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Schools must get to grips with new regulations

Thursday, 17 May 2012

For many schools in Greater Manchester, conflicting information from the Department for Education and unions about the new Performance Management Regulations for teachers has created confusion and uncertainty. 

The new regulations championed by education secretary, Michael Gove, have been designed to enable schools to monitor teachers more closely and make it much easier to sack those that are underperforming. 

But with just three months to go before they take force, too many schools appear to be unclear about the changes.

(Heather Bragg, Solicitor) from Browne Jacobson, a specialist education law firm based in Manchester, explained:  "It is clear that both the Government and OFSTED will be scrutinising schools' practice in this area which places schools at risk or receiving an unfavourable OFSTED rating if the new rules are not properly understood.

"It is essential that schools understand the new regulations and what changes, if any, they need to make to their practices.  Although the government is keen to see schools managing their staff more robustly, schools need to be very careful that they  don't step outside of the boundaries of employment law by relying to closely on the government's rhetoric.

"Schools need to strike the balance between satisfying Ofsted that 'underperforming' teachers are being managed and treating their staff fairly.  It is clear that OFSTED will no longer rate a school as 'Outstanding' if teaching does not receive this rating, regardless of how high the other elements are scored so the importance of these changes can not be underestimated."

Browne Jacobson is hosting a free seminar event in Manchestercity centre on Thursday 24th May to help local schools get to grips with the changes.

Heather Bragg added: "At the moment there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about the changes and many schools don't feel they have a clear, independent source of information to allow them to get to grips with what needs to be done in time for the next academic year in September.

In addition to providing education law services, Browne Jacobson also offers schools and academies locally tailored HR advice on a range of areas including: disciplinary and grievances, sickness absences, trade union relations, performance management and contractual terms and conditions including maternity, paternity and redundancy rights. For more information visit www.education-advisors.com.



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