Surrey Maintained Schools and PRUs
The HR content within these web pages is specifically tailored to Surrey maintained schools (including PRUs).
Most of the content is restricted to registered HR customers. Log in first and use the menu on the right to browse HR content areas or, if you have a particular topic in mind, you can also try our A-Z topics list.
Education HR Online
Our alternative website - Education HR Online - is available to all our other HR and DBS customers and is offered as standard with our HR packages. If you have not already done so, please visit Education HR Online to register today and gain access to the subscriber content.
Not currently an HR customer? Registration is free, and provides access to sector-specific HR news, some limited content and updates.
Daily HR Support: Operating Hours and Contact Information
Our HR Remote Service Desk can be contacted on 0800 073 4444 (option 3) during the following hours:
Term time: Monday to Thursday 08.00 - 17.30; Friday 08.00 - 16.00
During school closure periods: Monday to Friday 09.30 - 16.00
Forthcoming Reduced Service Days
Occasionally our HR Remote Service Help Desk team are required to attend meetings or training sessions during normal working hours. During these times voicemail will be in operation. Messages will be returned as soon as possible.
Forthcoming dates when this will occur are:
19th March 2019: 9.30am - 1.30pm
23rd April 2019: 10.00am - 4.00pm
15/02/19: Agreement on Surrey Pay 2019/20 settlement reached
Surrey County Council have reached agreement with UNISON and GMB in relation to the 2019/20 Surrey Pay settlement for schools and non-schools based staff on Surrey Pay.
The Council's People, Performance and Development Committee (PPDC) approved the new collective agreement on 11 February and confirmed implementation of the pay settlement from 1 April 2019.
Full details of the pay settlement including the pay scales are available to download on the SCC Schools Pay and Reward Review pages.
14/02/19: New online right to work checks
On 28th January 2019 the Home Office updated the guidance document An Employer’s Guide to Right to Work Checks. The most significant updates in the guidance relate to:
- the introduction of online right to work checks;
- an amendment to the acceptable document list to remove the requirement that a British birth certificate must be the full (long) certificate. A short or a long UK birth certificate are now acceptable documents to demonstrate a right to work in combination with an appropriately documented national insurance number.
Online right to work checks
From 28 January 2019, an online right to work check will provide schools with a statutory excuse against a civil penalty in the event of illegal working involving the subject of the check. Schools can now undertake an online check by using the online service, which can be found at ‘View a job applicant’s right to work details’ on Gov.uk.
It will not be possible to conduct an online right to work check in all circumstances, as not all individuals will have an immigration status that can be checked online. The online right to work checking service sets out what information you will need. In circumstances in which an online check is not possible, schools should conduct the manual check instead. Currently, the online checking service supports checks in respect of those who hold:
- a biometric residence permit;
- a biometric residence card; or
- settled status issued under the EU Settlement Scheme*
* Currently EU nationals are able to use their passports or national ID cards as evidence of their right to work in the UK and this will continue to be the case during the planned implementation period.
Employers should give employees every opportunity to demonstrate their right to work and should not discriminate on the basis of whether or not an individual is able and/or willing to demonstrate their right to work using the online checking service.
Schools may choose to encourage use of the online check and may support individuals in doing so (e.g. by providing access to hardware and the internet), however it is not permitted to insist on the use of online checks. If an individual does not wish to demonstrate their right to work using the online service, even if their immigration status or documentation is compatible with the service, schools should conduct the manual check.
More details on how the service works can be found in the updated guidance at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-work-checks-employers-guide
11/02/19: Landmark Supreme Court judgment on the filtering rules for DBS certificates
Landmark Supreme Court judgment on the filtering rules for DBS certificates
Schools and colleges will already be aware that the DBS currently filters out certain old and minor offences from criminal records checks. Specific listed offences (including violent and sexual offences) and offences that attracted a custodial sentence are not, however, filtered out in this way and will still show up on a DBS check. Where an individual has had multiple convictions these also remain on DBS checks regardless of the nature of the offences.
