governor/trustee visits and meetings

While school visits are possible, the DfE says says these should happen outside school hours where possible.

Use your risk assessment to determine how you'll organise governor/trustee visits and when in-person school visits can resume. Once you've decided, inform your board of your plans. 

Changes to GCSEs and A levels in summer 2021

Following a consultation, Ofqual has announced how exam boards should run GCSEs and A-levels in the upcoming school year.

These measures should help you plan for exams and assessments next year despite the disruption caused by coronavirus and the potential for ongoing public health safeguards.

Read about Ofqual's decisions for each subject and level in appendix A of its consultation outcome. Keep an eye out for more information from your exam boards about how these changes will work in practice.

For BTECs and other technical and vocational qualifications, a separate consultation for how these might change is ongoing.

Academies Financial Handbook: updates from September

Changes affecting your academy include: 

  • Trusts must publish information on the number of employees whose benefits exceed £100,000
  • Trusts are required to appoint an audit and risk committee
  • Trusts must complete the school resource management self-assessment tool annually

Note that if you are a: 

  • Single academy trust, you need to implement some of these changes yourself - other changes will fall to your board of trustees to implement (including the governance and audit and risk committee sections)
  • School within a multi academy trust, your responsibility for these changes depends on which financial responsibilities are delegated to you. Different trusts have different levels of centralised finance. Similarly, we know some school-based staff will do some trust-level work. You'll know best which of these changes affect your day-to-day, and which are just useful to be aware of

Read our article for all the changes.

Faith schools: changes to admission arrangements due to coronavirus

Apply for a variation

If your oversubscription criteria prioritises applicants based on membership or practice of a faith, evidenced through regular attendance at a place of worship and/or at communal worship, your admission arrangements for the September 2021 intake may have been affected by the closure of places of worship due to coronavirus.

If this is the case, seek a variation to your arrangements so parents are clear on what they need to do to meet the relevant criteria.

Apply for this variation as soon as possible – ideally the varied arrangements should be in place by 12 September.

Find out how to do this in our article.

If you and your board want to remove this variation for 2022

After your variation is approved, you'll need to consult on the removal of the variation if you don't want it to apply from 2022 onward. You’ll need to do this for 6 weeks between 1 October 2020 and 31 January 2021.

Maintained schools: changes to financial regulations in 2021

These updates are outlined in the government's response to the 2019 consultation on financial transparency of LA maintained schools. Read our summary here.

Submit a recovery plan to your LA if your deficit rises above 5%

When: this will apply when deficits are measured as at 31 March 2021 

5% is the minimum deficit threshold at which you'll be required to submit a recovery plan. However, your LA will still be able to request one for any deficit up to 5%.

This is set out in the government response to proposal 6.

Publish the number of individuals earning over £100k in £10k bandings

When: from 1 January 2021  

You can publish contextual information alongside this, but you won’t be required to. 

This is set out in the government response to proposal 7.

Publish a link to your school's financial benchmarking website

When: from 1 January 2021 

You'll be required to publish a link on your school website to your financial benchmarking website, where your consistent financial reporting (CFR) statement of income, expenditure and balances is already published. 

This is instead of having to publish your CFR statement annually on your school website. 

This is set out in the government response to proposal 8.

Upcoming changes in 2021/22

Starting from 2021/22, you'll also need to:
  • Provide your LA with 3-year budget forecasts
  • Attach a list of related party transactions (RPTs) to your response to the question in the Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS) about your arrangements for managing RPTs  

New reporting procedures for deaths related to COVID-19

In the event that the death of a staff member is related to coronavirus, you'll need to consider whether you need to report it, and to whom.

Though not a legal requirement, the DfE is requesting that you report all suspected or confirmed COVID-19-related deaths. 

And the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has clarified when COVID-19 deaths need to be reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).

You'll find details in this article

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