London East Governor and School Support Services

Governance Handbook and competency framework

Posted: January 13th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

A new ‘Competency framework for governance’ has been published by DfE with the updated ‘Governance handbook’ – now structured around the 6 main features of effective governance.

The ‘Governance handbook’ explains:

  • school governors’ roles and functions
  • their legal duties
  • where they can find support

 

The ‘Competency framework for governance’ sets out the knowledge and skills that school and academy governing boards need to be effective.

 

In schools maintained by local authorities, these guides apply to governors, headteachers, clerks and others involved in their governance

Link to documents

 

What has changed in this edition of the Governance Handbook ? (as summarised in the document)

  • the Governance handbook now contains a summary description of the six key features of effective governance (Section 1) This provides the (new) structure for the six sections that follow and also for the department’s new Competency framework for governance.
  • The most significant changes to the content within other sections include:
  • Section 2: Strategic Leadership
  • A new section bringing together material about the board’s role as the key decision-maker (2.3)
  • Section 3: Accountability
  • A stronger emphasis on ensuring financial propriety (3.4.)
  • Section 4: People
  • Updated text to reflect the new requirement that all those involved in governance in maintained schools, as well as in academy trusts, must have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (4.1.2)
  • New advice on conducting informed elections (4.1.4.)
  • New sections bringing together material on the important role of the chair and the clerk (4.3, 4.4.)
  • A new explanation of the risks associated with close family relationships between those involved in governance or between them and senior employees.(4.8)
  • Details of the duty on boards to provide information about individuals involved in governance via Edubase at (4.8)
  • Section 5: Structures
  • Clarification that all boards are required to publish a scheme of delegation to explain their governance arrangements, together with new guidance on what makes an effective scheme of delegation (5.6)
  • Section 6: Compliance
  • New advice on handling allegations of abuse made against other children ( 6.7.1)
  • Confirmation that an individual on the board should take leadership responsibility for the organisation’s safeguarding arrangements, which include its Prevent duty (6.7)
  • Section 7: Evaluation 
  • Updated content on schools causing concern and on coasting schools (7.4)

Some points to note from the Competency Framework for Governance

  • The document has been introduced by Sir David Carter (National Schools Commissioner for England) but the sources of the advice or any evidence for its effectiveness has not been included
  • It sets out to define more clearly the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed for governance to play its full part in the government’s vision for education.
  • The framework is non-statutory guidance and sets out the competencies needed for effective governance and should be read alongside the Governance Handbook
  • The framework begins with the principles and personal attributes which, alongside the commitment of time and energy to the role, underpin effective governance.
  • Following on from this, the knowledge, skills and effective behaviours required for effective governance are organised into those which are essential for everyone on the board; those which are required of the chair and those which at least someone on the board should have. (there are over 130 items required of all governors with a further sixty needed by the chair)
  • It is for governing bodies, training providers and “others with an interest in the governance of schools”
  • The framework is made up of 16 competencies grouped under the headings of six features of effective governance (and the three core functions)
  • The principles and personal attributes that individuals bring to the board are regarded as important as their skills and knowledge
  • Duties should be carried out in line with the seven principles of public life (the Nolan principles) and take into account responsibilities under equality legislation, recognising and encouraging diversity and inclusion.
  • In addition, all those involved in governance should be Committed, Confident, Curious Challenging, Collaborative, Critical and Creative

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/governance-handbook

 

Note these are separate from the Ofsted Guidance on Improving Governance published in December


School attendance

Posted: January 10th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

There has been considerable publicity to court cases on school attendance. The Statutory guidance for schools, local authorities and the police on dealing with poor attendance and behaviour in school has been reviewed by DfE and confirmed as up to date (5 January 2017). However they also note that the guidance will be kept under review and updated as necessary.Link to document


New guidance for governors- keeping children safe on line

Posted: January 3rd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety Education Group has developed guidance for school governors to help governing boards support their school leaders to keep children safe online. Governors can use it to: gain a basic understanding of the school’s current approach to keeping children safe online; learn how to improve this approach where appropriate; and find out about tools which can be used to improve the approach. The document includes examples of good and outstanding practice, as well as identifying when governors should be concerned.

