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Education law digest – in the news

Here are some of the recent pertinent stories as featured in the Summer term of the Education Law Digest which will affect those embedded in the education sector.

Data sharing

There is new Department for Education (DfE) guidance regarding data sharing in schools. The use of personal data in schools remains a complex issue. The DfE has issued new guidance on sharing personal data in the context of schools available here.

The new advice features guidance on key information sharing activities within schools including safeguarding, sharing data with local authorities and government, sharing data with other schools, the use of consent, taking and using photos at school and publishing exam results.

You should make sure you review it to ensure that your current procedures attain the standards set out in this new guidance.

Updated Burgundy Book

After more than 20 years, we now have a new Burgundy Book (more properly known as the ‘Conditions of service for school teachers in England and Wales’).  However, there are no significant changes: the language is more inclusive and the references to legislation have been updated.

Updated Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) guidance

With effect from 1 September 2023, new KCSIE comes into force.  The major changes are:

  • Filtering and monitoring: It emphasises that all staff should receive training at induction which incudes online safety and the expectation, applicable roles and responsibilities in relation to filtering and monitoring and that the DSL is responsible for online safety and understanding filtering and monitoring.
  • EHC plans: Where a child is home educated, the local authorities will need to review the plan, working closely with parents and carers.
  • New links to additional guidance:  e.g. cyber security and out of school settings.
  • Safer recruitment:   Candidates should be informed that an online search may be conducted as part of the recruitment process.  The guidance also states that leaders should ensure that all staff feel comfortable raising safeguarding concerns, including where the conduct is online.
  • External organisations using your property: If you receive concerns about a third party who was using your premises then you should follow your safeguarding policies and inform LADO.
  • Preventing radicalisation: The amendment confirms that someone referred to Channel (a voluntary programme which supports people susceptible to radicalisation) is required to provide their consent.
  • Forced marriage: This has been updated to reflect that since February 2023 it has been a crime to ‘carry out any conduct whose purpose is to cause a child to marry before their eighteenth birthday, even if violence, threats or another form of coercion are not used. As with the existing forced marriage law, this applies to non-binding, unofficial ‘marriages’ as well as legal marriages’.
  • Language: in relation to child-on-child sexual harassment and violence, the wording has changed from ‘discipline’ to ‘sanction’ and the difference between children absent from education and children missing from education has been clarified.  Similarly the language on radicalisation has changed from ‘vulnerable’ to radicalisation to ‘susceptible’ and  ‘at risk’.

We would suggest that you review your current policies and make any necessary changes, if you would like and any advice or assistance in with this, please get in touch with our expert Education lawyers.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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