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Important changes to Education Software Solutions (ESS) contracts

Many of you may be aware that Education Software Solutions (ESS) SIMS has changed its practice of having one-year rolling contracts to a model of a three-year contract extensions from April. ESS is responsible for running approximately 70% of school systems in this area, so many schools may be impacted by this.

This change to a three-year extension may force schools to have to make a quick decision about whether or not they wish to switch providers, with little time for due diligence to avoid being locked into a three-year contract. Given the deadline, members who aren't already aware of this and considering their approach to this change, and whether or not they wish to be tied into a three-year contact, should begin to consider this issue as a matter of urgency.

We also understand that some schools have signed up with a law firm (Stone King) to take collective action in relation to these contract renewal notices, and individual schools concerned about this may want to consult their legal providers. Stone King have commented publicly that they believe this change is legally questionable. We also understand that another law firm (Browne Jacobson) is considering this issue.

The Department for Education has commented on this in an email to school leaders, stating:

"Our advice is that schools should proceed in connection with the proposed contracts as they ordinarily would when procuring any contract, following the obligations they have as a contracting authority." 

The email also contains a reminder that schools should ensure that they manage public money in a compliant way and that they deliver best value from their budgets.

First published 22 December 2021

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NAHT Life gives you the opportunity to continue your membership of the biggest union for school leaders both in post and in retirement.


NAHT Life focuses on helping retired members receive excellent trade union services and allows you to continue to play an active volunteer role within NAHT regions and branches, if that’s what you choose to do!

Please note to qualify for the benefits of NAHT Life membership you must join NAHT life within six months of retiring. 

Please ensure NAHT has your correct post-retirement contact details.

NAHT is currently reviewing, renewing and refreshing its services to support NAHT life member.

The Life Members' Sector Council (LMSC)

Whether leaving a labour of love or embracing a life of leisure, there can be no doubt that retirement from school leadership marks a huge change in lifestyle. There will be adjustments to make, new challenges to take and a range of new opportunities. At a time like this, it is important that our experienced members do not lose all the support they received in their working life. Our life members’ committee is here to ensure members are supported in retirement.

This committee feeds its extensive wealth of experience and know-how to support the work of NAHT. It also gives our life members the chance to make important contributions to our campaigns for working members.  

The committee, which meets four times a year, is made up of one elected representative from each of our regions, with the addition of one place each for Northern Ireland and Wales. And these elected committee members, normally, serve a three-year term.

Areas of focus for the committee include the following: 

  • Current legislation issues eg pension provision
  • Action against discrimination, including age discrimination.
LMSC chair

John Killeen (National Executive member): john.killeen@nahtofficials.org.uk

LMSC vice-chair

Nigel Patton: nigel.patton@nahtofficials.org.uk

LMSC communications officer

Michael Wilson: Michael.wilson@nahtofficials.org.uk

LMSC deputy communications officer

Eugene Symonds: eugene.symonds@nahtofficials.org.uk

Committee servicing officer

Frances Geddes has the responsibility for working closely with the LMSC as servicing officer. She can be contacted via email frances.geddes@naht.org.uk.

For further details and contact information about all current LMSC members please check out ‘Who’s who’ and the ‘List of LMSC members'.

See also

Join now - Life Membership 
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Life members' sector council
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