An Opportunity to Experience a Mock Employment Tribunal

  • As a school leader or governance lead, have you ever wondered what  happens at an employment tribunal?
  • How prepared would you be if an employment related issue progressed to the tribunal stage?
  • Do you know what steps can you take to avoid a time consuming and expensive claim?
  • Would you know how to defend a claim if it came to it?

We know School and Trust Leaders, and those responsible for their governance, take their employer responsibilities very seriously and are keen to ensure their practices are proactive, fair and thorough. However, inevitably some difficult and complex staffing issues can arise. In those situations, leaders need to be able to quickly analyse the situation, assess the risks and have access to professional support to formulate a strategic response.

The complexities of employment law in schools and MATs is increasingly wide ranging and complicated. This situation has been compounded by various reforms and frequent changes to legislation, contributing to more cases progressing to employment tribunals on issues relating to discrimination, protected characteristics or unfair dismissal.

Learners First is delighted to be working with a specialist legal team from Irwin Mitchell and HR professionals from S4S to offer school leaders and chairs of trusts (or the chair of the governing body in LA maintained schools) a fully funded opportunity to experience a mock employment tribunal. This is a great professional development tool that will provide valuable experience of employment tribunal proceedings, what to expect and how best to prepare.

The interactive session will allow delegates to observe a role play of a realistic tribunal hearing, with discussion points throughout. The session will help leaders and governance professionals to better manage risk and make more informed decisions should they find themselves in such a situation.

The mock tribunal experience will cover:

  • The key legal tests that you must meet
  • What your role is in the employment tribunal process
  • What it’s like to be a witness and give evidence
  • How to prepare witnesses for the daunting experience of giving evidence
  • How your decisions will be scrutinised in a tribunal
  • What procedures you should adopt to stay legally compliant
  • When to seek legal or HR advice
  • The standard of proof required
  • What a ‘reasonable’ dismissal is
  • The documents you would need to support your case
  • The role the Judge plays and how they make decisions
  • The ACAS Code of Practice and how this is relevant to compensation
  • The arguments you can use to reduce the amount of compensation payable even if you lose the case

The session is designed for anyone working with the school, academy or MAT sector that is involved in hiring, managing or disciplining employees or making decisions about HR matters. The event will be particularly useful for CEOs, Headteachers, Chairs of Trust Boards, Chairs of Governing bodies (in maintained schools), chief operating officers, HR/business managers, line managers or anyone who may be required to attend an employment tribunal to give evidence.

The event is fully funded and will include lunch and refreshments.

Audience: Primary CEOs, Executive Heads, Head Teachers, Heads of School, Senior Leaders, Curriculum Leaders and/or Subject Leaders

To Book: To reserve a place please Click Here or visit the Learners First website.

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A Series of Writing Masterclass Webinars Led and Facilitated by Alex Quigley

Learners First invites you to join us for a new series of three online, interconnected Writing Masterclass Webinars with Alex Quigley for primary leaders and teachers.
Webinars will take place throughout April 2024 - dates below

Given the continued high priority of writing in many primary schools, Learners First is delighted to welcome back Alex Quigley, author of ‘Closing the Writing Gap’, to host a connected series of Writing Workshop Webinars for primary teachers and leaders. Through the webinar sessions, Alex will explore current writing challenges faced by pupils in primary schools and will offer a range of evidence-based practical approaches to help improve writing. The three sessions will focus specifically on the areas below, with references to ‘disciplinary writing’ woven throughout:

  • Closing the Writing Gap Webinar 1: Transforming Transcription (22nd April 2024)
    In this session, Alex explores the current ‘writing gap’ in schools. Drawing upon national challenges, he characterises current issues. He then goes on to inform how handwriting and spelling are vital foundations for writing success. The session offers practical and evidence-informed strategies for classroom teachers and leaders.
  • Closing the Writing Gap Webinar 2: Securing Sensational Sentences (24th April 2024)
    Alex focuses on the best bet for writing improvement – writing sensational sentences. He explores the importance of grammar and vocabulary for crafting a range of sentences and why this is key to writing improvement. The session includes an array of practical strategies that can be used across the curriculum.
  • Closing the Writing Gap Webinar 3: Editing and Revising Writing for Success (29th April 2024).
    Pupils struggle with editing and revising their writing and it can be a key skill that holds them back from writing success. This session explores why these approaches can be limited, but crucially, what teachers can do to model and scaffold these vital strategies in the writing process. Alex includes a range of practical strategies so that pupils can better self-regulate and become success independent writers who can write in a range of academic styles.

Collectively, the webinars are designed to help delegates to develop a greater understanding of pupils’ writing gaps and provide high quality, practical support (rooted in research evidence) to improve writing for primary pupils. The webinars are designed to be accessed as a series therefore we would strongly encourage delegates to attend all three for maximum impact and learning, however, individual bookings can be made. All webinars will take place online between 4.00pm—5.30pm.