The guidance and more information about UKCCIS is here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/uk-council-for-child-internet-safety-ukccis

 

This guidance is non-statutory and should be read alongside the Department for Education’s Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance:

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/562876/Guidance_for_School_Governors_-_Question_list.pdf


Improving Governance – Ofsted Report

Posted: December 18th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector (HMCI) commissioned this survey to investigate the challenges facing governing bodies in schools. The report draws on evidence from visits to 24 improving primary, secondary and special schools that are situated in some of the poorest areas of the country to look at their governance arrangements.

 

It also uses evidence from routine inspections and monitoring visits over the last year and from 2,632 responses to a call for evidence initiated by HMCI in November 2015. The report identifies the barriers faced by governors in these schools and the actions taken to strengthen their professional skills and fulfil their roles as effective, strategic school leaders.

 

Summary of key findings

  • Many governors lack the expertise needed in an increasingly complex education system to hold school leaders to account.
  • Governors need better access to highly skilled people who have the educational expertise to help them meet the increased demands of their role.
  • Recruitment and retention of governors is a serious challenge
  • Clarity about lines of accountability, roles and responsibilities is an essential part of effective governance.
  • Weak governance, including in some of the poorest areas of the country, is at risk of going undetected until the school is inspected by Ofsted
  • Paying the chairs of governing bodies can act as a means to achieving a professional and open relationship between governors and school leaders
  • Governors from within the community make an essential contribution

Recommendations (for schools)

Governing boards should:

  • ensure clarity of roles, responsibilities and lines of accountability for governance, particularly where multi-level governance makes accountability complex
  • publish information about governance on the school website in line with statutory requirements (or the academy funding agreement)to ensure transparency and clarity of roles and responsibilities
  • ensure that they have a robust review method in place to assure themselves that the board is effective
  • secure professional support and governor training as needed to ensure effective governance.

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-governance  

The National Governors Association said that “the Ofsted report is a missed opportunity. It largely covers old ground and is not as helpful as their last report on learning from the best. They haven’t taken into account much of the existing activity to improve governance”.

LEGSSS comment – it is likely that a busy Ofsted inspector will pay more attention to their own report rather than comments from NGA so the recommendations warrant governors’ attention


Funding Formula Consultation

Posted: December 15th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

DfE are introducing a national funding formula “to make funding fair for schools and children.” A consultation open to 22 March2017 seeks views on the detailed design of the formula, building on the earlier consultation on the principles and structure.

 

The executive summary outlines the proposals and the effect on schools, and the consultation document explains these in detail. You can look up the effect on each school in the impact tables

 

https://consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/schools-national-funding-formula2/


Financial Sustainability of Schools

Posted: December 15th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

The National Audit Office report examines the value for money of the Department for Education’s approach to managing risks to schools’ financial sustainability in light of increasing cost pressures

They conclude that the Department of Education’s approach to managing the risks to schools’ financial sustainability cannot be judged to be effective or providing value for money until more progress is made

 

The Department estimates that mainstream schools will have to find savings of £3.0 billion (8.0%) by 2019-20 to counteract cumulative cost pressures, such as pay rises and higher employer contributions to national insurance and the teachers’ pension scheme. It expects that schools will need to make efficiency savings through better procurement (estimated savings of £1.3 billion) and by using their staff more efficiently (the balance of £1.7 billion). However, the Department has not clearly communicated to schools the scale and pace of the savings required. While it can show, on the basis of benchmarking analysis, that schools should be able to achieve such savings without affecting educational outcomes, it does not know whether schools will achieve them in practice.

 

https://www.nao.org.uk/report/financial-sustainability-in-schools/


School Cuts

Posted: November 17th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

NUT and ATL say the Government’s proposed ‘Fair Funding’ reforms will not make matters any better. Without additional funding, a new funding formula will simply spread an already inadequate amount of money around more thinly.

 For every school which gains from this, others will lose – and almost every school will lose when the impact of inflation and other cost increases, against which the Government’s funding freeze offers no protection, are also taken into account.

 Unless the Government allocates additional money, schools and academies will lose huge amounts of money – rising to £2.5 billion a year in real terms by 2020. We estimate that 92% of schools could lose out, even after the introduction of a new funding formula. These cuts will hurt us all.

