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Our Responses to National Issues

Reducing our Carbon Footprint

We know that half of all Hertfordshire County Council's carbon output comes from the schools.

Our pupils and staff are passionate about reducing our carbon footprint and are currently considering what targets we can and should be aiming for to reduce our carbon footprint to at least neutral.  

St Lukes' School is Band D - better than the average.

Collett School is Band G - worse than most schools

Works achieved that have reduced energy use:

  • The Collett School - 2016 New roof on the main building 
  • The Collett School - 2018 New double glazed windows
  • The Collett School - 2020 Replacement of two classrooms with energy efficient measures
  • The Collett School - 2020 LED lighting replacement of flourescent and tungsten bulbs complete
  • St Luke's School - 2014 Double glazed windows installed
  • St Luke's School - 2018 New boilers, new pipework across the school

Works planned to reduce energy use:

  • The Collett School - new boilers and heating pipework (Commencement Planned Date: February 2021) HCC funded
  • St Luke's School - new roofing across the school (No date - bids submitted Oct 2020)
  • St Luke's School - LED lighting improvement (2020-21)

Asset Management Plans Link

 

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter Movement

Our belief that every young person, through access to a great education, should be able to realise their potential, regardless of where they live or their circumstances. We deplore the murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Manuel Ellis and countless others who have lost their lives due to unrelenting racial injustices and we recognise the uncomfortable truths that we all must face.

Our federation acknowledges that systemic racism is a problem that must be addressed everywhere. We have a duty to face up to the difficult conversations that ultimately result in the lifting of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) voices.  We know that in Britain, Black children are more likely to experience poverty, have poorer educational outcomes, be excluded from school, be unemployed, and come into contact with the criminal justice system. They are less likely to access the care they need if they are struggling with mental health problems, and Black children are more likely to act as carers for ill and disabled family members and to miss out on support.  We know that the Black community is underrepresented in teaching staff, even more so at a leadership level and we acknowledge that that impacts upon Black children’s experience of education. We acknowledge the position we are in today and we refuse to fail to learn.

It is crucial that we take action beyond statements.  We welcome challenge on our practices and will not be afraid of robust questioning. Furthermore, we will:

  • Promote the comprehensive review of the curriculum coverage of Black history in our schools, to ensure that, at every key stage, Black voices are heard, Black stories are told and Black achievements and contributions to society are celebrated. 
  • Review the entire curriculum experience to ensure that there is good representation of Black voices and experiences: in and outside the formal taught curriculum, in each subject area, through trips and visits coverage and the profile of speakers.
  • For all internal recruitment and external recruitment we will minimise unconscious bias by presenting blind view CVs to hiring managers.
  • Monitor, report and take action upon any differences in successful hires, performance results, promotions and pay between our Black and non-Black colleagues.
  • Invite all colleagues that identify as BAME and BAME matters to form a BAME forum with a view to creating internal, education tools and lifting BAME voices to make robust recommendations that seek to further the cause of ending systemic racism both internally and with the work that we do.
  • We recognise that these issues affect the whole BAME community and we extend these commitments to all affected.

 

August 2020

In late June, we met as a federation to discuss matters that could be better addressed within our schools.  As such, we have a committee of people who will work to ensure our systems, procedures, behaviours, resources and teaching content reflect the values we hold and wish to make explicit. 

October 2020

We proudly took part in Black History Month again this year.

Continued reflection of our teaching content and influence has ensured changes to what we teach and, how we ensure pupils have a broad understanding of the positive contributions black, Asian and minority ethnic people have made to the UK and world.

 

Brexit Planning

Gov.uk BREXIT Planning

Brexit - Advice for Schools - Gov.uk (December 18 2020)

 

Brexit uncertainty

Keep your eye on the news. We will take action in accordance with official legislation and/or guidance including legal or HR advice. 

What our governors are doing

It's our responsibility to be aware of any risks to our school. This includes Brexit. We stay informed and have discussions.

