Schools – the extended furlough scheme

The furlough scheme is helping a large number of schools to reduce their overheads at a time when their revenue has been reduced by fee discounts and in some cases pupils not returning in September 2020. Boarding schools have been particularly affected with some pupils opting to remain in their home countries, even as schools […]

Legal update for independent schools – Spring issue

We are pleased to bring you our Spring Update for independent schools which covers key recent legal developments in the sector. This update covers the latest news and updates on: Schools – the extended furlough scheme Teacher-assessed grades this summer Keeping children safe in education 2021 Teachers’ pensions Case report: Sue Allington v Grange Rose […]

Parent contract – time for an update?

The closure of schools due to Covid-19 has been an unprecedented challenge. In addition to the difficulties associated with remote learning, independent schools have had to contend with parents questioning whether the education being delivered justifies the fees being charged. In particular, we have seen parents challenging the fees due for examination year groups where […]

Unqualified prep-school teacher succeeds in claims for unfair dismissal and age discrimination and is awarded over £140,000 – Sue Allington v Grange Rose Hill School Limited (the School)

The School, an independent co-ed prep school for children aged 3-13 in Tunbridge Wells, Kent dismissed Sue Allington, aged 60, for refusing to accept a change to her employment contract, namely a requirement to undertake study to obtain a Level 6 degree or QTS or, alternatively, accept a demotion to a teaching assistant role. Mrs […]

Teachers’ pensions – a continuing issue

The last 12 months have been some of the hardest the independent schools sector has had to face. Attention has naturally focused on the immediate educational impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and battling to keep schools running as ‘normally’ as possible amidst the winter surge in coronavirus cases. However, as the pandemic’s financial impact bites, […]

Teacher-assessed grades this summer

For the second year running, responsibility falls on teachers to award exam grades to their students. After the fiasco of last summer which saw a controversial algorithm in place to moderate results (later withdrawn following a backlash from students and parents), the government has announced a return to teacher assessed grades, having given assurances that […]

Webinar: Independent schools – Strategic planning for the challenges of 2021

After one of the most challenging years in recent memory, strategic planning for the year to come has never been more vital. In this wide-ranging webinar Joanna Lada-Walicki, Adam McRae-Taylor and Gordon Reid consider the key topics on the agenda for independent school senior leaders and governors for the year ahead. Topics covered include: The […]

Dismissal of teacher with child images on home computer was unfair says Employment Appeal Tribunal

In the recent case of K v L UKEATS/0014/18/JW the Claimant was a teacher charged by the police with possession of indecent images of children under section 52A of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982. The Claimant freely admitted that the images were downloaded on to a computer in his possession but denied that he […]

New Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020: an extension of support and relaxing of rules for schools

Schools have not been isolated from the financial and social effect of the pandemic. In many cases, they are seeing challenges which affect the way they run in a much more severe way than other businesses. The pandemic has, so to speak, torn up the rule book on how many schools are run and they […]

Centre Assessed Grades: it’s not too soon to start thinking about next summer’s exams

One of the many additional challenges presented to schools as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic was the requirement for schools to produce Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs) for last summer’s A levels and GCSEs. Whilst a challenge in itself, the task was made no easier by the Government’s changing policy and last minute U-turn on standardisation […]

Difficult decisions in difficult times: how should schools approach managing redundancies?

The last seven months have been some of the hardest ever faced by the independent schools sector. Whilst the Government’s Job Retention Scheme has supported jobs for a temporary period, all prudent boards of governors and senior leadership teams (SLTs) have inevitably been focused on re-evaluating their staffing needs in the light of reduced budgets and […]

The Job Support Scheme – how does it work and can schools benefit from it?

The Government has been under increasing pressure to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which will cease providing support to employers at the end of October 2020. With infection rates of Covid-19 on the rise and anticipation of continued disruption to the economy, the Chancellor has outlined new measures to support employers in the form of […]

Teachers’ pensions: returning to the fray

Whilst most of the attention recently has understandably been on the COVID-19 crisis, the past few months have seen a number of developments regarding the on-going impact of increases in employer contributions to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) on the independent schools sector. An ever increasing number of independent schools have left (or are leaving) […]

Updated COVID-19 toolkit for independent schools

In March we produced our toolkit to help independent schools manage the unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.  As society starts making steps towards a return to normality and schools prepare to welcome back pupils, we have updated this key resource for independent schools as they continue to navigate their way through the next […]

Keeping children safe in education – new changes for September

The Government has just released the updated version of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE), which will come into force on 1 September 2020.  You should continue to refer to the current version of KCSIE until 31 August 2020, but schools will want to start preparing for the upcoming changes.  The key new developments are […]

