Preparing for the GDPR: what you need to think about

Guest blog from Fergal Roche:

“Fergal Roche is the Chief Executive of The Key, a company that provides trusted leadership and management support to over 40% of the schools in England and Wales.

Through his work regularly visiting and engaging with some of The Key’s 100,000 members, he has great insight into the world of school leadership and the issues affecting school leaders and governors today. 

He has been headteacher/principal of three schools and currently chairs the board of a multi-academy trust in Guildford.

He holds a BA (QTS) from Exeter University, an MA from the Open University and an MBA from Nottingham University.

Fergal is passionately committed to supporting schools in delivering better outcomes for children and young people. In 2007 he joined Ten Group to set up The Key and realise his vision of a service that would enable school leaders to run their schools with increased confidence, knowledge and capacity.”


Preparing for the GDPR: what you need to think about

It’s now only a few short months before the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force.  From 25 May 2018, the new regulations will affect the way schools process people’s personal data, with the aim of ensuring sensitive data is kept safe and secure.  It’s similar to the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 in many ways – most of the differences involve the GDPR building on or strengthening these principles. If you’re compliant with the DPA now, you’ll be compliant with much of the GDPR already.

If you haven’t already started looking into what you need to do to prepare, there are lots of resources available online to help you quickly get up to speed. Cutting the requirements down into timely and achievable objectives is the simplest way to tackle it – our GDPR roadmap is an example of how you could break down the key milestones.

There are a number of things to think about, but broadly speaking, kick-starting the process with an audit to map out the personal data your school holds, where it came from, and what you do with it, is the first step.  Collating this information aligned against the 6 lawful bases laid out in the new regulations will help you quickly see which areas you’re already compliant in, and where you need to focus your efforts. Doing this will also help you to establish a record of your data processing activities, which you can maintain going forward. It will also enable you to update your privacy notices, to ensure these are compliant. Make sure they are in clear, plain language – especially those that refer to children’s data, so that a child can understand them.

Perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle in these early stages is to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO), who must be in place by the time the regulation comes into force. Your DPO will be someone in your school, someone you share with other schools, or an external data protection adviser, who takes responsibility for monitoring data protection compliance and has the knowledge, support and authority to do so effectively.

Priorities for March

Having completed these steps, take the rest of March to ensure your data processing procedures are in line with the new requirements. Look at how you honour individuals’ rights and respond to subject access requests, and check you have a robust system for managing consent, where you need to get it.

Think about how you might respond in the case of a data breach, and put procedures in place to demonstrate how you would detect, report and investigate personal data breaches.  

It may seem like a daunting process, especially with limited time! However, splitting the requirements out into manageable chunks and tackling one task at a time will ensure you’re able to get everything done in time, and have one less thing to worry about.  For more information and support, The Key has tonnes of useful resources and templates available to help you along the way.

Engage with Quality Education

Our mantra ‘Engage with Quality Education’ and we live by this in everything that we do especially when it comes to our relationship with Schools. We have over 1,000 schools we work with and from the Heads to the Deputies to the teachers and administrators if we could not deliver quality experiences then they simply would not use us.

We know that running a school and focusing on the quality of the education you provide is key, we try to make life as easy as possible and creating long-lasting trust between us and the schools.

Some examples of where we focus:

1. Process

Communication is a two street and we have detailed processes so that those looking after the schools are always aware at each step of the recruitment process.

“The process was very well managed by my consultant who kept me informed of how the day was going throughout and ensured my schedule ran smoothly. We were delighted to be able to recruit from this process”
Simon Greiff
Deputy Headteacher
Manor High School

2. Quality matters

Whilst defining the what of Education is an age-old debate what is less debatable is that quality teaching works best. We have a proven vetting process that adapts to the need from day to day to supply to permanent positions.

