Catch up: Advice for current times – ‘Business as usual – different from usual’

Advice for current times – ‘Business as usual – different from usual’

An on-demand event jointly hosted by the NAHT and Discovery Education.

Andrew Hammond, Senior Director of Learning at Discovery Education and Guy Dudley, Lead Author of the Advice Hub within NAHT Discovery Education Pathway, discussed the issues currently facing school leaders and those teaching and working in schools.

Test your knowledge with an engaging quiz section, learn more about some key and topical areas of typical school activity and get acquainted with NAHT Discovery Education Pathway’s Advice Hub.

In this session, we covered issues relating to:

  • Safeguarding
  • Admin & Finance
  • Leadership & Governance
  • Pupil behaviour
  • Human resources
  • Working with others – newsletter and FAQs

And finally, we took you on a whistle-stop tour of Pathway’s Advice Hub, newsletters and FAQs section, where you will see much needed and invaluable information, advice and guidance to support you in your professional role and your continuing professional and personal development and empowerment.




Quiz question

When was KCSIE last updated?

2019                 2020                 2021

Recruiting teachers from overseas

Candidates from overseas must undergo the same checks as all other staff in schools, including obtaining an enhanced DBS certificate and barred list information. When recruiting, schools and colleges:

  1. must follow part 3 of Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE) statutory guidance, which sets out the safer recruitment checks schools must conduct.
  2. must make any further checks they think appropriate so that relevant events that occurred outside of the UK can be considered – the Home Office provides guidance on criminal records checks for overseas applicants
  3. can ask candidates for a teaching position to provide proof of their past conduct as a teacher issued by the professional regulating authority in the country in which the applicant has worked – where available, this can be considered together with information obtained through other pre-appointment checks to help assess the candidates’ suitability. Advice about which regulatory or professional body applicants should contact is available from the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom, UK NARIC
  4. [where this information is not available], should seek alternative methods of checking candidates’ suitability and or undertake a risk assessment that supports informed decision making on whether to proceed with the appointment.
  5. should, until 1 January 2021, check for teacher sanctions or restrictions imposed by an EEA professional regulating authority. From 1 January 2021, the TRA Teacher Services system will no longer maintain a list of those teachers who have been sanctioned in EEA member states.
  6. [although sanctions and restrictions imposed by another regulating authority do not prevent a person from taking up teaching positions in England], should consider the circumstances that led to the restriction or sanction being imposed when considering a candidate’s suitability for employment.

Further information can be found in DfE Guidance: Recruit teachers from overseas



Quiz question

On what grounds can a school be closed in the event of sudden and high snowfall?

Health & Safety                       Safeguarding                 Staff and pupil welfare

Snow, floods and other inclement weather

Our advice is primarily concerned with the annual unpredictability of snowfall. But the principles apply, in equal measure, to all types of weather that threaten to jeopardise running a school, especially at a time of year when many school leaders face the prospect of closing or partially closing their school as a result.

Judgements include weighing up the need to ensure the health and safety of pupils and staff against the pressure to not add to the disruption by closing the school and leaving parents with the headache of how to balance childcare with their work and occupational demands.

Our advice also looks at the work you can do in anticipation of snow and the leadership decisions you can make both when it arrives and when the thaw sets in. Finally, we provide practical advice on dealing with flooding.



Quiz question

Is reducing the school week lawful?

No                    Yes                   Not sure

Reducing the school week to 4½ days

Since September 2011, governing bodies of all maintained schools have been free to structure their school days.

Our advice sets out the considerations that head teachers, school leaders and governing bodies must and should consider if the prospect of reducing the school week to save money and keep the school safe, trumps the reasons for continuing to operate a more conventional school week model for staff, pupils and parents at their schools and in their communities.

Is reducing the school week lawful?

Yes, but schools should have regard for stakeholders’ views and manage the change responsibly. In maintained schools in England and Wales, there must be two school sessions per school day and 380 sessions per school year. To complete the 380 sessions, schools need to deliver 10 school sessions per week. However, statute neither specifies the length of a school day, nor the length of a school session. The length of a school session is for governors to determine.

However, any determination must be reasonably applied, so a shorter school day must still provide a second session where learning can reasonably take place. If, say, a school was to shorten one day to half a day, then it would have to divide the half-day into two school sessions separated by a break in the middle of the shortened day.

In Wales, it would be less straightforward because, under Welsh regulations, there is a really lengthy procedure to follow.

The legislation does not apply to academies. The Academies Act says nothing about terms, school days or school sessions. The Department for Education’s model funding agreement for single academies says “the length of the school day and year is the responsibility of the academy trust.” While this is the case, the secretary of state could impose requirements in relation to the school day in future funding agreements.

Finally, our advice covers the consultation process and, of course, the pitfalls of shortening the school week!



Quiz question

What’s the maximum number of school days that a pupil can be excluded in a single academic year ?

25                    35                    45

Changes to the school exclusion process during the pandemic

All exclusions occurring between 1 June 2020 and 24 March 2021 (inclusive of those dates) are subject to amended arrangements relating to:

  • the use of remote access technology for meetings of governing boards or independent review panels
  • the deadline for applications for an independent review

It’s important that meetings relating to exclusions take place within the normal timescales described in the usual statutory guidance.

If the deadlines are missed because of COVID-19, the meeting must be held as soon as it becomes reasonably practicable to meet either in person or via remote access (respecting the conditions for such a meeting).

