DfE advice for local-authority-maintained schools (updated March 2015) outlines basic rules of procurement, which aim to ensure that public funds are spent openly and fairly
Department for Education (DfE) published new statutory guidance on 26 February, which is intended to provide clarity of the responsibilities of all schools in obtaining information from their staff members about their own possible disqualifications and those who live and work in their household.
Ofsted will check the record of those staff who are employed to work in or manage relevant childcare and the date on which disqualification checks were completed.
Schools causing concern: statutory guidance (updated 20 January 2015)
This guidance is for:
•dioceses, school foundations and governing bodies
It relates to all local authority maintained schools causing concern.
Statutory guidance is issued by law – must be followed unless there’s a good reason not to.
National standards of excellence for headteachers were published on 19 January 2015
These standards are to help improve the practice and development of:
They replace the national standards for headteachers 2004
The teachers’ standards (2011, as amended) are also available.
An updated DfE Governors’ Handbook was posted on the web on 16 January 2015
Summary of changes – January 2015 edition (p 123)
Includes highlighting the following:
Section 1 – The role of governing bodies
- New link to NGA resource, The Chair’s Handbook.
- Updated link to departmental advice, Promoting fundamental British values through SMSC.
- Updated lines on governor conflict of interest/loyalty and the governing body holding a register of interests (consultation on making publication mandatory)
- New link for NGA and Wellcome Trust resource A Framework for Governance: a flexible guide to strategic planning.
- New content outlining changes to governance legislation since 2012 and the expectations on governing bodies to provide high quality induction training and continuous development
Section 2 – Constitution and procedures
- Update on the appointment of local authority governors
- New content: A Possible Roadmap for Governing Body Reconstitution.
- New line on requirement to have regard for the work/life balance of the headteacher and teachers
- New section ‘Cultural Education’; covers requirement for maintained schools to promote the cultural development of their pupils, and links to policy paper Cultural Education.
Section 5 – Teachers and support staff
Updated content on
- appointing staff.
- employment checks.
- employer access online.
- teacher and headteacher appraisal.
- pay and conditions of service.
- discipline, grievance and capability procedures.
- referring cases to the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
- trade unions ,disputes with staff and employment tribunals
- teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS)
- ill health retirement
Section 7 – School finance
An updated explanation of the expectations on maintained school governing bodies s and how they should manage any conflicts of interest.
Ofsted’s National Director, Schools has written (December 2014) to remind inspectors to place greater emphasis, in line with the handbook changes from September, on the effectiveness of the work of the school’s governors, (among other things) including the impact of the use of the pupil premium (as referred to in the 2015 Inspection handbook in paragraphs 71 to 73, 146, 147, 148, 158 and 165).
Meeting with governors
71. Inspectors will always seek to meet with governors, or members of the school’s local board, the trustees of a multi-academy trust (where there is no local governing body) committee or other authority where schools are combined in managed groups, federations or chains, during the course of the inspection
72. Inspectors will expect governors to know about the strengths and weaknesses of the school. Inspectors will expect school governors to be familiar with, and understand, performance data, including the information that the school data dashboard presents for their school.
73.The contribution of governors to the school is evaluated as part of the judgement on leadership and management. As with the meetings between inspectors and pupils, parents and staff, meetings with governors should take place without the presence of the headteacher or senior staff.
146.Inspectors should consider how well leaders, managers and governors pursue excellence, modelling professional standards in all of their work ‑ for example through:
- the creation of a culture of high expectations and aspirations and scholastic excellence in which the highest achievement in academic work is recognised as vitally important
- having the highest expectations for social behaviour among the pupils and staff, so that respect and courtesy are the norm
- the rigorous implementation of well-focused improvement plans that are based on robust self-evaluation
- the consistent application of policies and procedures, in particular in relation to reading, writing, mathematics and behaviour
- the extent to which pupils, parents and staff are committed to the vision and ambition of leaders, managers and governors
- the establishment of an orderly and hardworking school community.
147. Inspectors should consider the effectiveness of monitoring and evaluation and the extent to which it is shared with governors. This includes monitoring and evaluation of:
- the quality of teaching and the achievement and progress of all groups of pupils, including disadvantaged pupils, relative to other schools nationally
- the performance of the school, including, if applicable, the school’s sixth form provision and/or early years provision
- the satisfaction levels of pupils and their parents
- how effectively the school uses the primary school PE and Sport Premium to improve the quality and breadth of PE and sport provision, including increasing participation in PE and sport so that all pupils develop healthy lifestyles and reach the performance levels they are capable of. The effectiveness of the school’s use of the premium must be recorded and coded on an evidence form, and summarised in the inspection report.
