Statutory policies for schools and academy trusts

The Department for Education states that school leaders in all schools are required to hold each of these statutory policies and other documents, and must meet the requirements that apply to their school or trust

Schools and trusts are not always required to hold a specific policy for each requirement; it is possible to meet several requirements collectively, unless otherwise stated. The drafting of school policies can be delegated to any member of school staff, apart from certain circumstances which are stated.

This document covers how often each policy must be reviewed. Where it doesn’t specify, the DfE strongly advise you to review the policy annually – and remember, when there’s a change in the law, or circumstances, you will need to revise your policies or documentation accordingly.

The document also states the level of approval required. Throughout this guidance the DfE use the term ‘governing body’ to represent both governing boards and trust boards; not all policies need to be signed off by the full governing body.

There are instances where statutory guidance states that policies and procedures should be in place, but this is not the same as a legal requirement. Each piece of linked guidance, which is not statutory, makes clear the nature of the requirement.

Where possible, model policies have been included within the linked guidance. Organisations, such as your local authority, may provide free support and model policies, which the DfE suggest you consider.

Each section sets out whom the guidance applies to. Academies and free schools have greater freedoms than local-authority-maintained schools in relation to school policies and other documents. The DfE have outlined arrangements applying to these schools in legislation or in their funding agreements; this may vary between individual academies and free schools.

Here is an overview of the first two sections of the document.

Admission agreements

Arrangements must be determined annually. You must consult on any changes and, where no changes are made, consultation is required at least every seven years. The full governing body, or an authorised committee of the governing body, must approve, where the school is its own admissions authority.

Charging and remissions

This applies directly to academies and free schools via their funding agreements. The governing body is free to decide how often review takes place. The DfE advises that governing bodies review this requirement annually. The governing body can delegate approval to a committee of the governing body, an individual governor or the headteacher.

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Data protection

Under the Data Protection (Charges and Information) Regulations 2018, schools must register with the information commissioner’s office. You must adhere to GDPR requirements. The DfE teaching blog includes articles with suggestions on how to ensure you are compliant. The DfE advises that governing bodies review this requirement annually. Registration is annual.

Protection of biometric information of children in schools and colleges

The DfE advises that governing bodies review this requirement annually.

Register of pupils’ admission to school and attendance

The register of admission must be a live document. The governing body is free to delegate approval to a committee of the governing body, an individual governor or the headteacher. The register itself can be kept by appropriate school staff. The attendance register must also be a live document. The governing body of a school can delegate the keeping of the register to the headteacher and the register must be kept, and updated, daily by appropriate school staff.

School information published on a website

This is a live document that must be updated as soon as possible after a change, and at least annually. The governing body is free to delegate approval to a committee of the governing body, an individual governor or the headteacher.

School complaints

This aspect applies to local-authority-maintained schools, including maintained special schools but the DfE strongly advises academies to also consider following the guidance. Academies should have a written complaints procedure, which is available on request to parents. The DfE recommends that academies publish this online and make it available to anyone who requests it. The governing body, or proprietor, is free to decide how often you review; however, the DfE advises that governing bodies review this requirement annually. The governing body or the proprietor can delegate approval to a committee of the governing body, an individual governor or the headteacher.

To read the rest of the document click here.

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