The deadline for applications for an independent review in relation to exclusions occurring between 1 June 2020 and 24 March 2021 will be extended to 25 school days, or as long as reasonably necessary for a reason related to COVID-19, if:

  • it has not been reasonably practicable for a review panel to meet in person within the original time limit of 15 school days for reasons related to COVID-19
  • it has not been reasonably practicable to meet by way of remote access for a reason relating to the conditions for a remote access meeting

To minimise uncertainty for pupils and their families, the arranging authority should reassess, at regular intervals, whether it is reasonably practicable to meet, and if it is, should arrange to do so without delay.

Schools must wait for the extended period of 25 school days to pass, without an application having been made, before deleting the name of a permanently excluded pupil from their admissions register.



Quiz question

What are the five grounds for a ‘fair dismissal’? [Ask listeners to write their answers down]

Capability        Conduct           Redundancy                 Breach of a statutory enactment    SOSR [some other substantial reason]


The School Teachers’ Pay & Conditions Document

Aka, the STPCD, this document sets out the framework for teachers’ pay and conditions of employment in England. Any party not following this guidance would need to have good reason not to do so and would need to be able to justify any departure from it. The power to prescribe teachers’ pay and conditions for teachers in Wales was devolved to Welsh ministers on 30/9/2018.

In short, the STPCD contains everything you need to know about teachers’ pay and conditions of employment, safeguarding and the overall contractual framework for teachers, from unqualified teachers to head teachers.

Amongst its 84 pages, and in light of the pandemic, I’d like to highlight one particular STPCD item – paragraph 46.10.

Paragraph 46.10 empowers head teachers to “Organise and deploy resources within the school.”



Quiz question

Can parents come onto school premises without consent?

Yes                   No                   Not sure


Dealing with abusive visitors

Although fulfilling a public function, schools are private places. The public has no automatic right of entry. Parents of enrolled pupils have an ‘implied licence’ to come onto the school’s premises at certain stated times, and it is for schools to define and set out the extent of such access. Day-to-day access to a school’s premises is within the control of the head teacher.

Usually, parental access to the school’s premises will be by appointment or invitation to a meeting or a school event. Parents of younger pupils will commonly be allowed into the playground, or onto part of the playground, at the beginning and end of the school day. Schools should have an agreed approach on parental access and make it known to parents.


Wandsworth Council v A (2000)

The school alleged that ‘A’, a parent of a pupil at the school, abused staff verbally. The head teacher wrote to her to ban her from the school. ‘A’ continued to come to the school and continued to be rude and aggressive towards staff. The school and the local authority’s solicitor sought an injunction to exclude her from the premises.

‘A’ challenged the decision at the Court of Appeal. At the hearing, it was held that the letter had withdrawn ‘A’s licence to enter or remain on the premises. The Court of Appeal ruled as follows:

  • Parents had no licence to “roam at will”
  • However, the Court distinguished the type of licence parents had from that of others. While the school was entitled to exclude “a textbook seller” from the premises, the same was not the case with the exclusion of a parent
  • The parent should have been allowed to make representations once the head teacher had indicated what they were proposing to do.

Finally, our advice will also cover drafting a policy for your school, carrying out a risk assessment as well as the process for barring visitors and the legal remedies you can take to deal with and resolve matters relating to abusive visitors.

And finally, please take a little time to get acquainted with our Advice Hub’s ‘Newsletters’ and ‘FAQs’



We have now produced three newsletters for Pathway. In the third and most recent newsletter, we take a look at:

  • Critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings
  • Dealing with complaints about remote learning
  • An update on Free School Meals
  • Safeguarding – some quick links for you
  • School funding – the latest from the DfE
  • Early Years – an update from the DfE
  • Academy Orders can be revoked if schools improve to ‘good’
  • Other news for you – mental health of children and young people, pupil welfare, SEND, governance and data collection


Cover arrangements                              Dedicated headship time                                   GDPR                            Health and safety

Management time                                 Managing sickness absence                                PPA time                       The full opening of schools

Industrial action                         Education, Health & Care Plans               Working time and directed time


If you’re a Pathway subscriber, all of the above are supported by specific advice pieces on the Pathway Advice Hub.

If you would like further information about the Pathway programme please visit:


Guy Dudley

Lead Author of the Pathway Advice Hub

Guy Dudley was appointed to head of specialist advice in 2014 having joined NAHT in 2013, cutting his teeth as a specialist adviser. Guy leads a team of highly-qualified specialist advisers and assistants that deliver first-class specialist advice and support services to NAHT members and officials across England, Wales and Northern Ireland and to NAHT’s National Executive. The services provided include legal advice and support, information and guidance on educational management issues, general employment practice and law, salaries, pensions and conditions of service, enabling members to better undertake their professional leadership roles. Before joining NAHT, Guy, an MCIPD-qualified HR practitioner, was employed in the UK and the international charity sectors and also worked for the Learning + Skills Council for 6 years, coaching, developing and helping leaders become better people managers. Guy’s passion is to work with leaders, putting them back in control using bold, pragmatic, fair and empathetic approaches.

Andrew Hammond

Senior Director of Learning at Discovery Education

Andrew served in schools for over 20 years, as class teacher, head of department, deputy head teacher and head teacher in both independent and maintained sector schools. A prolific author, Andrew has written numerous titles for a range of educational publishers. He has a BA QTS from Bath and an MA from King’s College London. He is currently studying for an Ed.D at Buckingham, researching the power of culture to deliver character traits and attitudes in schools. He is interested in how schools turn values-based platitudes into practice and how we best support pupils’ personal and cultural development by supporting the personal development of their teachers. Andrew joined Discovery Education in September 2019 as Senior Director of Learning. He designed the Pathway Programme and is series editor for its content. He is passionate about supporting the whole teacher.