 

The NUT and the ATL are calling on the Government to take immediate action to inject much needed money into an already beleaguered system and protect schools from rising costs. It is the only sensible solution to a crisis with which schools are already dealing and which is set to get worse.

 

take a look at the map to see how schools in your neighbourhood will be affected.

 


PE and Sports Premium

Posted: October 31st, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

PE and Sports Premium for 2016/17 of £8,000 plus £5 per pupil is being paid in two instalments from the Secretary of State to the local authority.

 

Maintained schools must publish their use of the premium on their website by 4 April 2017:

  • the amount of premium received;
  • a full breakdown of how it has been spent (or will be spent);
  • what impact the school has seen on pupils’ PE and sport participation and attainment and how the improvements will be sustainable in the future.

Schools should also consider how their use of the premium is giving pupils the opportunity to develop a healthy, active lifestyle.

 

Further details on DfE website link


Constitution of governing bodies of maintained schools

Posted: October 10th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Updated statutory guidance setting out the arrangements for the constitution of governing bodies of all local-authority-maintained schools was issued by Department for Education on 7 October 2016,

Link to document

Changes highlighted by DfE include

    • That governing bodies should enable training and development needed and liaise with local authorities.(Main Point F) A footnote highlights that Section 22(b) of the Education Act 2002 provides that the local authority in England shall secure that there is made available to every governors, free of charge, such training as they consider necessary for the effective discharge of those functions (Note the Section is in a part of the Act that refers to maintained school and it is not clear if the free of charge is to the individual or the governing body)
    • In considering training and development needs there should be a focus on “enabling all governors to understand their role and analyse and interpret the data on educational performance of the school” (paragraph 24)
    • also governing bodies should where necessary set aside a budget for governors to access training and development (Paragraph 25)
    • Although not chosen for their skills elected governors (ie parents and staff)should not be expected to be any less effective (Paragraph 29)
    • Confirmation of the news item that school governing bodies must provide and keep up to date certain details they hold, as volunteered by their governors, through EduBase
    • Requirement for governing bodies to apply for an enhance criminal records certificate for any governor not already holding one (Annex C.2)

Other changes from previous versions of the advice (most recently updated in August 2015) include

    • Reference to overlap of content with other advice set out in the Governance Handbook
    • In considering skills they need governing bodies should have regard to the DfE “Competency Framework for Governance” which is expected to be published in autumn 2016
    • Emphasis that it is Regulations that specify appointment should be based on skills and that skills may be taken to include “the knowledge and perspectives that will contribute to good decision making”
    • Reminder that the governing body must operate collectively in the best interests of pupils not on behalf of constituencies
    • That engagement with stakeholders (parent, staff and wider community) is vital but not the same as governance or achieved by having various categories on the governing body. Governing Bodies should assure themselves that appropriate structures and arrangements are in place for community engagement
    • The whole governing body is responsible for understanding what parents think and helping build relationships with employers
    • Advice that all available channels be used to help identify suitable governors, including Inspiring Governance funded by DfE
    • Local Authorities or governing bodies (depending on the category of the school) are now advised they must make all necessary arrangements­ to fill parent vacancies through elections. Annex A.1 (Previously they were advised to make “every reasonable effort” .The Regulations themselves require making necessary arrangements for the election and taking reasonably practicable steps to inform parents and provide the opportunity to participate)
    • “Certain exceptions for overseas offences that do not correlate with a UK offence” do not disqualify from holding office as a governor
    • A new standard clause on Model Instrument to include the date a “consolidated instrument” has been varied and that it must be supplied free to every member and associate member of the governing body (Annex C)

What appear to be minor drafting changes have not been noted

 

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/constitution-of-governing-bodies-of-maintained-schools#history

 


Keeping children safe in education – 5 September

Posted: September 12th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Updated 5 September include changes to information for all staff (part 1) and the management of safeguarding (part 2). Annex H provides a table of all changes.

Statutory guidance sets out what schools must do to comply with the law. You should follow the guidance unless you have a very good reason not to.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education–2?mc_cid=485ddf377f&mc_eid=66755fbfef