“Feltham Hill Junior School has utilised Engage Education’s teachers for just over two years now. I can say that I have been very pleased with all of the supply teachers Engage have sent me. I relay any feedback to my Consultant via email or phone and they are responsive to my requests. We have a very positive professional working relationship with Engage and their staff. I can highly recommend the agency to other schools.”
Rachael Saim
Deputy Headteacher/SENCO
Feltham Hill Junior School

3. Being the expert

We have a strong programme to help support and develop our teachers with CPD being a key program alongside SEN development. For the schools, we like to eat our own lunch have also had internal development for our consultants so that they serve the schools based on their needs. This is not simply about recruitment, it is about policy change, behavioural needs and supporting the education system.

“The level of support and expertise given to us by Engage has been exceptional. They have supported us through the process offering guidance and advice. My Consultant has taken the time to really get to know our school and our requirements and is now able to match prospective teaching staff to us with skill. I would highly recommend ‘iday’ and Engage Education for an innovative approach to teacher recruitment.”
Helen Everitt
Deputy Headteacher
Oriel High School

4. Safeguarding 

Vetting, quality of performance and continuous improvement are all key factors that we focus on helping people with. This also includes who we let into our system and safeguarding is a big factor within what we check as part of our process.
“All their teachers are fully vetted and sending through these details has always been prompt, so that we can be secure in our safeguarding procedures.I have no hesitation in recommending this agency.”
Pauline Jamison
Associate Head Teacher
Stag Lane Junior School

At the end of the day, we are very aware that our role is one of support and that if we do not do it well then we will not function as a business. Education is a challenging place to be, we enjoy helping those who make a real difference.

How Engage is improving the quality of UK education

The UK is in the top 20 countries in the world for their education system and it’s an ever competitive marketplace to maintain. Education is the heart of all Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Industry as it anchors the culture and future of any country. Like you, we care deeply about making a difference and we spend as much time as we can not just understanding the roots of global education but helping companies make a difference in the UK system.

Here are the companies we work with and why:

Whole Education

What they do:
Whole Education is a dynamic partnership of schools and organisations committed to redefining today’s educational offering. We believe that all children deserve an engaging and rounded education that supports academic achievement, but also develops the skills, knowledge and qualities needed to flourish in life, learning and work.

How we help them:
Our professional development programs have two feeds going into it that creates our programs:
Feed 1. You and yours. We listen to what our teachers need right from the start where we work on a personalized career plan ().
Feed 2. The changing needs of our schools and using a collective voice like Whole Education so we understand what schools are saying they need more of. This is not just about the lessons, it’s about the skills of and professional development offered to teachers.

Education Support Network

What they do:
We are the only charity dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of the entire education workforce. Initially established 140 years ago as a benevolent fund for teachers, but today supporting those in early year, higher education and further education as well as schools, we understand the unique pressures of working in education.

How we help them:
Wellbeing and our mental health are starting to be understood better and better, science helps us understand how we think and what causes anxiety and other challenges. We champion this charity and help place them into as many schools as we can. Like them, we believe that well being is not when people feel low, it’s about understanding the holistic of the world we live in. Every job comes with different stresses and we help those in education to understand theirs.

Creative Education

What they do:
Creative Education provides the training, senior leaders and consultancy services that are raising standards in thousands of schools and colleges across the country.

How we help them:
We invest heavily in CPD and professional development for our schools and for our teachers. We have two dedicated people (Jay and Mike) in Engage who both deliver and identify the key needs of our teachers. We turn to Creative Education because they are the best at what they do. Our relationships have expanded over the years as they have proven to be a wealth of knowledge and care about helping those that they serve.

Suffolk and Norfolk S.C.I.T.T.

What we do:
And if you decide to become a teacher, you will want to know that you have got off to the best possible start to your career.  That is exactly what Suffolk and Norfolk School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) aims to help you do. You will want to know that your training provider has a proven track record.  Suffolk and Norfolk SCITT programmes have all been judged to be at least Good or Outstanding by Ofsted.

How we help them:
Sometimes life changes, you may start out wanting a degree in say, Engineering and once you get it you realise it’s not exactly what you want to spend your time doing. This is more common than one thinks, what any good S.C.I.T.T. does is exactly that: they help people transition to becoming a fully qualified teacher. Suffolk and Norfolk S.C.I.T.T. has a strong track record of success and we help get them there by sharing our relationships with the 1,000+ schools we work.

At the end of the day every company has a choice, just like an individual does, do we care about the market we serve or are we just in it for the money. We want to make a difference in what we do, so we do.

Engage Education Referral Scheme

Have you got friends in the education sector? Are they looking for new opportunities? Why not refer them to Engage Education and earn yourself £150!

Recommend a friend to Engage – And you’ll receive £150 after they work 10 days for us, just for sending them our way!
You can refer any kind of educator to us; we work with Primary Teachers, Secondary Teachers, Special Education staff and cover staff! As long as your friend works for us, you’ll get your referral bonus.
To refer a friend to Engage Education, simply email the following to
– Your name
– Your friend’s name
– Your friend’s contact number
– Your friend’s email address
– Whether your friend is a teacher, specialist staff or support staff
– Where they’re based
T’s & C’s
1. The person who has referred a new teacher to Engage Education Ltd will receive £150 once that new teacher has worked for Engage Education Ltd for 10 full days of paid employment.
2. A ‘referral’ is classed as a candidate who is not currently known to Engage Education, i.e. has previously worked or registered with us.
3. All payments are subject to tax and NI deductions according to UK law. Where relevant, you are responsible for declaring all your taxable income to HMRC. 
Press release: London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’
Engage Partners has been identified as one of London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’.

The report is a celebration of the UK’s fastest-growing and most dynamic small and medium-sized businesses across the UK.

To be included in this list, companies needed to show consistent growth over a minimum of three years, significantly outperforming their industry peers. More detail on the methodology and results can be found in the report online at

About Engage Partners

Engage Partners is all about developing award-winning recruitment solutions. Engage Partners comprises of two companies: Engage Education and Engage Construction.

Engage Education are one of the market leaders in education recruitment, specialising in day-to-day and long-term placements for primary and secondary schools across the UK. We source our teaching talent from the best universities in the UK, Australia, Canada and Ireland.

We aim to help our teachers, their schools and students to get the very best out of the relationships we build. That’s why Engage Education is committed to supporting the continuing professional development of the staff we employ, ensuring they receive the best possible training and industry knowledge from our in-house HR and Training team.

Engage Construction provides bespoke recruitment solutions, specialising in placing white-collar roles in key areas of the construction industry, from architecture to residential development and procurement. With over 30 years combined experience in the construction industry, the Engage Construction team continues to expand and grow with ever increasing success, developing relationships with some of the biggest names in UK construction.

Engage Partners CEO quote:

“Engage Partners are delighted to have been included in the ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’, compiled by the London Stock Exchange. This award benchmarks our performance against others in our sector and our inclusion in the list is a reflection of our achievement over time. This is a credit to all those who have been involved with Engage since its inception in 2009 and we take this opportunity to thank them all for their efforts. We look forward to many more years of supporting our clients and candidates on their ongoing journey as we continue to innovate and inspire.”

Xavier Rolet, Chief Executive, London Stock Exchange Group said:

“Four years on, LSEG’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report continues to highlight the dynamic, entrepreneurial and ambitious businesses across the country that are boosting UK productivity, driving economic growth and creating jobs. The strength and diversity of these companies are readily apparent with a broad mix of UK regions and sectors represented. These companies are the very heart of an ‘anti-fragile’ economy: more robust; more flexible and less prone to boom and bust. We must ensure we continue doing all we can to support high growth potential businesses like these.

“London Stock Exchange Group is fully committed to supporting and implementing initiatives which improve access to and cut the cost of finance for growing companies. We welcome the Government’s focus on supporting SMEs as part of its Industrial Strategy and await the outcome of its review into long-term patient capital.”

The Rt Hon Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

“I want to congratulate the 1000 companies from across the UK features in London Stock Exchange Group’s pioneering 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain report. Championing high growth innovative SMEs is crucial to the continued success of the UK economy and a country that works for everyone. We are committed to ensuring that companies of all sizes can access finance to grow, scale-up and create high-quality well-paid jobs across the country.”

A fully searchable database of all the companies along with a downloadable pdf of the publication can be found online at

Education Investor Awards 2016: ‘Best Recruitment Service’ Winner – Engage Education
Engage Education win the Education Investor Awards 2016: ‘Best Recruitment Service’

Having previously won the award in 2012, 2014 and 2015, Engage Education is once again crowned winners of the ‘Best Recruitment Service’ category.

Upon receiving the award, Managing Director of Engage Partners, James Ockelford, made the following statement:

“To win the Education Investor Award for ‘Best Recruitment Service’ three years in a row is a fantastic achievement for us. It highlights the efforts that all here at Engage have made, year on year, in striving to continually improve our service.”

The panel of judges chose Engage Education as the winner from a competitive field of entrants; making the following statements about their overall champion:

“Phenomenal growth internationally and in the UK, combined with a fantastic company ethos and approach”

“An outstanding firm that marries local knowledge with innovative online solutions, Engage Partners has grown into a multi-million-pound business with healthy profits in little over five years.”

Throughout 2016, Engage Education have aided a number of schools across the UK to hire sponsorship teachers, allowing them access to an exclusive pool of teachers outside of the EU. This coupled with Engage’s innovative iday event, has helped UK schools address shortages in key subject requirements.

Engage Education was established by recruitment experts Matt Ellis and Rob Harvey in 2008 and is led by Managing Directors James Ockelford, Ben Matthews, Emma Roberts and Edward Parkes. The company has established itself as one of the UK’s fastest-growing recruitment agencies.

Launched seven years ago, the Education Investor Awards recognises excellence in the UK’s education industry. 650 guests from 300 companies attended this year’s event, which was presented by BBC Newsnight’s Kirsty Wark. Awards were presented in 28 categories and judged by a panel of 21 industry experts.

Engage Education launches new partnership with CPD providers Creative Education
Engage Education and Creative Education, today, announced their formal partnership agreement, bringing together two national specialists in their respective fields of teacher recruitment and continuous professional development (CPD) training.

James Ockelford, Managing Director for Engage Partners, welcomed the formal partnership stating ‘This partnership demonstrates the vision both organisations share with regard to improving quality teaching and learning in schools throughout the UK’.

The direct connection between Engage Education’s specialist recruitment services and Creative Education’s training and development will streamline and enhance the offering both companies provide to qualified UK and overseas trained teachers (OTT’s).

Engage Education are widely known as the recruitment agency of choice for many overseas teachers seeking employment in the UK. With domestic offices in London, the East Midlands, East Anglia and Leeds as well as international bases in Ireland, Canada and Australia, Engage Education supports both home-grown and international teachers with their job search.

Creative Education has over 25 years’ experience delivering the training and consultancy services that raise teaching standards in schools and colleges across the UK and internationally. By carefully selecting experienced teaching professionals, including ex-senior and middle leaders, Ofsted inspectors and education consultants, Creative Education is able to provide unparalleled professional development training that inspires, energises and provides real impact.

Upon announcement of the agreement, Managing Director of Engage Education, James Ockelford, made the following statement:

‘The synergy between Engage Education and Creative Education goes beyond the inference in both company’s names. As market leaders and established specialists in their respective fields, it seems [to me] that a partnership provides each entity with the opportunity to significantly enhance and extend service levels and offerings to teachers and schools while providing a fresh perspective to the wider education context – watch this space!’

Tom Hesmondhalgh, Commercial Director of Creative Education said:

‘Creative Education is delighted to be partnering with Engage Education, to develop both of our offerings for schools. We strongly believe that by combining our strengths we will be able to continue to provide services that meet schools’ needs in a rapidly changing environment.’

The partnership between the two companies ensures that teachers take part in a significant linear programme of Induction ( pre-placement) over a 9 week period, culminating in a series of induction events across the country (4 times a year). In addition, it also includes a vibrant CPD calendar of events throughout the year for Engage’s teachers in collaboration with Creative Education. In addition, ALL Engage teachers will have access to an online forum where teachers can ask questions, participate in discussions and share best practice in their own online community, moderated by experts at Creative Education the entire year!  For schools, it means access to Creative’s extensive repertoire of bespoke and online CPD courses: This will include Creative Education’s latest SEN Portal which will be offered to ALL Engage Education schools free of charge.