Back to School Update September 2022

Dear Colleagues

I hope that you have all had a very enjoyable and relaxing holiday and are ready for the academic year ahead. I would like to think that after the last two and a half years of turmoil due to a Global Pandemic we can look forward positively to the next year. However, with the current financial crisis and excessive rises in fuel and food costs many of our children, young people and their families are going to require additional support over the coming months.

We also need to be very aware of the impact fuel costs and additional staff salary costs are going to have on school budgets and ultimately how much funding is available in our schools to support our SEND students.

In this newsletter I have included all updates and information that has been circulated throughout the summer ready for the start of term.

Ofsted – Changes to inspection handbooks for September 2022

Ofsted has published updated inspection handbooks for all their education remits. The main changes are:

  • Impact of COVID-19 – COVID-19 continues to have an impact on early years settings, schools, and further education providers, and is likely to affect how they make decisions for some time. However, education providers are moving on from an emergency response to the pandemic and returning to more usual ways of working. To reflect this, relevant paragraphs regarding temporary COVID-19 measures have now been incorporated into the main sections of each of the handbooks, to make it clear that inspectors will continue to take account of issues that providers may be facing
  • Transitional arrangements – When the education inspection framework (EIF) was introduced in September 2019 it was recognised that the new focus on the curriculum would mean schools and FE providers might want to change their approach – and would need time to do so. Transitional arrangements were therefore included within the ‘Good’ grade criteria for the quality of education judgement. The transitional arrangements have now been removed from the updated handbooks.
  • Graded and ungraded inspections – The updated school inspection handbook also sees Section 5 inspections now referred to as ‘graded inspections’ and Section 8 inspections of good and outstanding schools called ‘ungraded inspections’. The purpose of each inspection type and how they are carried out remains unchanged. The change in name is simply aimed at promoting a better understanding of the types of inspection Ofsted conducts and why, especially among parents.
  • Enhanced inspection of colleges – The updated further education and skills handbook sets out how Ofsted will enhance its full inspections of further education colleges, sixth form colleges and designated institutions, from September 2022. This will include a new narrative sub-judgement on how well colleges are contributing to skills needs.
  • Structural changes to the EY inspection handbook – In the early years inspection handbook, we have added a new part, which includes guidance on how to apply the EIF in specific contexts and provisions, such as childminders and out-of-school settings. There is no change to inspection policy. However, we have taken the opportunity to consider some of the terminology we use in the handbook, and have revised this to provide greater clarity for Ofsted inspectors and the sector.

You can find further information in a blog written by Christopher Russell, Ofsted National Director, Education.

Ofsted – Inspecting schools: guide for maintained and academy schools – Ofsted – 1st September

This guide gives a summary of what schools should expect and what they need to do as part of an Ofsted inspection. Schools can use this guide to help them understand the inspection process, including timings, notice that we give, judgements that we make and what happens after the visit.

Ofsted – Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills

This document has been updated to reflect changes that have been made to Keeping Children Safe in Education – September 2022.

DfE – Behaviour in schools – Updated 1st September

This publication provides advice to schools on behaviour in schools and the related legal duties of headteachers, and members of staff. It includes guidance on support for pupils to behave well and the powers of staff when responding to misbehaviour. This non-statutory guidance should not be taken as a complete or definitive statement of the law nor as a substitute for the relevant legislation. Legal advice should be sought as appropriate. It is for individual schools to develop their own best practice for managing behaviour.

You can find specific information regarding students with SEND on:

Pages 14 and 15: Behaviour expectations and pupils with Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND)

Pages 19 and 20: Responding to the behaviour of pupils with Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND).

DfE – Keeping Children Safe in Education – 1st September 2022

The latest version of Keeping Children Safe in Education was published ready for the start of the new term. It is very similar to the ‘for information’ version posted in May 2022. Changes to address grammatical errors or for clarity have been made. A new paragraph has been inserted at paragraph 94, so all paragraphs after that have been re-numbered.