Staying informed

  •  Brexit preparations for schools; we keep a look out for any developments 
  • Attend training or local authority (LA) events on areas where there are particular risks to school - for example, any upcoming governor training on staffing is likely to look at Brexit 
  • Using news and support education sites, such as The Key Education

Ground rules for discussions

Brexit is a controversial topic. It's crucial that our board can have a constructive, practical discussion without getting derailed by politics. Everyone should follow some ground rules:

  • Remember the role of the board is to maintain strategic oversight, hold leaders to account and ensure good use of resources. To meet these responsibilities, this involves weighing up and managing the potential risks (we go through the likely risks later)
  • Governors need to address Brexit practically, keeping the impact on the school at heart
  • Governing boards must act in the best interests of the school, not to further individuals' political opinions - section 6.4.8 of the Governance Handbook says "boards, headteachers and LAs ... must not allow the promotion of one-sided political views" 
  • All governors should conduct themselves in line with their code of conduct and the Nolan principles of public life
  • Everyone has the right to be treated with respect at meetings, and the right to not be interrupted or talked over 

Questions we ask

  • What are the areas of our school that could be affected?
  • What could we expect to happen and what would be the effects? 
  • What are the most pressing risks and have we considered any ways to mitigate them yet? 
  • Has there been any increase in incidents of bullying or harassment related to Brexit, racism or Xenophobia? Have these incidents been dealt with in line with our policies? Do we need to update or strengthen our policies in response?

 

In a nutshell

We left the EU on 31 October 2019. Most things will stay the same for schools until at least 31 December 2020.  EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will have to apply to remain in the UK if they’re planning to live here long term (see the final section for a list of countries this applies to).

 

We employ staff from the EU

  • We are not required and must not ask current staff for their residency information. Doing so may be considered a discriminatory act
  • If school leaders are asked by an EU, EEA or Swiss staff member to provide documentation to support them in their application for the EU Settlement Scheme (see below), they must help with this, as far as reasonably possible
  • We are alert to any bullying or harassment in our schools and make sure any incidents are challenged in line with our policies
  • We have staff/pupils from the EU, and our named point of contact within our Federation is Ms Donna Abel for any queries. This person knows where to go for answers and be able to signpost staff members and parents in need of advice (for example, to the Home Office department for visas and immigration, the DfE, unions such as ASCL and NEU, your local authority, or Citizens Advice)

 

What's the situation for these employees?

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members living in the UK before 31 October will be able to live, work, study, access benefits and services in the UK on broadly the same terms as now.

The following groups will still have to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme:

  • Those with a UK permanent residence document
  • Those who are born in the UK but aren't British citizens
  • Those married to a British citizen

 

EU Settlement Scheme employer toolkit 

The government has published an employer toolkit, which contains:

  • Information about the EU Settlement Scheme for your staff and how to apply
  • Leaflets for staff with important dates and when to carry out different actions

 

Groups that don't need to apply for the scheme

The following groups can continue living, working, studying and accessing benefits and services in the UK as they do now:

  • Irish citizens
  • Those with indefinite leave to enter and/or remain in the UK

However, their family members who aren't Irish, or don't have indefinite leave to enter and/or remain, will have to apply to the scheme.

 

Existing teaching qualifications are still valid (updated)

  • There won’t be any retrospective change for EU, EEA and Swiss teachers who have obtained qualified teacher status (QTS)
  • If we leave with no deal:
    • Any applications to gain QTS still ongoing that started before the exit date will continue as far as possible
    • Teachers will be able to apply after the exit date, but under a new system that hasn't been announced yet
  • If we leave with a deal with an implementation period:
    • There will be no changes to the QTS application arrangements during the period
    • Arrangements after the implementation period will be subject to further negotiations

 

We have a current pupil(s) from the EU

For now:

  • We are not required and must not ask parents or pupils about their nationality to check their immigration status
  • If the school holds information about nationality for other reasons, then providing those reasons have a lawful basis, it can continue to hold it
  • School leaders should help a pupil or parent, as far as reasonably possible, if they're asked to provide confirmation of attendance to help them with their application to the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Be alert to any bullying or harassment in your school and make sure any incidents are dealt with in line with your policies

 

For new admissions 

No child may be denied a place based on their nationality or migration status. Schools and local authorities cannot take this into account when deciding which pupils to admit and this will remain in place after the UK leaves the EU.

A new immigration system will be introduced in 2021, at which point EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will only be able to attend state-funded schools if they're a dependant of a UK resident, worker, student or someone holding valid leave to remain in the UK.

 

Post-Brexit recognition of qualifications and safeguarding checks

If we leave with a deal:

  • The same systems for recognising qualifications and checking for teacher sanctions or restrictions will apply until at least 31 December 2020

If we leave with no deal:

  • There'll be a new system to recognise qualifications from abroad. The government hasn't yet released details on what this will involve
  • The Teaching Regulation Agency will no longer automatically receive or maintain details of those teachers who've been sanctioned in EEA member states. The government will update the statutory safeguarding guidance to advise you on how to carry out such safeguarding checks in a no-deal scenario

 

Visas 

According to European Commission proposals, British nationals won't need visas for short trips and can stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. They may need a visa or permit to stay longer, or to work or study. 

