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19 Sep 2017

School Regulation and Inspection - update September 2017

Data Protection, Charity Law, Pupil UPNs, Law Commission Report on Charity Law, Adrenaline auto-injectors and Inspections

Data Protection

On 14 September, the Data Protection Bill was published. This will eventually replace the Data Protection Act 1998 and incorporate the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into UK legislation.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has published a factsheet on the Bill which states: “Organisations which already operate at the standard set by the Data Protection Act 1998 should be well placed to reach the new standards. The Bill will mean that UK organisations are best placed to continue to exchange information with the EU and international community, which is fundamental to many businesses. The Information Commissioner is already working to help businesses to comply with the new law from May 2018 and will be taking a fair and reasonable approach to enforcement after that date”.

Separately, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has started a series of blog posts aimed at "busting myths" about the GDPR and updated some of its resources for educators, which includes a webinar.

The ICO has also launched a consultation on their draft guidance on contracts and liabilities between controllers and processors under the GDPR, which closes on 10 October. ISC will be considering whether to respond to this consultation; schools that would like to contribute via ISC can send comments to legal@isc.co.uk.

Charity Law

The Charity Commission and Department for Education have uploaded a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This represents a published approach to joint working which has been signed-off by both departments. The MOU emphasises that:

  • DfE may work with the Charity Commission if it has concerns relating to an independent school which is not meeting the independent school standards.
  • DfE do not have the power to remove trustees (governors), officers, agents and employees or to disqualify trustees, but the MOU expressly makes the point that the Commission does. (Interestingly, it makes no reference to the powers set out in Section 128 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 which do confer powers on the Secretary of State to make orders prohibiting individuals from being involved in the management of independent schools).
  • DfE agrees to keep the Commission informed of regulatory or enforcement action.
  • DfE and the Commission have extensive powers to share information and will use them in respect of schools, establishing channels of communication.
  • Sharing information in the context of public benefit and status is expressly mentioned.

Pupil UPNs

DfE has republished guidance for schools and local authorities on unique pupil numbers (UPNs) and a tool for generating them. The UPN is a 13-character code that identifies each pupil in the maintained school system. The guide provides information on UPNs, including guidelines on maintaining UPNs, data protection and how to generate UPNs. There is no statutory duty on independent schools to maintain UPNs, however it is permissible for an independent school to allocate UPNs.

Law Commission Report on Charity Law

The Law Commission has published a new report – Technical Issues in Charity Law – which was informed by responses the Commission received to their 2015 consultation paper and 2016 supplementary consultation paper. It contains recommendations to remove unnecessary administrative and financial burdens faced by charities, while safeguarding the public interest in ensuring that charities are properly run. The report includes a draft Bill that would give effect to the Commission’s recommendations for

Adrenaline auto-injectors

From October 2017, schools may purchase adrenaline auto-injectors (AAIs) from a pharmaceutical supplier, provided this is done on an occasional basis and is not for profit. The Department of Health has confirmed that it will issue non-statutory guidance before October 2017 to support schools in their management of AAIs.


Two recently-reported cases on challenges to Ofsted inspections provide some interesting reading, although there is no direct read-across for schools inspected by ISI.

The Durand Academy Trust brought a judicial review against Ofsted arguing, amongst other grounds, that the complaints process of Ofsted was unfair for not permitting a substantive challenge to the conclusions of an Ofsted report. Durand's challenge was upheld, and the report quashed.

The internal process did not allow a substantive challenge to the conclusions of an Ofsted report. Ofsted's asserted justification - that it had a rigorous internal assessment and review process for reports and that aggrieved institutions would always avail themselves of such a challenge - was fundamentally flawed.

ISI has confirmed that it has reviewed its complaints policy which is more robust and not open to the same criticism.

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School Regulation and Inspection - update July 2017

The Information Commissioner's Office has published revised guidance.

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7 Jun 2017 School Regulation and Inspection

School Regulation and Inspection - update June 2017

How to prepare for the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

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4 May 2017 School Regulation and Inspection

School Regulation and Inspection - update May 2017

Inspection - advice from ISI

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4 Apr 2017 School Regulation and Inspection

School Regulation and Inspection - update April 2017

Apprenticeship levy

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1 Feb 2017

Teacher Workload Survey 2016

DfE Research report

9 Jul 2017

Subject access code of practice

SAR code of practice: Dealing with requests from individuals for personal information