On 30th January 2019 the UK Supreme Court published its judgment in the case of R (on the application of P) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and others (Respondents). The Supreme Court upheld previous rulings by the High Court (2016) and the Court of Appeal (2017), determining that the way workers’ criminal records are disclosed to employers infringes their human rights and is incompatible with their right to respect for private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
- The court rejected as disproportionate and capricious the “multiple convictions” rule which requires disclosure of all convictions where a person has more than one. The rule “applies irrespective of the nature of the offences, of their similarity, of the number of occasions involved or of the intervals of time separating them.” It was therefore held to be incapable of indicating a propensity to offend.
- The requirement to disclose young offenders' warnings and reprimands was also held to be disproportionate. The purpose of giving a warning or reprimand is intended to be instructive rather than punitive at a time of life when moral bearings are still in the course of formation. Disclosure to a potential employer would therefore be directly inconsistent with that purpose and “an error of principle.”
The ruling will potentially impact on thousands of people who have old or minor criminal convictions and who are required to apply for an enhanced criminal records check to work in certain jobs and sectors, including education. Whilst the government will have to review the criminal record filtering system in the light of this judgment, it is not yet known what type or scale of reform might follow.
11/02/19: DfE guidance on 'no deal' Brexit preparations for schools and colleges
DfE guidance on 'no deal' Brexit preparations for schools and colleges
Two key areas of the schools' guidance affect the recruitment of citizens from countries in the EU, EEA, EFTA (European Free Trade Association) and Switzerland.
Recognition of teaching qualifications
- Currently EU, EEA, EFTA and Swiss qualified teachers have the right to have their professional status and qualifications considered for the award of Qualified Teacher Status in England.
- In a no deal scenario, the current system of reciprocal recognition of professional qualifications between the EU, EEA, EFTA, Switzerland and the UK will cease after 29 March 2019.
- EU, EEA, EFTA and Swiss professionals who have applied for a recognition decision before 29th March under the current system will not be affected.
- There will be no retrospective change for people who have already had their EU, EEA EFTA and Swiss professional status and qualifications recognised and been awarded Qualified Teacher Status in England.
- After the UK leaves the EU, teachers with EU, EEA, EFTA or Swiss qualifications will still have a means to seek recognition of their professional qualifications through a new system. Further information will be published “shortly” on the GOV.UK website.
Checking for EEA regulating authority teacher sanctions or restrictions
- In a no deal scenario, the requirement for EEA professional regulating authorities to share details of any sanction or restriction imposed on teachers will no longer apply.
- The Teaching Regulation Agency will therefore no longer maintain details of those teachers who have been sanctioned in EEA member states.
- The statutory safeguarding guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education, will be updated shortly to inform schools and colleges about how an EEA regulator’s assessment of a teacher’s professional competence can be checked in future.
The similar “no deal” guidance for further and higher education institutions has not identified any sector-specific employment implications.
See our previous news item on the EU Settlement Scheme for a summary of the rights of nationals from these countries to live and work in the UK after 29 March.
We will provide further information about the revised system for recognition of professional qualifications once known.
31/01/19: DfE publishes evidence to the STRB regarding the 2019 school teachers' pay award
The DfE has today published its evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) to support the pay body’s consideration of the 2019 pay award for school teachers and leadership.
Unsurprisingly, the evidence focusses again on the need for affordability to be given due consideration, specifically stating that government funding for the 2019 award should not be assumed. The DfE’s estimation is that schools will see increases in effective per-pupil costs of 3% over 2018-20, omitting both the impact of the 2019 pay award and the increases in teachers’ pension contributions from this September (which the government is proposing to fund in full).
In summary, however, their analysis is that – nationally and overall – a 2% per teacher pay award from September 2019 should be affordable (equivalent to a £480m increase in the pay bill over 12 months), whilst recognising that individual schools need to assess their own expenditure priorities and consider teachers’ pay alongside other needs.