 

At border control 

British nationals might need to:

  • Show an onward or return ticket
  • Show they have enough money for their stay
  • Use a separate lane from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queuing

Driving 

If the trip includes taking a vehicle(s) abroad, each driver will need:

  • A 'green card' from your insurance company (allow 1 month for this to arrive)
  • A GB sticker on each vehicle
  • An International Driving Permit (IDP) for some countries - you can check if you'll need this on the Post Office website

Even if the plan is to hire a vehicle abroad, the driver may need the IDP.

 

Flights, ferries, Eurostar/Eurotunnel, bus and coach services 

Even in the event of no deal, the following will continue as before:

  • Flights - airport security won't change for direct flights to and from the UK and there shouldn't be any delays at airport security if you change flights in EU airports
  • Ferries, Eurostar/Eurotunnel
  • Bus and coach services between the UK and EU. However, bus and coach services to non-EU countries - such as Switzerland and Andorra - may not be able to run. The government is working to make sure these continue without disruption

Regardless of method of travel, school leaders should check for delays or disruptions before they leave.

 

Using your mobile 

Roaming charges may come back if there's no deal. Although some of the main mobile operators - Three, EE, O2 and Vodafone - have said they don't plan to reinstate charges after Brexit. 

Everyone should check the roaming policy of their mobile operator before going abroad.

 

Handling concerns about disruptions to food and medical supplies

If we leave with a deal, there won't be any disruption to the food or medical supply chains. If we leave with no deal, disruptions are possible but minimise them with the following planning.

 

Food supplies

All schools must continue to provide meals to all registered pupils who request them - this includes providing free school meals to eligible pupils.

Make sure school leaders have contacted their food supplier(s), or whoever arranges food on their behalf, to make sure they're prepared for the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit by:

  • Making sure their secondary suppliers are prepared
  • Planning to adapt menus to allow for product substitutions - the school food standards allows for this, refer to them if certain items are in short supply
  • Making sure they can continue to meet nutritional standards, special dietary needs and manage allergies

 

Medical supplies

The schools will continue with its normal arrangements for medical supplies to support pupils with health conditions.

The government acknowledges that disruptions to the supply of medicine and medical products could occur in the event of no deal. It anticipates disruption over a 6-month period. It's put measures in place to permit suppliers to stockpile medicines in order to mitigate the initial impact of disruptions to the supply chain. 

Some medications have a short shelf-life, such as insulin. 

  • The rights and responsibilities of schools and parents for pupils who can't safely attend school due to lack of medication, e.g. rescue inhalers or epi-pens for severe allergies has not yet been determined
  • Administering out-of-date medications in circumstances where refills aren't available will be undertaken by the schools as we feel the balance of risks is clear
  • Attendance codes for pupils who are out of school due to medication shortages will be authorised

The government can't speculate on all issues that may arise from leaving without a deal and that issues relating to shortage of medicines falls under the responsibility of The Department of Health and Social Care.  It has put plans in place to avoid disruption to medical supplies. Many medicines are already stockpiled and there are freight contingencies being launched for medical supplies and products that will enter the UK, after we leave the EU

 

In the meantime:

We support those pupils with medical conditions by:

  • Reviewing all medications kept in school and recording expiration dates
  • Reminding parents of medications due to expire in the 6 months following the exit date and advising them to get refills beforehand
  • Reviewing your supporting pupils with medical conditions policy in anticipation of issues arising from medication shortages

 

GDPR

If we leave without a deal, the GDPR will be incorporated into UK law. This means we can still share personal data lawfully with countries within the EEA.

However, it will be more difficult to receive personal data from these countries. That's because no adequacy decision has been made about the UK, so any data sharing will need to rely on safeguards or on exemptions.

In the meantime, the government recommends you identify where we can receive data from the EEA and determine:

  • Who the data controllers and processors are
  • Where the data is stored

We can then decide whether we need to put in place contracts with these processors that include standard contractual clauses (which act as a form of safeguard). 

Additionally, we will review the following to make sure they're up to date and reflect any changes we're making post 31st December 2020:

  • Data protection impact assessments
  • Privacy notices

 

Key facts

When's Brexit?

Britain was due to leave the EU on Friday 29 March 2019. This was extended until Thursday 31 October 2019.  We have left the EU now and awaiting a deal/no deal information.

What's the 'transition period'?

If there’s no deal, there’s no transition period, but in this situation the government will still allow EU, EEA and Swiss nationals currently living in the UK until the 31 December 2020 to apply for settled status. 

Which countries are part of the EU, EEA and EFTA?

  • EU countries

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland*, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK

  • EEA countries

All of the above, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

  • EFTA countries

Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland

* Irish nationals will not have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Sources