Throughout the document the term “child-on-child abuse” is now used instead of “peer-on peer abuse”

The key updates are:

Part 1: Safeguarding Information for all staff – New paragraph setting out that children may not feel ready or know how to tell someone they are being abused

Domestic abuse added to the list of safeguarding issues that all staff should be aware of. The guidance makes it clear that domestic abuse:

  • Can be, but is not limited to, psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional
  • Can impact on children through what they may see, hear, or experience at home and/or within their own intimate relationships

Part 2: The Management of Safeguarding – New content emphasises that governors and trustees should receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection training at induction and then at regular intervals

Updated guidance clearly states that being subjected to harassment, violence and/or abuse, may breach children’s rights as set out in the Hunan Rights Act

Sets out the significance of the Equality Act to school and college safeguarding. It also refers to the Public Sector Equality Duty for education settings

Additional guidance on online safety has been added to state that governing bodies and proprietors should regularly review the effectiveness of college filters and monitoring systems. They should ensure that the leadership team and relevant staff are:

  • Aware of and understand the systems in place
  • Manage them effectively
  • Know how to escalate concerns when identified

Schools and colleges should communicate with parent carers to reinforce the importance of children being safe online

Guidance now emphasises the importance of providing LGBTQ+ young people with a safe space for them to speak out or share their concerns with members of staff

Part 3: Safer Recruitment: Updated guidance clarifies that a CV should only be accepted alongside a full application form and is not sufficient on its own to support safer recruitment

Information has been added to highlight that settings should consider online searches as part of their due diligence checks on shortlisted candidates

Part 4: Allegations made against/concerns raised in relation to teachers – Updates make it clear that learning lessons applies to all cases, not just those which are concluded and found to be substantiated

Information has been updated to make it clear that a low-level concerns policy should contain a clear procedure for confidentially sharing concerns. College should decide who low level concerns are initially shared with. The Principal will ultimately make the final decision of how to respond

Guidance also clarifies that low-level concerns which are share about supply staff and contractors should be notified to their employers

Part 5: Child on child sexual violence and sexual harassment – This section has been expanded to incorporate guidance previously covered in the separate document “Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges”

It also provides new information, emphasising:

  • The importance of explaining to young people that the law is in place to protect rather than criminalise them
  • The importance of understanding intra-familial harms, and any necessary support for siblings following incidents
  • The need for schools and colleges to be part of discussions with statutory safeguarding partners

DfE – Suspension and Permanent Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England, including pupil movement – 1st September 2022

The following are a list of updates:

  • Headteachers may cancel an exclusion that has not been reviewed by the governing board. This practice is sometimes known as withdrawing/rescinding a suspension or permanent exclusion. If this occurs, parents, the governing board and the local authority should be notified, and if relevant, the social worker and VSH. Further information of other actions that should take place after an exclusion is cancelled is set out in paragraph 13.
  • When headteachers suspend or permanently exclude a pupil they must, without delay, notify parents. Legislative changes mean that if a pupil has a social worker, or if a pupil is looked-after, the headteacher must now, also without delay after their decision, notify the social worker and/or VSH, as applicable.
  • When headteachers suspend or permanently exclude a pupil, they must also notify the local authority, without delay. Legislative changes mean that this must be done regardless of the length of a suspension.
  • Guidance on the role of a social worker and VSH, during governing board meetings and IRP meetings.
  • Guidance on managed moves, what they are and how they should be used.
  • Clarified guidance on the use of off-site direction as a short-term measure that can be used as part of a school’s behaviour management strategy.
  • Further guidance on the practice of involving pupils so that any excluded pupil is enabled and encouraged to participate at all stages of the suspension or permanent exclusion process, considering their age and ability to understand.
  • Guidance for governing boards to ensure that they review data to consider the level of pupil moves and the characteristics of pupils who have been permanently excluded to ensure the sanction is only used when necessary, as a last resort.

