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Heads Up! Autumn 2021


Welcome to a new school year and a new Education minister!

The team at Winckworth Sherwood congratulate Nadhim Zahawi on his promotion. Perhaps it is no surprise his first action is to issue guidance to schools now that all children aged 12 – 15 are being offered a first dose of vaccine as part of a school-based COVID-19 vaccination programme. This has already been controversial and some schools have received challenges. Our detailed advice can be found here.

We will be watching with interest to see if he turns his organisational magic to the academies programme!

We are delighted to welcome our newest members to the team. Sonia Din is an experienced property lawyer and will bring added capacity to our academy conversion/transfer and capital projects team. Harry Brown joins our Schools HR team as a newly qualified education employment lawyer, having just completed his 2 year training contract with the firm.

1st September is the renewal date for our school support service and we are both humbled and delighted to have received such positive feedback from school clients who have appreciated our swift and knowledgeable advice on a range of legal and strategic matters over the last very challenging year. It has never felt more important to us that we are part of your team and here for you when good advice is needed.

Details of our School Support Service retainer packages can be found here or contact the team on:

School Support helpdesk: 0345 070 7437 or email

COVID Resource Hub

Schools HR helpdesk: 0345 026 8690 or email

We are preparing for the launch of our webinar programme for 2021/22, so watch this space. In the meantime, if you want to catch up on school events and webinars last year, click here.

Finally, just a reminder to have a think now about changes to admissions policies, following the introduction of the new Admissions Code on 1st September. Policies will need to be changed to make reference to the “School Admissions Code 2021” and further information about the changes to the Admissions Code is available on our blog which we published in June 2021.

The consultation window is now open for substantive changes opens on 1 October 2021 and will close again on 28th February31 January 2022 (for changes to be effective from September 2023). Our school support team can help with consultation and appropriate changes to admissions criteria

I hope you enjoy reading our latest updates, links below.


Covid-19 Vaccinations in School for 12-15 year olds – issues for schools to consider

On 17 September 2021, the Department for Education published guidance for schools on the vaccination programme (available here) (the “Guidance”). We are continuing to receive enquiries from our school clients regarding communications from campaign groups and individual parents who are opposed to 12-15 year olds being vaccinated against Covid-19 so this article sets out some legal considerations in light of that Guidance.

Click here to read more.

Schools HR – Local Authority liable for dismissal of teachers where decision taken by governing body

In the case of Gwynedd Council v Barratt [2021] EWCA Civ 1322 the Court of Appeal has upheld an employment tribunal’s finding that a local authority was liable for the dismissal of two teachers at a community school by reason of redundancy despite the decision being taken by the governing body.

Click here to read more.

Schools HR – Protection for Workers

The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Protection from Detriment in Health and Safety Cases) (Amendment) Order 2021 has extended protection against detriment to workers from 31 May 2021.

Click here to read more.

Schools HR – Flexible Working

On 30 June 2021 the Flexible Working Bill was introduced to parliament which would give all workers a legal right to flexible working from day one of employment, and would require employers to include in job advertisements what flexibility is available, as well as to offer flexible working arrangements in employment contracts. According to Sky News an announcement is expected imminently setting out the government’s proposal in respect of an immediate right to request flexible working.

Click here to read more.

Schools HR – Managing claims and costs at the Employment Tribunal

It has been 4 years now since the abolition of Employment Tribunal fees and no surprise that the number of claims over that period has increased by 130%. As school employment lawyers, we often see unmeritorious claims lodged by disgruntled ex-employees and in many cases these are tricky to handle where the claimant is unrepresented. Traditionally, the Tribunal has been unsympathetic to school employers, but we are beginning to see a change.

Click here to read more.

Safeguarding – Directing Pupils Off Site

The recent decision of the High Court in CHF and CHM (Children), R (On the Application Of) v Newick Ce Primary School & Anor [2021] EWHC 2513 (Admin) highlights the difficulties around the use of the power contained in section 29A of the Education Act 2002 that maintained schools have to direct children off-site for learning for the purposes of improving their behaviour. This statutory power is most commonly used in situations where a headteacher decides to direct a pupil to alternative provision (“AP”), usually in the form of a pupil referral unit or a specialist provision, for a period of time and for a specific purpose: for example to address a particular type of behaviour or to provide a degree of respite and additional support for a pupil who is finding a certain situation challenging.

Click here to read more.

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