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Randstad Education successfully lobbies DfE for AWR clarification

Randstad Education successfully lobbies DfE for AWR clarification

After highlighting to the DfE that schools and LEAs are urgently craving information regarding the new Agency Workers Regulations (AWR), Randstad Education has successfully obtained clarification which will prove to be a welcome relief to schools, with just three weeks remaining until AWR implementation.

At the beginning of the year Randstad Education expressed the concerns of many schools and LEAs that the lack of concise and clear information and variety of interpretations of the AWR due to come into effect on 1st October 2011, was leading to widespread confusion, rumours and misunderstandings.

Randstad Education has been engaged in relentless dialogue with both the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the DfE, with one of the main issues of concern specifically being in relation to the legal definition of the 'hirer'.

BIS recently published supplementary guidance for agency supply teachers with the legal definition of 'hirer' sub-divided into maintained schools, academies and independent schools. But according to Randstad Education UK, that 'hirer' definition still fails to explain if this means the local authority or the school's governing body.   "It's vital that we all know who's accountable", says Randstad Education UK strategic operations manager Stewart

McCoy, hence his further appeal to the DfE, which instigated a much anticipated explanation, finally confirming that ".......the hirer is the legal entity responsible for supervising and directing the agency teacher. For the above type of schools, there may be different arrangements in place for supervising and directing the work of the supply teacher.......This is why it needs to be established on a case by case basis whether the school/governing body or local authority supervises and directs the work, thus becoming the hirer."

The DfE has confirmed to Randstad that it is the responsibility of the schools and LAs to decide who is responsible for directing and supervising a supply teacher.  Furthermore it is their directive that the agency should be held accountable for ensuring equal treatment after 12 weeks and that the 'hirer' is obligated to the agency to provide appropriate information as requested by the agency.

The DfE now calls upon agencies to ensure that their client schools are aware of the guidance and Randstad has proactively responded by writing to every local authority in the country asking how they are advising the schools.

Says Stewart McCoy, "Some responses from the LA's have started to come in and these have unanimously indentified the schools as the hirer."

He continues, "The LAs made reference to other issues within the regulations too and one LA in particular has included specific guidance to schools on how to interpret the definition of a substantively different role, explaining that it is unlikely that a move from one-to-one tutoring to whole class work would represent a change of role as it is essentially deemed to be teaching work under the School Teachers' Pay & Conditions Document."

Randstad Education has always maintained the importance of remembering that any role which includes planning, preparation, delivery and assessment of progress of pupils work is deemed to be teaching and should only be undertaken by a qualified teacher in maintained schools and whilst the company is encouraged by the good advice from this particular LA, Stewart McCoy is keen to point out that it is only one of a few LAs that has demonstrated proactivity in providing clarity to schools, who are otherwise left to navigate the complex regulations themselves, or rely upon agencies like Randstad Education to provide sound support and guidance on how the regulations will affect them.

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