DfE – Searching, screening and confiscation at school – 1st September 2022

This publication is intended to explain the screening, searching and confiscating powers a school has, ensuring that headteachers and members of staff have the confidence to use these powers and schools are a calm, safe and supportive environment to learn and work. This publication also provides advice to headteachers and staff on their related legal duties when it comes to these powers. It also includes statutory guidance which schools must have regard to.

DfE- Working Together to Safeguard Children – Factual Update

This statutory guidance on inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children has been updated with some minor changes but still bears the original 2018 date on its front cover.

The updates reflect recent changes to legislation, including references to:

  • Integrated Care Boards replaced Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • Public Health England replaced by the UK Health Security Agency and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID)
  • Domestic Abuse Act 2021
  • UK GDPR is the retained EU law version of the GDPR. The UK GDPR sits alongside the Data Protection Act 2018

DfE: Working together to improve school attendance – 1st September 2022

This new best practice guidance Working together to improve school attendance should be used by schools to support this. The guidance makes it very clear that schools should provide individualised support to families that need it, for example through referrals to other organisations and services, including councils, and issue fines and other sanctions where absence is unauthorised.

There is a section on pages 17 and 18 in relation to pupils with medical conditions or special educational needs and disabilities and on the use of part-time timetables.

DfE: What academies, free schools and colleges must or should publish online – Updated 5th September

DfE: What maintained schools must publish online – Updated 5th September

These sets of guidance contain information that maintained schools. academies, including free schools, colleges and any educational institution with academy arrangements, must or should publish on their websites. They include new sections on ‘School uniforms’ and ‘School opening hours’.

Reminder: All schools must publish an information report on their website about the implementation of the school’s policy for pupils with SEN. It should be updated at least annually. Any changes that occur during the year should be updated as soon as possible. The report must comply with section 69 of the Children and Families Act 2014, meaning that it must contain:

  • the ‘SEN information’ specified in schedule 1 to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014. Statutory guidance on this is contained in paragraphs 6.79 to 6.82 of the special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years
  • information on:
    • the arrangements for the admission of disabled pupils
    • the steps you have taken to prevent disabled pupils from being treated less favourably than other pupils
    • the facilities you provide to help disabled pupils to access the school
    • the plan prepared under paragraph 3 of schedule 10 to the Equality Act 2010 (accessibility plan) for:
    • increasing the extent to which disabled pupils can participate in the school’s curriculum
    • improving the physical environment of the school for the purpose of increasing the extent to which disabled pupils are able to take advantage of education and benefits, facilities or services provided or offered by the school
    • improving the delivery to disabled pupils of information which is readily accessible to pupils who are not disabled

DfE: National Tutoring Programme: guidance for schools 2022 to 2023 – Updated 5th September

This guidance contains information for school leaders on how to provide tuition for pupils through the National Tutoring Programme in the 2022 to 2023 academic year.

A new section on supporting pupils with SEND has been added. The guidance also outlines alternative tutoring interventions. The DfE recognises that some pupils with SEND would benefit from a boost to their progress in other academic areas, such as learning capabilities, sensory development and communication. Tutoring provided through the NTP may include alternative types of established, evidence-underpinned intervention for pupils with SEND, which can be tailored and targeted to meet individual needs. An example of an alternative tutoring intervention is speech and language therapy.

Succeed with Dyslexia

I recently took part in an interview with Donna Stevenson, Head of Training and Assessment at Succeed with Dyslexia. In the interview I reflect on the importance of Early Identification of Dyslexia.

 You can view the conversation here.

I have also updated the Events Page on my website showing all of the events I will be taking part in over the next term.

Scroll to Top

Subscribe to my Newsletter!

Sign up to receive details of my latest news, blogs, videos and forthcoming training straight to your inbox

Need help or have questions about anything on this site? Please feel free to contact me using the button below: