London East Governor and School Support Services

School Procurement

Posted: January 25th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

DfE have published material for training modules to help school staff understand public procurement legislation and get together to share effective practice and improve their procurement skills.

 

Procurement training modules for school staff including:

  • senior leadership teams
  • school business managers
  • governors or trustees

 

Each module contains slides, trainer notes and exercises. They follow a simple procurement cycle and are designed to last from 15 to 50 minutes to fit in with meetings.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-training-for-schools


Schools financial health and efficiency

Posted: January 13th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

There is a new section on DfE website to provide Information, tools, training and guidance to help schools improve their financial management and efficiency. Contents include

    • Introduction to schools financial efficiency
    • Business cycle and budget planning
    • Financial review and self-assessment
    • Financial management and efficient resourcing
    • Guidance for governors

 

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/schools-financial-health-and-efficiency


School Complaints

Posted: January 7th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

A new guide in dealing with school complaint has been published by DfE which also provides best-practice for creating and revising complaints procedures. Although it is not statutory guidance (and does not have to be followed) it provides a useful opportunity to review and update existing policies and replaces the ‘School complaints toolkit 2014’. Link

 

The Guide includes a reminder that it is the governing body which determines how often the complaints procedure is reviewed and that “the department suggests as good practice that it is reviewed regularly; every two to three years is quite typical. This will enable the school to take into account any new guidance issued by the Department for Education or legislative changes.”

 

Responsibility for reviewing the procedure may be delegated to a committee of the governing body, an individual governor or the headteacher.

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-complaints-procedures


Governance Handbook

Posted: December 1st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

DfE has issued a new guide for governors  a “Governance Handbook” which is available online

The handbook is described as “updated to reflect changes to the law and education policy, including the ‘prevent’ duty and what schools must publish online”

It is a substantial change from previous editions.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/481147/Governance_handbook_November_2015.pdf

 

 


Ofsted questions for governance of 21st century schools

Posted: November 20th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

On 19 November Sir Michael Wilshaw (HMCI) commissioned Ofsted inspectors to carry out an in-depth and far-reaching survey into the effectiveness of governance in our schools. Ofsted will publish a report next year. He also launched a call for evidence  to inform this piece of work from anyone who has views and experience to contribute. This call for evidence is open until 31 January 2016 and asks

  • What are the main challenges of being a governor or trustee in an increasingly diverse education system?
  • What skills and experience do governors and trustees need to perform their increasingly important role?
  • To what extent is regular and relevant training for governors important? What training should be mandatory for governors and trustees?
  • Who should hold governors and trustees to account for the decisions that they make and the actions that they take?
  • Has the time now arrived to make provision for paid governance? If so, why?
  • To what extent are external reviews of governance an effective tool for improving standards? 

 

The survey by Ofsted will

  •  examine whether governing boards have the right mix of professional skills and experience needed to perform their increasingly important role
  • assess whether the time has now arrived to make provision for paid governance
  • look at whether local authorities, Regional School Commissioners and others intervene early enough when problems with the governance of a school are spotted between Ofsted inspections
  • explore whether in an increasingly diverse system, the right structures are in place to support governors and trustees, and to deliver the training they need to hold schools to account
  • investigate the level of guidance and support governors receive for headship appointments
  • look at the extent to which governors are involved in succession planning for school leaders
  • look at whether external reviews of governance are an effective tool for improving standards
  • look at the role performed by National Leaders of Governance and whether there are enough of them to make a difference

 

Extracts from HMCI’s briefing “21st century governance needed for 21st century schools”  include

  • Governors and trustees are there to set the school’s vision, ethos and strategic direction. They are also expected to hold the headteacher to account for the performance of teachers and pupils, and to ensure that public money is being well spent.
  • Disappointment that there has been such little progress on his recommendation for compulsory training. High-quality training for all governors, but particularly the chair and vice-chair, is vital to the success of our schools and Her Majesty’s Inspectors, will focus particularly on training and the arrangements schools are making to source expertise in this vital work. In the last academic year alone, there were nearly 500 schools (out of 5000 inspected) where inspectors were so concerned about the performance of the governing board that they called for outside experts to be drafted in to carry out an urgent external review of governance
  • When leadership and management of a school are judged to be ineffective, entrenched weak governance is invariably one of the underlying reasons eg