Helen Harvie

Independent schools Charities I am a charity law specialist and I act as both trustee and advisor to a wide range of charitable organisations, including independent schools, as well as social enterprises, on a national and international basis. I advise on charity registration, restructuring, governance and constitutional issues, trustees’ duties and responsibilities and all aspects […]

Olivia Stanton

School employment law Teacher’s pensions I am a solicitor in the independent schools and charities team and I specialise in employment and education law. I advise on a range of areas, including safeguarding and managing abuse allegations, data protection and subject access requests, parent contracts, and contentious and non-contentious employment law issues. I draft contracts […]

Adam McRae-Taylor

Employment in schools Employment tribunal litigation I specialise in employment and education law and advise on issues such as unfair dismissal, discrimination cases, safeguarding, parent contracts and data protection issues including in relation to the GDPR. My approach is to work with schools and charities to ensure that they are managing their staff fairly and […]

Esther Millard

Professional negligence Debt recovery I specialise in handling professional negligence claims on behalf of both businesses and individuals. I have particular and extensive experience with claims against chartered surveyors and solicitors, and have successfully resolved a large number of such claims during the eleven years that I have specialised in this area. I also lead […]

Gordon Reid

Charity law I lead the charities team. I work with charities and independent schools of all shapes and sizes, advising on all aspects of charity law and practice – initial formation and registration, day-to-day advice on constitutional and governance issues, mergers, dealing with charity property and dissolution. I regularly run training sessions for trustees and […]

George Shepherd

I am a solicitor in the Schools & Charities team, specialising in governance and transactional work for independent schools and charities. I advise national and local charities on incorporation, mergers, dissolution and other governance issues. My work also includes dealing with a wide range of charity property transactions including acquisitions, disposals, leases and secured lending. […]

Joanna Lada-Walicki

Education employment Safeguarding I head the firm’s independent schools and charities practice and I specialise in education and employment law. I advise on a range of employment and pastoral issues, in particular when the reputation of a school (or other non-school charity) is at stake. An area of particular interest for me is safeguarding and […]

Charlie Ellison

I am a trainee solicitor in the Schools and Charities team based in our Guildford office. I primarily support other solicitors, working within a team for six months at a time. I gain valuable experience working within a range of different teams at Moore Barlow, supporting them in providing the high level of service that […]

Ben Collingwood

Independent schools Safeguarding Charities I specialise in advising independent schools and other charities on wide ranging areas of education law, with particular focus on reputation issues, pastoral, safeguarding, historic abuse allegations, SEN, exclusions, parent/pupil complaints, data protection, parent contracts, admissions and staff matters of all types. I have written and spoken widely on issues facing […]

Immigration for schools update: sponsored students affected by Coronavirus

The Home Office has released updated guidance to deal with individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus (COVID-19). Tier 4 students affected by the coronavirus restrictions Tier 4 students are not normally permitted to undertake distance learning, however if they are forced to due to the current exceptional circumstances, this will not be considered […]

Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit for independent schools

In these unprecedented times, independent schools are under unprecedented financial pressure. Schools are closed; parents are asking about refunds; staff are self-isolating; commercial contractors demand payment. We have prepared a checklist to help you keep on top of this fast-moving crisis…. Parents Most schools are receiving enquiries from parents asserting that they will expect a […]

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) – An update

Conclusion of Phase 1 of the residential schools investigation The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) was set up in 2014 to investigate concerns that some institutions had failed to protect children from sexual abuse, and to make meaningful recommendations to keep children safe in the future. The Inquiry, which is unprecedented in its […]

New guidance on confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements from the Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has this month issued guidance on the use of confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements. The recommendations include: Settlement agreements should not prevent an employee speaking out about discrimination or harassment unless it is necessary to protect a victim of discrimination or if the victim has requested it. There may […]

Improper behaviour can lead to section 111A negotiations being admissible in Court

In the case of Harrison v Aryman Limited, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“the EAT”) has recently decided that a pre-termination negotiation letter that was sent from an employer to an employee could potentially be admissible in evidence. Ms Harrison (“the Claimant”) issued a claim against the Respondent (Aryman Limited) for a number of claims including unfair […]

Vegetarianism is not a Protected Characteristic

The Employment Tribunal (“the ET”) has recently handed down judgment in the case of Conisbee v Crossley that vegetarianism is not a philosophical belief amounting to a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. A philosophical belief is one which must satisfy one of the following: The belief must be genuinely held and not a mere opinion […]

