Publish date

7 June 2024

What are the benefits of the Department for Education’s Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA)?

The DfE’s Risk Protection Arrangement (or RPA) provides comprehensive risk protection for public sector schools. It is an indemnity which is an alternative to commercial insurance for the state education sector. Under RPA, the UK government covers the losses instead.

It covers risks normally included in a standard commercial insurance policy and is priced per pupil regardless of any claims history.

RPA membership brings many benefits that can help protect governors/trustees and staff, including:

  • Financial protection: the RPA will cover the cost of any losses that a school suffers, within the scope and up to certain limits
  • Peace of mind: knowing that a school is financially protected within the scope and up to the limits of membership, so the school can focus on teaching and learning
  • Access to support: the RPA offers a range of support services to its members, including risk management advice and training
  • Own lawyer support: schools can use their own lawyers to defend and pursue claims and are not required to use a DfE appointed lawyer.

Included within the indemnity is Governors’ liability including for negligence claims including for breach of Equality Act 2010 duties in respect of disabled children, who may bring claims via their parents or guardians in the Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) First Tier Tribunal (FTT).

Up to £10m worth of indemnity cover including for legal expenses for reasonable costs incurred in defending claims is available.  This is important, because FTT’s do not have power to award compensation, but do have power to make declarations of unlawful discriminatory treatment towards a disabled pupil, against their school. If, for example, the school had knowledge of the student’s disability and failed to carry out reasonable adjustments to prevent the discriminatory treatment occurring. Such as giving the child extra support in lessons or in extra-curricular activities to put them on a level playing field with their non-disabled contemporaries. Such a declaration will necessarily lead to the school facing court proceedings where compensation can be recovered. So it is important that any state  school has access to a specialist equality and education sector legal practice that we provide to help schools through the challenges posed by these sorts of claims; and have the legal costs of doing so paid for by the RPA scheme subject to the indemnity limits and other terms of the policy.

For further information or support in dealing with an equality claim brought by or in the name of a pupil, please do not hesitate to contact me.



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