It is reiterated that the government continues to support the STRB’s expectation that it is for schools to decide locally the extent to which any uplift to pay ranges and allowances within the framework will apply to individual teachers and takes the view that a similar approach should be adopted in respect of the 2019 award.
Other areas of focus the STRB is asked to look at in making its recommendations are the past distribution of increases across pay ranges as well as how to target this year’s uplift to support recruitment and retention, proposing that the evidence supports targeting teachers who are at the start of their careers.
The DfE reiterates its intention to set the STRB an additional remit asking them to consider further reforms to the teachers’ pay system to support schools with addressing recruitment and retention challenges whilst offering a “compelling career pathway” and addressing “continued inflexibilities” in the pay framework, including for those at the top of their pay range. This remit will be published at a later date.
The STRB is due to report back to the Secretary of State “by early May”.
30/01/19: Immigration in a no-deal Brexit scenario
A further update on immigration in a no deal scenario was issued by the Home Office on 28th January 2019. The policy paper states that the Home Office would seek to end free movement “as soon as possible” ideally on 30 March 2019 (subject to parliamentary approval).
The key points included are:
- Once free movement has ended EU citizens and their families will require permission to be admitted to the UK ( leave to enter or remain)
- The new skills based immigration system will not be implemented until after December 31st 2020 once all current EU residents have been granted settled status
- A transitional period will run until December 31st 2020 during which employers will not be required to distinguish between EU citizens resident before exit and post exit arrivals
- During the transitional period EU citizens will continue to be able to evidence their right to work using a passport or national identity card
- From 2021 employers should check EU citizens’ status via the Home Office’s digital status checker
Full details can be found at gov.uk
29/01/19: DfE publishes its Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy
Yesterday, the Department for Education published its Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy for state-funded schools, setting out the government’s priorities “for making sure a career in teaching continues to be attractive, sustainable and rewarding”.
Developed in collaboration with teachers, unions, sector experts and training providers, four key priorities have been identified as follows:
- Create the right climate for leaders to establish supportive school cultures: The DfE will work with Ofsted to simplify the accountability system and focus on reducing unnecessary teacher workload.
- Transform support for early career teachers: The new Early Career Framework will underpin an entitlement to a funded 2-year support package for all new teachers. Reforms include a dedicated mentor and a reduced timetable for early career teachers, giving them the time and support needed to focus on their professional development.
- Build a career offer that remains attractive to teachers as their careers and lives develop: To help expand flexible working, a new “find your jobshare” service will be launched to help those interested find opportunities, and free timetabling tools will be provided to make it easier for schools to manage. New specialist qualifications are being developed for those who want to develop their career and progress without going down the usual leadership route.
- Make it easier for great people to become teachers: A new ‘one-stop’ system for initial teacher training will be introduced which offers a simplified application process (a pilot focused on a handful of subjects is live now). ‘Discover Teaching’ initiatives are launching later this year so more people get the opportunity to try out teaching before they apply.
The full policy paper and one page summary for schools is available on the gov.uk website.
Regional roadshows are being planned across the country to seek further views and to identify how the government can work together with schools to deliver the strategy. You can contact email@example.com for further information.
23/01/19: Latest on the EU Settlement Scheme
The situation regarding Brexit is continually changing, however we thought it may be useful to clarify the situation at the moment regarding the EU Settlement Scheme and its impact on employers:
- The EU Settlement Scheme, which requires all EU citizens living in the UK to obtain a settled status document that would give them the same rights as they currently enjoy under free movement, will continue in the event of a no-deal scenario. Customers can find full details of the settlement scheme in the summer issue of HR-Bytes E-Newsletter 44.
- The registration process for the EU Settlement scheme begins in January 2019 and will last two years until 31 December 2020 with an additional 6-month grace period extending to June 30 2021. There is thus no urgency for employers and EU citizens to apply, the final test phase was launched in January 2019 and the system will not be launched nationally until March 2019.
- Free movement will effectively continue during the planned transitional period between March 2019 and December 2020. If there is no deal, free movement of workers could end on 29 March 2019, however implementing a new immigration regime is not a straightforward task and in a no-deal scenario it is most likely that free movement will continue until new immigration law is finalised.
