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News Report Page 8 of 12
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CLA responds to new Natural History GCSE

THIS week the Secretary of State for Education, Nadim Zahawi MP, will be announcing a new GCSE in Natural History which is expected to enter the National Curriculum in 2025. The Natural History GCSE is a part of the Department for Education’s sustainability and climate change strategy, which will be launched on 21 April 2022. A spokesperson for the Department for Education stated that this new course will help:- "Young people develop excellent knowledge of STEM, and practical opportunities to improve biodiversity and climate resilience."

In light of this, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) have written to the Secretary of State in advance of this announcement to highlight the importance of land management in the UK when considering the development of the syllabus for the new learning course. CLA President, Mark Tufnell, said:- "The CLA welcomes the idea of teaching young people about environmental and sustainability issues in a more structured way. We hope that, in designing the course, the Department for Education will consider giving students an understanding of the UK’s world class food production standards. British landowners and farmers are among the most progressive stewards of the natural environment found anywhere in the world." 

Mark continues by urging policymakers to involve the sector in consultations by saying:- "We hope therefore that land managers with appropriate expertise will be involved in the formulation of the curriculum. The CLA, which represents around 28,000 land managers in England and Wales, would welcome the opportunity to work with the Government in the development of this exciting new initiative."

Last year the CLA teamed up with LEAF Education to help improve understanding of the Countryside Code by creating a resource pack for teachers and youth group leaders. The code, which was 1st introduced in 1951, was refreshed by the Government last year, but is not taught as part of the curriculum. The CLA has written to Duke of Edinburgh Award, Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, including Chief Scout Bear Grylls, Sea Cadets, British Orienteering and Local Education Authorities asking them to teach children the free lesson plan on the code. Aimed at Key Stage 2 children the lesson plans, developed together with Leaf Education, centre around the code’s messages of respecting everyone, protecting the environment and enjoying the outdoors through many fun filled activities including:- a soil investigator’s exercise, sky lantern role play activity and waymarker memory game. It is hoped these packs will help children and young adults understand that safe and responsible behaviour in the countryside is fundamental to enjoyment of it. The pack is free to download from the CLA’s website and is also available on the Countryside Classroom's website which is regularly used by teachers seeking materials related to rural affairs.

New study reveals nearly 1 in 5 employers are likely to make redundancies over the next year

A new survey from Acas has found that nearly 1 in 5 of employers (18%) are likely to make staff redundancies over the next year.  Acas commissioned YouGov to ask British businesses about their redundancy plans in the next 12 months.  The poll found that large businesses were more likely to make redundancies than small and medium sized (SME) businesses. 3 out of 10 large businesses (30%) are likely to make redundancies and 10% of SMEs said that were likely to do so. Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said:- "The impact of global events has seen some businesses facing difficult circumstances and our poll reveals that nearly 1 in 5 are considering redundancies in the year ahead. Redundancies at large organisations have been in the news recently and it appears that 3 in 10 organisations that employ more than 250 employees are likely to make redundancies in the next 12 months. Acas advice for bosses is to exhaust all possible alternatives to redundancies first but if employers feel like they have no choice then they must follow the law in this area or they could be subject to a costly legal process."
If an employer finds there are no other choices than to make redundancies then there are strict rules on consulting staff that they must follow. An employer must discuss any planned changes and consult with each employee who could be affected. This includes staff who may not be losing their jobs but will be impacted. The minimum consultation period varies depending on the number of employees that an employer wishes to make redundant. By law, employers who wish to make 20 or more staff redundant over any 3 month (90 day) period must also consult a recognised trade union or elected employee representatives about the proposed changes.
For 20 to 99 redundancies, consultation must start at least 30 days before the first dismissal can take effect, and for 100 or more redundancies, it has to start at least 45 days before. For less than 20 redundancies, there is no set time period but the length of consultation must be reasonable. If an employer does not meet consultation requirements, employees can take their employer to an employment tribunal. If successful, the employer may have to pay up to 90 days’ full pay for each affected employee. Someone can also make a claim of unfair dismissal to an employment tribunal on the grounds that they were not consulted, or the consultation was not meaningful. Employers should consider all possible options before considering redundancies as other solutions to their situation could be found through consultation with their staff, employee representatives and unions. Acas advisers have seen many examples of this joint working that’s produced creative alternatives to job losses. Such as part-time working, cuts to overtime, finding alternative roles and retraining. Acas’s full advice for staff and employers about redundancies is available at- Acas.Org.UK.


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