Preventing Charity fraud – new Charity Commission guidance

The Charity Commission has recently issues important new guidance on preventing charity fraud which should be incorporated by all schools into their fraud action plan. The Charity Commission’s strategy is as follows. 5 tactics to fight back against charity fraud Recognise the Risk:Schools make very tempting targets and the Charity Commission are keen that governors […]

Immigration update – How Brexit will affect schools sponsoring international students

In this article we look at the recent developments affecting schools sponsoring international students, and discuss some of the anticipated changes that may come into force after Brexit. Errors on student Biometric Residence Permits There has been an increase in the number of academic institutions reporting incorrectly printed Biometric Residence permits issued to their students […]

Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) Update – recent developments

The past few months have seen a number of developments regarding the on-going impact of increases in employer contributions to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) on the independent schools sector. It has now become apparent that significant numbers of independent schools have left (or are leaving) the TPS. As of 1 September 2019, 62 schools […]

No pro-rating of holiday pay for term-time only teachers on permanent contracts

The recent case of Harpur Trust v Brazel witnessed the Court of Appeal attempting to clarify the complex issue of holiday pay for teachers on zero hours contracts who work only during term-time.  Peripatetic music teachers are an obvious example of teachers who are likely to fall into this category.  The issue concerns the treatment of school […]

Autumn 2019 Legal Update for Schools

Welcome to the November 2019 Schools Legal Update. We hope that you will find this informative and useful in keeping you up to date. This edition covers the following topical issues: The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) – An update SEN exclusions – the Tribunal’s power to revoke discriminatory exclusions No pro-rating of […]

SEN exclusions – the Tribunal’s power to revoke discriminatory exclusions

Last year we reported on the case of C and C –v- Governing Body of a School and Others which changed the law regarding exclusion of pupils presenting with violence in school. As discussed in that article, a school can now only exclude a child presenting with violent behaviour, whose behaviour is connected to a disability, where […]

Does suspension breach the implied term of trust and confidence?

In London Borough of Lambeth v Agoreyo the Court of Appeal recently considered the circumstances in which an employee may be suspended without the employer breaching the implied term of mutual trust and confidence. Ms Agoreyo was a primary school teacher who was suspended pending investigation five weeks into her employment at the school. Three incidents […]

Department for Education publishes draft Relationships and Sex Education statutory guidance

The Government has recently conducted a consultation on Relationships and Sex Education in schools in England and produced new draft statutory guidance. It is anticipated that the new statutory guidance will apply to all independent schools with effect from 1 September 2020. Relationships Education This will be compulsory for primary aged children. Relationships Education will […]

Fee fraud – what can schools do?

“Invoice fraud”, “mandate fraud”, “transfer fraud”: this particular scam has acquired many names over the years and now fraudsters are known to be targeting parents of children at independent schools. Fraudsters obtain access to a school’s IT system (or replicate a school email). They then email parents informing them that the school’s account details have changed and […]

Spring 2019 Update for Schools

Welcome to the March 2019 Schools Update. We hope that you will find this informative and useful in keeping you up to date. TPS contributions set to rise by 43% – what’s your strategy? What counts as ‘long term’ in determining if an employee has a disability? Can a direct discrimination claim be based on […]

Can a direct discrimination claim be based on the employer’s religion or belief?

In Gan Menachem Hendon Limited v De Groen the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered whether an employee could bring a claim for discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief based on the employer’s religious beliefs. Gan Menachem Hendon Limited ran a Jewish nursery in accordance with ultra-orthodox principles and employed Ms De Groen as a teacher. […]

What counts as ‘long term’ in determining if an employee has a disability?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has recently considered the meaning of “long term” and “substantial” when assessing whether a person is disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 in Nissa v Waverly Education Foundation Limited. Ms Nissa had been employed by Waverly as a science teacher and resigned on 31 August 2016. She brought a claim for disability […]

TPS contributions set to rise by 43% – what’s your strategy?

With employer contributions set to rise by 43% in September 2019, many schools are reviewing the viability of continued membership of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS). We can support you as you devise your strategy and assist with the logistics and practical steps. We can assist your school as you consider: Alternative pension provision, if […]

National minimum wage – don’t panic!

John Lewis has suffered very public criticism in relation to alleged payment of some of its seasonal workers below National Minimum Wage (NMW). This has caused a good deal of concern among schools, which clearly engage employees/workers to perform work at certain times of the year, while not necessarily requiring performance throughout the school holidays. […]

Salary sacrifice school fees – last chance saloon!

Hitherto, independent schools have been able to offer staff the opportunity to save some of the cost of the school fees relating to their own children’s attendance at the school via salary sacrifice arrangements. In March 2016, the government indicated it was considering introducing restrictions on the use of salary sacrifice schemes. From August to […]