Three challenges for school leaders in 2018

As the new year begins, what changes do you need to prepare for? Richard Skipper discusses three major challenges waiting for school leaders in 2018 in SecEd.

It can be difficult to keep an eye on the policy horizon when you’re so busy with the demands of here and now. So, here are three important changes to look out for in 2018.

The National Funding Formula

The transition period begins: for the next couple of years at least, a “soft” version of the final National Funding Formula (1) will hopefully help schools to manage the transition to the new arrangements. From April 2018, the new formula will be used to calculate each school’s notional budget, and this will be aggregated to give the total schools block budget for each local authority. Your local authority will continue to apply its own local formula for the time being, then distribute its block allocation to schools. To help prepare, you can:

  • Check your notional funding allocation under the new national formula to get an idea of what your funding will be after the transition (2).
  • Review your financial efficiency using the Department for Education’s (DfE) suite of tools (3).
  • Keep an eye out for DfE announcements (4) on any new developments or funding opportunities

Data protection reforms

From May 25, schools must comply with new data protection law under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It is similar to current law but there are some key changes that you need to prepare for. While we await more school-specific national guidance, here are some steps you can start with:

  • First, tell key people in your school that the law is changing and assign responsibility for managing particular changes. If you have a risk register, add data protection to it so it is recorded as a potential compliance issue.
  • Put a plan in place to appoint a data protection officer by May. There’s currently limited guidance on who this should be but the role could be taken on by a senior staff member, outsourced or shared across a group of schools.

When it comes to consent, check that you seek, record and manage it in line with the rules – for example, to use a child’s picture on the school website. In particular, consent can no longer be assumed: if your consent form currently says something like “if you don’t respond, we will assume we can use your child’s image” you will have to ask again. Under the new rules, consent must be opt-in, specific, documented and easily withdrawn, among other things. 

Read more about 2018’s policies including Ofsted inspections and safeguarding and how the prepare for them Three challenges for school leaders in 2018

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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