148. Inspectors should evaluate how well leaders use formative and summative assessment to ensure that pupils, teachers and parents know if pupils are achieving the expected standard or if they need to catch up. Inspectors should consider how well:
- assessment information, including test results, is used by leaders and governors to improve teaching and the curriculum
- leaders ensure the accuracy of assessment through internal and external standardisation and moderation
- schools adopt the best practice of working together to moderate assessment for year groups and the end of key stages, and come to a common understanding of attainment and share records at points of transfer (within the context of the revised common transfer file).
158.When evaluating the effectiveness of leaders, managers and governors, inspectors should gather evidence about the use of the pupil premium in relation to the following key issues:
- the level of pupil premium funding received by the school in the current academic year and levels of funding received in previous academic years
- how the school has spent the pupil premium and why it has decided to spend it in the way it has
- any differences made to the learning and progress of disadvantaged pupils as shown by performance data and inspection evidence.
165. Inspectors should consider whether governors:
- carry out their statutory duties, such as safeguarding, and understand the boundaries of their role as governors
- ensure that they and the school promote tolerance of and respect for people of all faiths (or those of no faith), races, genders, ages, disability and sexual orientations (and other groups with protected characteristics) and support and help, through their words, actions and influence within the school and more widely in the community, to prepare children and young people positively for life in modern Britain
- ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction, including long-term planning (for example, succession)
- contribute to the school’s self-evaluation and understand its strengths and weaknesses, including the quality of teaching, and reviewing the impact of their own work
- understand and take sufficient account of pupil data, particularly their understanding and use of the school data dashboard
- assure themselves of the rigour of the assessment process
- are aware of the impact of teaching on learning and progress in different subjects and year groups
- provide challenge and hold the headteacher and other senior leaders to account for improving the quality of teaching, pupils’ achievement and pupils’ behaviour and safety, including by using the data dashboard, other progress data, examination outcomes and test results; or whether they hinder school improvement by failing to tackle key concerns or developing their own skills
- use the pupil premium and other resources to overcome barriers to learning, including reading, writing and mathematics
- ensure solvency and probity and that the financial resources made available to the school are managed effectively
- are providing support for an effective headteacher
- monitor performance management systems and understand how the school makes decisions about teachers’ salary progression , including the performance management of the headteacher, to improve teaching, leadership and management
- engage with key stakeholders
- are transparent and accountable, including in terms of recruitment of staff, governance structures, attendance at meetings, and contact with parents and carers.
DfE have updated Guidance for local-authority maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units on the exclusion of pupils from 5 January 2015
The new document contains a small number of updates and clarifies:
•the power to exclude
•independent review panel processes
•governing body reconsideration
It applies to exclusions from 5 January 2015
Ofsted are asking for views
(a) on their proposals to introduce a common inspection framework for all early years settings on the Early Years Register, maintained schools, academies, non-association independent schools and further education (FE) and skills providers – this framework will mean that the same judgements will apply in each of these remits (paragraphs
(b) short inspections for maintained schools, academies and FE and skills providers that were judged good at their previous inspection. These short inspections, conducted approximately every three years, will report on whether or not a provider has maintained its overall effectiveness but will not provide a full set of graded judgements
(c) if they should introduce a separate graded judgement for the curriculum
(d) how inspection methodology should be developed
Comments requested by 5 December for introduction from September 2015
Following his letter to Chairs in September, Lord Nash (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools at DfE) has now also written to Local Authorities on his view on the role of governance in schools and the opportunities for re-constitution. Links to both letter:
Department for Education (DfE) has updated the Governors’ Handbook. The Governors’ Handbook is departmental advice for governing bodies in maintained schools, academies and free schools.
All schools should now ensure that they are using the September 2014 issue and discard previous versions. The link to the revised handbook is given below.
P 117 lists the changes to the latest edition which include:
A more detailed explanation of what it means for governors to set and safeguard an appropriate ethos for the school in keeping with fundamental British values.
New text includes
- ‘Effectively Managing Headteacher Performance’ research.
- Appointing a headteacher.
- Support and training for governing bodies – including a designated governor responsible for governor development and training.
- Support provided by the NCTL.
- notifying the Secretary of State of the intention to federate
- Religious Education
- Collective worship
- Responsibilities of the governing body with regard to SEN
- Admission of pupils with SEN
- Teachers in mainstream schools with responsibility for SEN
- departmental advice on universal infant free school meals
- Pupil wellbeing
Other changes include
- New links to EEF Toolkit and EEF DIY Evaluation Guide.
- Updated lines on Accountability of governing bodies, including link to the seven principles of public life.
- information on Ofsted’s inspection criteria for effective governance.
- Updated information on External Reviews of Governance.
- Updated lines on vacancy filling and ensuring prospective governors possess the required skills
- New lines on governors sharing expertise
- New section on the School Governance (Federations) (England) Regulations 2012