  • Audience: Primary School Leaders, Primary Literacy/English Subject Leaders, Primary Teachers
  • To Book: To reserve a place please CLICK HERE or visit the Learners First website.
  • Cost: Fully funded

Strategic Approaches to Effective People Development & Talent Management in Schools & MATs

NEW! Excellence Seminars: Achieving Excellence, Striving for Exceptional in ALL Schools 
in association with the National Association for Able Children in Education

Increasingly, school and MAT leaders are investing in more strategic and deliberate approaches to talent management and ‘people development’ across their workforce. This is not surprising given that, on average, 75% of budgets are spent on staffing costs and the huge impact that a well motivated, highly skilled and committed workforce can make to all aspects of educational outcomes and children’s lives and future life chances. Teamed with the current recruitment and retention challenges within the education sector alongside changing workforce requirements, increased demands for flexibility and evolving school/MAT needs there has never been a more pertinent time for leaders to give strategic consideration to the way in which they attract, identify and harness capacity, talent and expertise from their biggest asset; their people.

In order to support schools/MATs develop creative approaches in this area, it is imperative they understand and adhere to any legal and employment related legislation within an education context. Therefore, this leadership briefing will focus specifically on the legal foundations of the employment relationship, the role of line managers in ensuring those legal foundations are met in a compliant way and develop a wider understanding for how policies and procedures and day to day line management play a part in supporting best practice and mitigating risk. Specifically, we’ll look at:

  • Promoting best practice for being a good vs poor leader in getting the most of our staff.
  • Exploring the legal responsibilities that they have as a manager when dealing with staff.
  • Focussing on the basic principles of line management in relation to capability, absence, conduct and performance issues.
  • Exploring what effective management of these areas looks like at a high level, supporting a culture where there is a positive work ethic, people are supported to improve and negative issues not overlooked.
  • An overview of how equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) comes into this, e.g. where absence is disability related or a disability leads to performance issues.
  • Common areas where things go wrong (such as over-formalising/under-formalising issues; missing key triggers where employees seek support; treating people inconsistently; allowing unlawful or risky banter).

Further series of legal leadership seminars will look in more detail at related areas such as flexible working, equality, diversity and inclusion within an education context are also planned and aim to complement this first session.

  • Audience: CEOs, COOs, Executive Heads, Head Teachers, Heads of School, Senior Leaders, HR/Personnel Leads
  • To Book: To reserve a place please CLICK HERE or visit the Learners First website.
  • Cost: Fully funded for all delegates from organisations subscribing to Learners First, £40 per delegate from non-subscribing organisations
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Creating the conditions to improve pupil participation and experience of success in their learning with Marc Rowland

EEF National Network of Research School advisor, government advisor for disadvantaged children, Author.

According to the DfE ‘Working Together to Improve Attendance’ (May 2022) ‘the barriers to accessing education are wide and complex, both within and beyond the school gates’. In the period of post pandemic recovery, schools continue to invest heavily in time and resources to improve attendance and reduce absence through a variety of explicit initiatives, extrinsic rewards for engagement and community outreach. However, how often do we hold up a mirror and consider the lived experience of our children and young people in our schools? How do pupils experience success in their learning and how do we know? And how do we secure pupils’ intrinsic motivation to participate fully in their learning experience? How do we control the controllables? Join us for an interactive, informative session reflecting on the latest research and practical insights and take-aways.

As part of a longstanding partnership, Learners First is delighted to welcome Marc Rowland, author, EEF National Network of Research School Advisor, government advisor for improving outcomes for disadvantaged learners, and leading national Pupil Premium expert to work with us during 2023/24 to help explore these themes. Through this enquiry based partnership work, these key questions (and others) along with the very latest research will be considered to explore how the experience of success at school can contribute to positive attendance, motivate, inspire, improve engagement and outcomes for all. An interactive, live webinar in October will launch this work which will be the first of two keynote events exploring the experience of success in learning.

  • Audience: Senior Leaders, Headteachers, Pastoral Leaders, teachers and support staff (all phases)
  • Cost: Fully funded for delegates from organisations subscribing to Learners First. For delegates from non-subscribing organisations, the fee is £60 per delegate.
  • To book: Click Here


Be sure to check out the English Hub professional development opportunities which aim to promote a love of reading and support schools across the country to provide excellent phonics and early language teaching.  This includes running events to showcase excellent practice in teaching reading and working with local schools to develop their practice.

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Our English Hub showcase events are practical, half day workshops designed to promote and share best practice in relation to the teaching of early language, reading and phonics. They have been carefully structured with inputs from school leaders, literacy and EYFS specialists and will include opportunities for lesson and teaching observations, action planning and facilitated, professional discussion.

The showcase events will consider implications for curriculum intent, implementation and impact as well as providing the opportunity for schools to find out more about the work of the English Hub and how their schools can access support, funding and further engagement.