LEGAL UPDATES FOR 2021-2 THAT ARE RELEVANT TO SCHOOL MARKETING
1 Sep 2021
Don't let your school be hammered by new legal duties!
The new school year brings new legal duties for schools in England - most fall on school leaders and teachers, but there are also a number that relate to marketing. We've summarised the changes that might affect you below, as well as providing links to key documents.
1. Perhaps the most important annual document for school is ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (often abbreviated to KCSiE).
Changes in the 2021 version that might affect school marketers include…
KCSiE now applies to providers of post-16 education as set out in the Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021 (including 16–19 academies, institutions providing specialist educational support and independent learning providers delivering apprenticeship or T-level training).
New paragraphs have been added on the importance of online safety training for staff and the requirement for children to be taught about safeguarding, including online safety.
There are changes to recruitment advice and safety checks – important for school marketers who might be using volunteers or external agency staff who come into school from time to time, whether they will be working with children or not.
Additional COVID-19 guidance added last year has been removed.
2. In the past year, the Government has also updated its requirements for state school websites.
There are 2 slightly different versions depending whether your school is maintained by the local authority or not – the main difference is about reporting on governance.
Missing any of this information could have serious consequences for your school (perhaps triggering an OFSTED inspection) – so it’s important that visitors to your website can find it easily and that you have a process for updating it on a regular basis.
Moving in the opposite direction to KCSiE above, new COVID reporting requirements have been added – schools need to report on remote education and use of COVID catch-up premium (if applicable).
3. There is a new OFSTED inspection framework from September 2021 for state schools (the ISI inspection framework for independent schools from 2019 remains in place).
Sections 98-102 are perhaps most relevant to school marketers – the section called ‘Seeking the views of registered parents and other stakeholders’. The Parent View survey is an important part of any inspection and many schools are regularly surveying parents online so they are accustomed to the process.
This section also says that ‘inspectors will also take into account any other evidence from parents, including the results of any past surveys the school has carried out or commissioned' - this should be seen as an opportunity for you to show how you have responded to any issues raised.
Schools also need to plan for how to communicate the results of an inspection – the key areas marketing professionals can help is to help leaders see any inspection (positive or negative) as part of your ongoing story. Communication needs to focus as much as possible about your ‘next steps’ and the impact these will have on stakeholders.