COVID-19 live Q&A: How to safely reopen your school

As schools prepare to welcome back pupils and staff full time, our Health & Safety and Employment Law specialists discuss some of the most pressing obstacles facing Governors and Senior Leadership Teams and how to overcome them.

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Tune in live: Wednesday 26th August
15:30 - 16:15

With infection rates falling, detailed plans have now been unveiled for all children and young people to return to full-time education across the UK throughout August and September.

Restrictions on group sizes will be lifted to allow this to happen; however, education providers will need to ensure that COVID-secure measures remain in place to reduce the risk of transmission in their setting. Added to this, of course, is the challenge of reintroducing your teaching and non-teaching staff, and overcoming the various employment-related issues this presents.

To support your preparations, our Senior Employment Law Adviser & Solicitor Heather Grant and Principal Health & Safety Consultant Charles Spencer will be hosting a free 45-minute insight and advice session to offer clear, practical advice on the urgent challenges facing school leaders, help you approach situations confidently, and enable you to plan for a smooth, safe transition.

Speaking to educational leaders every day, the pair will cover some of the issues we know to be front of mind right now, including: 

  • Reluctant returners and refusals to work;
  • Managing pregnant staff and staff with disabilities;
  • Restructuring and redundancies (planning, process and notice periods);
  • For independent schools, how to change terms and conditions;
  • Handling health and safety issues raised by unions;
  • Dealing with dysfunctional management teams; and
  • Other everyday operational difficulties and managing difficult employees.


From a health and safety perspective, there has been very little relaxation of legislation or standards for schools during COVID-19. In fact, compliance has never been more important. The session will help you to understand what “reasonably practicable” steps schools should take prior to reoccupation and the vital role of risk assessment.

Plus, if there are still certain question marks around aspects of your reopening arrangements, there will also be an opportunity to put your queries to Heather and Charles for direction, clarity and reassurance.

Due to the high relevance of this topic, many of our recent virtual training sessions have been oversubscribed and we tend to receive hundreds of questions. Please rest assured that even if we don’t have time to answer your question during the Q&A, we will respond to you personally afterwards.

Need advice now?

Visit our free Coronavirus Advice Hub to watch our previous COVID-19: Live employer Q&A’s on demand. Here, you can also download a range of useful resources, including helpful guidance notes, sample letters and policies, and risk assessment templates, which are updated regularly to reflect current government guidance.

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About the Hosts

Heather Grant

Senior Employment Law Adviser and Solicitor at Ellis Whittam

Heather specialises in advising EW’s education clients (maintained and independent schools, colleges and universities) and charity clients. Heather is a qualified solicitor who has specialised in employment law throughout her career, variously advising SME’s and the pub and leisure industry.

Charles Spencer

Principal Health & Safety Consultant at Ellis Whittam

Charles has been consulting for over nine years and has a wealth of experience across all sectors and all aspects of health and safety. Although he has expertise in all spaces, he specialises in food safety, leisure, hospitality and retail, providing best-in-class advice and recommendations to some of the UK’s largest organisations.

Talk to us: 0345 226 8393

Chester |

Woodhouse, Church Lane, Aldford, Chester CH3 6JD

Glasgow |

The Beacon, 176 St Vincent Street, Glasgow G2 5SG

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