- The Home Office has confirmed that employers will not have to conduct additional right to work checks immediately after Brexit. In addition, it has reassured employers that they will not have to differentiate between resident EU citizens and those that arrive during the planned transitional period after exit in March 2019.
- The Home Office view is that employers are under no obligation to ensure their staff apply for settled/pre-settled status, the onus is on the individual to apply.
- Theresa May announced on January 21st 2019 that the costs of making an application (£65 adult / £32.50 child) will be removed and any individuals who have already paid will be refunded.
- The Home Office has produced an employer toolkit including useful posters and leaflets to help employers to support their employees. Schools should focus on identifying who in their workforce is an EU national, reassuring them that their status is protected and seek ways of supporting them with the registration process (to be completed before 1 July 2021).
09/01/19: The Good Work Plan
On 17th December, the government published the Good Work Plan, setting out its intention to make changes to certain areas of employment law following the Taylor Review. The aim of the changes is to ensure workers can access fair and decent work, provide businesses with greater clarity on their obligations and ensure the enforcement system is fair and fit for purpose.
There is no published timetable for the reforms although some are included in draft statutory instruments already published* and which are intended to come into force on 6th April 2020.
* The Draft Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018, the Draft Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 and the Draft Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2019.
The changes announced as part of the Good Work Plan include:
- A commitment to legislate to streamline the employment status tests with the intention that they become the same for both employment and tax purposes, and to avoid the misclassification of employees/workers as self-employed;
- Extending the right to a written statement of terms and conditions from employees to all workers, and introducing it as a ‘day one’ right rather than within two months of employment (intended to come into force from 6th April 2020);
- The removal of the ‘Swedish Derogation’ included in the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, which has prevented certain agency workers from gaining rights on pay if they are paid a minimum rate between assignments with the hirer (intended to come into force from April 2020);
- Increasing the reference period for calculating ‘a week’s pay’ for the purposes of statutory holiday pay entitlements in the case of a worker with no normal hours of work or whose pay varies with the amount of work done from 12 weeks to 52 weeks (intended to come into force from 6thApril 2020);
- Lowering the threshold required for a request to set up information and consultation arrangements from 10% to 2% (intended to come into force from 6th April 2020);
- Quadrupling the maximum limit a tribunal can award an employee in the case of an “aggravated breach” of employment rights from £5,000 to £25,000. (intended to come into force from 6thApril 2020);
- Introducing a right for all workers to request a fixed working pattern from their employer after 26 weeks’ service, with the result that zero-hours workers will be able to request fixed hours of work;
- Increasing the period between employments before continuity is broken from one week to four weeks. This means more employees will enjoy continuity of employment and the rights dependent on a qualifying period, such as the right to notice and statutory redundancy pay.
Measures designed to improve enforcement of worker rights include:
- The creation of new powers to impose penalties on employers who breach employment agency legislation, such as non-payment of wages;
- A ban on employers making deductions from staff tips;
- Setting up a new single labour market enforcement agency to ensure vulnerable workers are better protected.
Whilst many of the changes detailed in the Good Work Plan clarify the rights of workers, it is not yet clear to what extent more legislation will assist employers in clarifying employment status, the complexity of the task having been highlighted in recent “gig economy” cases. There is still a considerable amount of detail to be set out.
In the meantime, schools and colleges may wish to consider auditing their use of atypical workers in light of these changes to evaluate any areas where current practice differs from future requirements.
03/01/19: Surrey Pay 2019/20 pay offer - latest news
Following the recent consultation period for schools and non-schools, a revised Surrey Pay offer has been prepared. SCC, UNISON and the GMB have released a joint statement detailing the final offer.
Unions are due to ballot members during January 2019 on whether to accept the final offer.
The joint statement is available to view on the SCC schools reward page (see December updates).
Previous latest news updates from the Autumn Term 2018 (up to 31.12.18) can be found on the Newsletters and Updates - Autumn Term 2018 page (log in required).