 

  • governors who lack the professional knowledge or educational background to sufficiently challenge senior leaders
  • governors who have not received the regular, relevant, high-quality training to enable them to do their job effectively
  • governors who lack curiosity and are too willing to accept what they are being told about pupils’ progress and the quality of teaching. As a consequence, they often hold an overly optimistic view of how the school is performing
  • governors who may know what the school’s pupil premium funding is being spent on but have little idea whether it’s actually having any impact on improving outcomes for disadvantaged children
  • governors who devote too much time and attention to the marginal issues (like the school uniform, dinner menu or the peeling paintwork in the main hall) instead of focusing on the core issues that really matter – the quality of teaching, the progress and achievement of pupils and the underlying school culture
  • It would be unrealistic to expect every member of the governing board to have a deep knowledge of educational issues. However, it is essential for the 2 or 3 people who hold the most senior roles on the board, and who could be responsible for ‘cascading’ training to other members
  • In addition, these senior governors need to be able to ask the probing questions and hold the difficult conversations when necessary.
  • Ofsted identified standalone academies as the most vulnerable to decline and failure.

The briefing in full is on the Ofsted website

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/hmcis-monthly-commentary-november-2015

 

 


DfE update November

Posted: November 20th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

DBS checks mandatory for maintained school governors in 2016

New Regulations will require all governors, including all new governors, to receive an enhanced check by the Disclosure and Barring Service where they have not already been checked.

The proposed changes are:

  1. To require, from 1 April 2016, all new governors at maintained schools to be DBS checked before appointment or as soon as practical thereafter.
  2. To require that by 1 September 2016 all existing governors must have a DBS check.

 

Changes to parent representation on Federated Governing Bodies

DfE propose to amend regulations on the constitution to give governing bodies more flexibility over their membership by:

  1. removing the requirement that the governing body includes a parent governor from each of the schools in the federation; and
  2. replacing it with a requirement that the governing body of the federation includes two, and only two, parent governors.

The detail and time scale for this change is not yet clear; DfE is also preparing for a public consultation on possible further changes to the constitution regulations

 

Separately from the Ofsted investigation, DfE has asked for recommendations on what expectations should be in terms of the training  (or professional learning and development)of new governors, chairs, clerks, the content of any such training, who should deliver any such training.

 

Governors Handbook

 

A new version of the Handbook is due to be published “soon” (middle of November) This new edition has been re-named the ‘Governance Handbook’ to make clear that it applies to all those involved in governance.  As well as being updated to reflect changes to the law affecting boards and changes to education policy, the new version includes:

  • A new structure to better focus on the core functions of the board and the essentials of effective governance;
  • A reduction in size of twenty pages, with links signposting to further guidance where required; and
  • Further links to best practice and to the resources and support available to boards to be effective.

 


GovernorLine

Posted: November 9th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

After many years, and without prior notice, GovernorLine has ceased operating.

 The organisation that used to run it for DfE now advise that for specific support governors go to National Governors Association, National Co-ordinators of Governor Services or Information for School and college Governors

 There is no indication from DfE of a replacement service

 


Education and Adoption Bill Briefing

Posted: October 21st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

NAHT, along with ATL, NUT, UNISON and the NGA, along with support from PTA-UK, have produced a joint briefing on the Education and Adoption Bill. They are concerned that the Bill will silence the voices of parents, governors and local authorities in respect of both school standards and the right to a voice over the future of their local school. This briefing is for peers involved in the Bill’s second reading, and is intended to set out our joint concerns that go to the heart of this legislation.

http://www.naht.org.uk/welcome/news-and-media/key-topics/organisational-structures/education-and-adoption-bill-briefing/


De-regulation undone – behaviour and term dates

Posted: September 21st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Update from DfE 18 September

 

Dear Colleague

 

You will be aware that the Deregulation Act 2015 received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015. (Details on Blog 18 June) I would like to update you on the commencement of provisions set out within Schedule 16 (Schools: Reduction of Burdens)

 

The following provision will commence from 1 January 2016:

Home School Agreements

 

*   Repeal of the requirement for governing bodies of maintained schools, city technology colleges, city colleges for the technology of the arts and academy schools to adopt Home School Agreements and associated parental declarations. If schools choose they can have voluntary home school agreements.

