Articles from Irwin Mitchell LLP

Self isolation and COVID safety requirements in the Further Education Sector after today

FAQs about self isolation and COVID safety requirements in the Further Education Sector after 19 July  Despite the surge in the numbers of people testing positive for COVID-19, from today, Monday 19 July most restrictions, put in place in England to protect public health, will end. Guidance will replace legal restrictions and responsibility for making decisions to reduce the spread of the virus will shift from the government, and its public health officials, to employers and individuals. 

Seven things for schools and colleges to consider before 8 March 2021

@Helen_IMHRplus @IrwinMitchell shares seven things that schools and colleges should consider before pupils return en-mass on the 8th March 2021  On Monday 22 February, the Prime Minister set out the four steps his government plans to take to lift Covid restrictions in England. 

No vaccine, no job? Can FE Colleges insist their staff take the Covid-19 vaccine?

@Helen_IMHRplus @IrwinMitchell provides a deep dive on the Covid vaccine and staff from a legal perspective  Last month, the outspoken owner of Pimlico Plumbers said that he wouldn't offer a job to anyone who hasn't been vaccinated. Given that the vast majority of the UK's working population haven't been offered the vaccination yet, his approach is somewhat premature (as well as being, potentially, legally problematic). But, the issue of whether employers can insist that staff take the Covid-19 vaccine when it's offered to them is one that many are starting to grapple with. For example, it's reported that the National Care Association is taking legal advice about whether care homes can force care staff to have the vaccine after it emerged that up to one fifth of staff in some care home groups have refused to take it. What has the Government said about vaccination? There is no legal basis the government can rely on to force people to be vaccinated and the Green Book (which provides information for public health professionals on immunisation) says that a patient has to agree before their doctor can start any treatment. This includes administering a vaccine. The government has repeatedly emphasised that people will not be forced to have a vaccine if they don't want one. Instead, it has set out to persuade people that the vaccines are safe and that it's in everyone's interests to have one so that we can get back to some sort of normality. Clearly, if the government can't legally compel people to be vaccinated, you can't frog march your staff to the nearest vaccination centre either.

What's the best way to respond if your staff refuse to return to work because of concerns about coronavirus?

On January 4th the Prime Minister announced that England would go into a third national lockdown. The message was clear – everyone needed to stay at home to defeat the virus. And, despite reassuring the public on Sunday that schools and colleges were safe, less than 48 hours later, they were “vectors of transmission” and needed to close for all pupils other than those who were vulnerable or whose parents were key workers and for those sitting exams this month. Alternative provision, special schools and nurseries would remain open.

Holidays and Quarantine: Top 7 School and College Questions Answered

On Saturday night, the government announced it was removing Spain from the list of countries on its travel corridor scheme. This means that anyone returning from Spain, including the Balearics and Canaries, must self-isolate on their return to the UK for 14 days.

Face masks in schools and colleges - the new rules

Yesterday, the government changed its advice about wearing face masks in schools and colleges in England. Different rules apply in Scotland, and at the time of writing, the position in Wales hasn't been announced.

Self isolation legal advice for schools and colleges dealing with outbreaks

@JoMoseley1 from @irwinmitchell shares some legal advice for schools and colleges to help deal with Covid outbreaks or handling staff and pupils showing coronavirus symptoms. The autumn term has only just started and, already, schools and colleges are sending pupils and staff home because they have a cough or other coronavirus symptoms. 

Help is urgently needed from the Government if student accommodation providers are to survive Covid-19

University and FE providers generally need to be aware that the coronavirus pandemic has placed student accommodation providers in a dire situation. Not only are accommodation providers looking at empty rooms this academic year, but 20/21 numbers are anticipated to see a drop of up to 30%.

The recklessness of failing to collectively consult

Colleges needing to make redundancies of 20 or more employees, it is important to take into account the plethora of recent case law on redundancy collective consultation.

Apprenticeships – recent changes and those on the horizon

The subject of Apprenticeships is once again firmly on the government's agenda and an area where there has been recent reform with proposals for more to come. We have summarised below the recent changes and proposals, but first here's a reminder as to what apprenticeships are and the different ways further education (FE) colleges can engage apprentices.

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Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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