Advice on Policies for London Schools

Helping you find your way through the maze of school policies and procedures with guidance from London experts on how to communicate with students and their parents.

  • Advice on how to create school policies
  • Details on policies needing approval from the governing body
  • The different categories of school policies

London School Policies & Procedures

All schools and academies must hold and follow a range of school policies and procedures, and this of course applies to schools and academies in London.

This resource covers London school policies examples, some of which are statutory and others are at the discretion of the school’s proprietors or governing bodies.

When looking at the list of school policies and procedures that must be in place, you will find that London academies and free schools will be granted a higher degree of flexibility than maintained schools, and public school policies are well known for being much more comprehensive.

London schools must keep their policies and procedures up to date and ensure they are revisited on a regular basis. This rule applies even when there is no statutory requirement to keep them under review.

What is the Importance of London School Policies and Procedures?

London primary school policies and procedures, and also those of London secondary schools, are created with a view to providing parents, staff, governors, Local Education Authority officers and Ofsted inspectors with a snapshot of the school’s principles, allowing values to be clearly conveyed and standards to be boosted.

The policies a London school should have cover staff matters, pupil welfare and safeguarding, and learning and teaching practices. A London school policy is set with the aim of supporting personnel in managing behaviour, discrimination, health and welfare, amongst other things. The policy forms the basis of the institution’s values and principles.

London schools will rely on their policies to attract new staff, governors and pupils. If parents see stories in the press that concern them or their children have past issues of a particular nature stemming from something that happened at school, they will often make enquiries of school polices on social media, cyberbullying and e-safety for example, before they agree to let their child accept a place. Prospective staff looking to join London schools and academies often request a list of school policies on staff development and welfare before they decide whether to take on a new position.

How are London School Policies Created?

School policy drafting is a task that can be allocated to any member of staff at a London school or academy. Whilst some of the policies must be signed off by the full governing body, others can be put into action without doing so.

The process of creating a primary or high school policy and procedures manual begins by appointing a team to take responsibility for the task. This team will decide upon the target audience for each school policy so that it can be suitably written to be clearly understood. An example of this would be primary school policies on violence, fighting or behaviour. These would need to be made up of wording suitable for the level of understanding of young children, and if the children are particularly young then it may be more appropriate to use images to depict the rules being conveyed.

A good quality school policy will be concise and informative and free from ambiguity. Once drafted, all the parties concerned will need to be consulted. An example of this would be a school policy on athletic training. Once put together, the school would consult with the PE staff to ensure they agree with its principles and are happy with how it will work in practice. Another example would be a London school policy on hepatitis b, pink eye and head lice. In this case it would be health professionals who would need to be consulted to ensure the principles were appropriate.

Once a school policy is ready it may be necessary to submit it for approval to the full Governing Body so that they can approve it. This is not always a requirement however, and it is sometimes possible for London schools to delegate the approval process to an individual governor, a committee or a member of staff.

The final stage of the school policy setting process is monitoring. All policies should undergo regular reviews to ensure they are working in practice and to ascertain whether they are effective and meeting objectives.

What are Classed as Statutory School Policies?

A list of school policies required by law includes the following:

  • The special educational needs (SEN) report
  • School policies on bullying
  • A school behaviour policy
  • The child protection policy
  • Equal opportunities policies
  • The school admissions policy
  • The complaints policy and procedures
  • The charging policy
  • The health and safety policy
  • The curriculum policy
  • A sex education policy
  • Performance management policies
  • The teachers’ pay and conditions policy
  • Staff discipline, conduct, capability and grievance procedures

What are the London School Policies and Procedures that Must be Approved by the Full Governing Body?

A certain selection of school policies and documents must be approved by the full Governing Body in order to be legal, according to the Department for Education (DfE). These are as follows:

For maintained schools only:

  • Staff discipline, conduct, capability and grievance procedures
  • The school admissions policy
  • The instrument of government

For maintained schools and academies:

  • The special educational needs policy
  • The Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions policy
  • The Child Protection policy and documents
  • The full Governing Body meeting minutes

When and How Must London School Policies be Reviewed?

Some school policies have to undergo a regular review process according to certain parameters. This does not however apply to all policies: some of them can be reviewed under the governance of the Head Teacher or Governing Body. An annual review is required for the child protection policy, the admissions policy, the teachers’ pay policy, the special educational needs (SEN) report and in some cases the Early Years Foundation Stage policy.

A bi-annual review is required for the data protection policy and a review of the accessibility plan must be undertaken every three years. Information posted on a school’s website should be updated as and when it changes and at the very least every year.

London schools find it works best in practice to set a review date for every policy as it enters circulation. Sometimes monitoring will show that a policy needs to be reviewed ahead of its date, perhaps because it does not appear to be working in practice.

Reviews should involve a consultation with anyone affected by the policy such as pupils, parents and staff and should question whether the objectives ae being met and indeed whether those objectives are still appropriate.

The format of a review should include questions as to how the policy has managed to support other connected policies. An example of this would be a school policy of cell phones that has impacted positively on a school behaviour policy.

Are There Certain Policies that Must be Displayed on a School’s Website?

In line with the School Information (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012, certain school policies are required to be displayed on the school’s website. These include:

  • The school admissions policy
  • A school behaviour policy
  • The special educational needs (SEN) report
  • The charging policy
  • The remissions policy
  • The curriculum policy

Whilst the above must be displayed on the website, there is nothing to stop a London school posting its full set of policies and procedures online so that ongoing access is provided throughout the year to all the latest versions. This will assist in combating the problem of outdated issues with school policies.

If parents request paper copies of the policies published on the school’s website then they must be provided without charge.

What is the Best Way to Communicate School Policies to London Parents and Pupils?

There is a variety of ways to communicate London primary school policies and procedures and also those of secondary schools to parents and pupils. For a start, parents should receive a school policy handbook at the start of each school year.

Communication methods for pupils should always correspond with their age and learning level. So for example, a set of written rules may be suitable for students of a high school, however primary school policies and procedures would be better communicated using pictures or signs with extra assistance from teachers who may wish to make a lesson out of discussing the policies with the children. Lots of schools in London follow this process very successfully.

What are the Different School Policies?

In London and across the UK, the list of school policies has been growing steadily for the past few years as new problems surface and developments take place. It is only in recent years for example that school policies on cyber bullying, e-cigarettes, social media, cell phones and e-safety have been introduced.

The categories of school policies are as follows:

Learning related policies

Examples: A whole school policy for PE, athletic training and literacy

Health related policies

Examples: School policies for pink eye, bed bugs, hepatitis b, head lice and general sickness

Diversity related policies

Examples: School policies for transgender students, on special educational needs, race and religion

Behaviour related policies

Examples: School policies on plagiarism, e-cigarettes, cheating, fighting, bullying and tardy to school

Technology and safeguarding related policies

Examples: School policies on mobile phones, social media, ICT and e-safety

How can HCB Solicitors Assist in Drafting and Implementing School Policies and Procedures in London?

HCB’s London based education law solicitors have been assisting schools and academies across the Capital with the drafting of effective school policies and procedures for many years. Our experts work closely with Head Teachers on a daily basis, helping them to implement, monitor and review appropriate and legally compliant policies and procedures that have been known to have a positive effect on the individual establishments. For tailored advice and specialist guidance for your London school or academy, please get in touch.



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