 

*   The Department for Education’s Behaviour and Discipline advice for headteachers and school staff for schools will be updated as a result of this change in due course.

 

The following provisions will not be commenced:

 

Governing Body – Written statement of general principles on behaviour

 

*   The provision which removes the requirement on governing bodies of Maintained schools, pupil referral units and non-maintained special schools in England to produce a written statement of general principles which the head teacher must have regard to when setting out the school’s behaviour policy will not be commenced. These governing bodies will still have to produce a written statement of general principles on behaviour.

*   The Government is clear, ensuring good pupil behaviour in all our schools is a necessary condition to raising academic standards and ensuring teachers can teach and pupils can learn. It is important, therefore, for schools to have a behaviour policy and that governing bodies should continue to set out in writing the principles on which the head teacher should base that policy.

 

 

School Term Dates

 

*   The provision which gives the governing bodies of community, voluntary controlled, community special schools, and maintained nursery schools in England the responsibility for setting their own school term and holiday dates will not be commenced. These schools will not therefore be given the power to set their own term dates.

*   Currently academies, free schools, foundation schools and voluntary-aided schools have freedom over their term dates. Local authorities already have the power to vary term dates for other schools including for individual schools, and there has been no real clamour from maintained schools which do not have this power to have this freedom. Given this it would not be appropriate to commence with widening this to those maintained schools themselves, but we encourage local authorities to listen sympathetically to arguments for change from these schools.

 

Those schools that are performing well can still choose to become academies in order to set their own term dates.


Updated DfE guidance: GB constitution

Posted: September 21st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Over the summer DfE replaced the statutory guidance document to revise information on the constitution of governing bodies.

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

 

While this is substantially unchanged from March 2015 as far as the actual structure is concerned (and there is no need for the existing GB to change again now constituted under 2012 Regulations) there are some changes of detail concerning the recruitment of governors and publication of their details once appointed. As statutory guidance the GB must have regard to it – added comments on what needs to be done.

 

(a) Appointment / election of governors (paragraphs 13, 14, 17)

  • an interview or detailed discussion will need to take place with each prospective candidate for appointment with references (oral or written) taken as necessary and appropriate.
  • to help all prospective governors understand clearly the role of a governor before they are nominated for appointment or election prospective governors may be invited to observe a governing body meeting and to meet the chair and other governors and the headteacher
  • where a prospective governor is already a governor of another school, the chair of governors should speak to the chair of the other governing body to discuss both the skills of the individual and, where appropriate, their capacity to serve effectively on an additional governing body. Although it is up to the GB to decide, DfE consider it will only be practical and beneficial for an individual to serve on more than two governing bodies in exceptional circumstances.

 

Comment

These changes can be included in the procedure followed when vacancies are being considered

 

(b) Publication of Governor’s details and the Register of Interests (paragraph 25, 26)

 

  • In the interests of transparency, a governing body should publish on its website up-to-date details of its governance arrangements in a readily accessible form (defined as being on a webpage without the need to download or open a separate document) These details include the following
  • the structure and remit of the governing body and any committees, and the full names of the chair of each and for each governor who has served at any point over the past 12 months
  • their full names, date of appointment, term of office, date they stepped down (where applicable), who appointed them
  •  relevant business and pecuniary interests (as recorded in the register of interests) including:
  • governance roles in other educational institutions;
  • any material interests arising from relationships between governors or relationships between governors and school staff (including spouses, partners and close relatives); and
  • their attendance record at governing body and committee meetings over the last academic year.
  • Governing bodies should also publish this information for associate members, making clear whether they have voting rights on any of the committees to which they have been appointed.

 

Comment

As this adds to the information needed from governors (as underlined above) need to seek additional details (and update the register) at the next and subsequent meetings of the GB and compile the attendance record for last academic year (which includes all committees). These details will then need to be added to the website with any changes or additions added during the year

 

No advice from the LA or others on the format or a template for this information as yet but expect that such information may follow from various sources.