Policies are intended to determine how the school works. The statutory ones (see below) are largely strategic; they should determine how the school addresses certain key processes by providing a framework for action by the headteacher and staff. Most schools will have several other policies in addition to the statutory ones, which the governing body does not have to approve (though it may, in agreement with the headteacher, still do so for some of them). Often these will be operational, and may include such things as the curriculum for individual subjects.
This chart lays out the policies that you MUST have in place (code letters indicating the type of document). This is taken from advice from the Department for Education and outlines the policies and other documents school governing bodies and proprietors of independent schools are legally required to hold. Governors also need to be aware that schools will be subject to Employment Law (contact your HR provider for more details, or those buying in to HR Zone can click here).
There is no requirement for all policies to be reviewed annually. We have outlined (below and against individual policy information) how often each policy must be reviewed.
A = Statutory Policies Required by Education Legislation; B = Statutory Policies Required by Other Legislation ; C = Statutory Documents; D = Documents referenced in Statutory Guidance
When fulfilling statutory duties the language used indicates the extent to which the associated guidance is compulsory or optional:
Any decision not to follow the guidance should be documented fully in case it is challenged e.g. the statutory guidance for the School Staffing Regulations reminds governors that failure to follow the guidance could be challenged in a tribunal.
Academies and Free Schools have greater freedoms than maintained schools in relation to school policies and other documents. Where relevant, arrangements applying to these schools are outlined in legislation or in their funding agreements, which may vary between individual Academies and FreeSchools. Academies may have used an earlier model version or negotiated personalised versions amended with the agreement of the Secretary of State. Thus each Academy Trust should refer to its own documents to confirm statutory requirements.
For information on background, local and DfE guidance and BLT Models for Statutory and Non-Statutory documents please navigate our resources below.