Posted: September 21st, 2015 | Author: billwright | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Update from DfE 18 September
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.
Posted: September 21st, 2015 | Author: billwright | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Over the summer DfE replaced the statutory guidance document to revise information on the constitution of governing bodies.
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.
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.
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.
Posted: September 16th, 2015 | Author: billwright | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
The revised school inspection handbook for use from September 2015 was published at the end of August. Key points for governors include:
In advance of the visit the lead inspector will discuss arrangements with the Head including “arrangements for a meeting with the chair of the governing body and as many governors as possible, and request that as many governors as possible are also present at the final feedback meeting”
At the start of the inspection information is expected to be available including “documented evidence of the work of governors and their priorities”
Inspectors will always seek to meet those responsible for governance during the inspection. This includes maintained school governors. The contribution of governors to the school’s performance is evaluated as part of the judgement on the effectiveness of leadership and management. As with the meetings between inspectors and pupils, parents and staff, meetings with governors should take place without the headteacher or senior staff.
In line with the Common Inspection Framework, inspectors will make key judgements on the following areas:
- overall effectiveness
- effectiveness of leadership and management
- quality of teaching, learning and assessment
- personal development, behaviour and welfare
- outcomes for pupils.
Inspectors use the following four-point scale to make all judgements,
- grade 1: outstanding
- grade 2: good
- grade 3: requires improvement
- grade 4: inadequate
In making judgements on the effectiveness of leadership and management inspectors will consider:
- the leaders’ and governors’ vision and ambition for the school and how these are communicated to staff, parents and pupils
- whether leaders and governors have created a culture of high expectations, aspirations and scholastic excellence in which the highest achievement in academic and vocational work is recognised as vitally important
- whether leaders have the highest expectations for social behaviour among pupils and staff, so that respect and courtesy are the norm
- the rigour and accuracy of self-evaluation and how well it leads to planning that secures continual improvement
- the design, implementation and evaluation of the curriculum, ensuring breadth and balance and its impact on pupils’ outcomes and their personal, development, behaviour and welfare
- how well the school supports the formal curriculum with extra-curricular opportunities for pupils to extend their knowledge and understanding and to improve their skills in a range of artistic, creative and sporting activities
- how effectively leaders use the primary PE and sport premium and measure its impact on outcomes for pupils, and how effectively governors hold them to account for this
- how well the school prepares pupils positively for life in modern Britain and promotes the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith
- the effectiveness of the actions leaders take to secure and sustain improvements to teaching, learning and assessment and how effectively governors hold them to account for this
- how well leaders ensure that the school has a motivated, respected and effective teaching staff to deliver a high quality education for all pupils, and how effectively governors hold them to account for this
- the quality of continuing professional development for teachers at the start and middle of their careers and later, including to develop leadership capacity and how leaders and governors use performance management to promote effective practice across the school
- how effectively leaders monitor the progress of groups of pupils to ensure that none falls behind and underachieve, and how effectively governors hold them to account for this
- how well leaders and governors engage with parents, carers and other stakeholders and agencies to support all pupils
- how effectively leaders use additional funding, including the pupil premium, and measure its impact on outcomes for pupils, and how effectively governors hold them to account for this
- the effectiveness of governors in discharging their core statutory functions (as set out in the Governors Handbook)
- how well leaders and governors promote all forms of equality and foster greater understanding of and respect for people of all faiths (and those of no faith), races, genders, ages, disability and sexual orientations (and other groups with protected characteristics ), through their words, actions and influence within the school and more widely in the community
- the effectiveness of safeguarding
- the effectiveness of leaders’ and governors’ work to raise awareness and keep pupils safe from the dangers of abuse, sexual exploitation, radicalisation and extremism and what the staff do when they suspect that pupils are vulnerable to these issues.
Inspectors will seek evidence of the impact of those responsible for governance. This includes maintained school governors, (Where a children’s centre is managed directly by the school’s governing body, inspectors will consider the impact of any judgements about the children’s centre or the services and activities offered through or by the centre, in judging leadership and management)
Inspectors will consider whether governors:
- work effectively with leaders to communicate the vision, ethos and strategic direction of the school and develop a culture of ambition
- provide a balance of challenge and support to leaders, understanding the strengths and areas needing improvement at the school
- provide support for an effective headteacher or are hindering school improvement because of a lack of understanding of the issues facing the school
- understand how the school makes decisions about teachers’ salary progression and performance
- performance manage the headteacher rigorously
- understand the impact of teaching, learning and assessment on the progress of pupils currently in the school
- ensure that assessment information from leaders provides governors with sufficient and accurate information to ask probing questions about outcomes for pupils
- ensure that the school’s finances are properly managed and can evaluate how the school is using the pupil premium and the primary PE and sport premium
- are transparent and accountable, including in recruitment of staff, governance structures, attendance at meetings and contact with parents.Inspectors will recommend an external review if governance is weak.Grade descriptors for the effectiveness of leadership and management are included in the Handbook (p42)https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-inspection-handbook-from-september-2015
Posted: September 16th, 2015 | Author: billwright | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Myth: Individuals are not allowed to serve on the governing body or board of more than 2 schools or academies.
Fact: There is no rule to prevent an individual from serving as a governor or trustee at more than 2 schools or academies. We recognise that there are people who have the unique skills and the time to serve effectively on a number of governing bodies, and we do not want to restrict their ability to do so. The Governors’ handbook and statutory guidance for local-authority-maintained schools state that boards and other appointing bodies should interview and take references to ensure the people they appoint are appropriate and have the necessary skills and time to serve effectively. This is especially important if they are already serving on the governing board of other schools. That decision should be made by the body making the appointment. We expect that individuals will only be able to serve effectively on more than 2 boards in exceptional circumstances.
(DfE 9 September 2015)
Posted: August 16th, 2015 | Author: billwright | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
This statutory guidance for school and governing bodies was updated on 14 August 2015.
Statutory guidance is issued by law and must be followed unless there’s a good reason not to.
The document explains the arrangements for the constitution of governing bodies of all local-authority-maintained schools and covers:
- the description of the different categories of governor
- how governing bodies are constituted
- terms of office
- removal and disqualification of governors
- instruments of government
- “all aspects of the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012”
Most of the advice had been included in the edition published in March but extends that on the process of appointing governors and information that must be included on the school website:
- To inform their opinion on whether prospective governors have the skills to contribute to effective governance and the success of the school , governors will need to arrange “an interview or detailed discussion” with each candidate
- References (oral or written) should be taken “as necessary and appropriate”
- Where a prospective governor already serves on another governing body the chair should contact the other chair to discuss the individual’s skills and their capacity to be effective on another. DfE believe that only in exceptional circumstances will it be “practical and beneficial” to serve on more than two governing bodies
Publication of Governor’s Details
- In the interests of transparency governance arrangements should be published on the website. These should be “readily accessible” and on a webpage without the need to download or open a separate document.
- “Structure and remit of the governing body and any committees and the full names of the chair of each”
- Include each governor(and associate member) “who has served at any point over the last twelve months”
- Give full names as well as date of appointment and term of office
- Relevant business and pecuniary interests ( as recorded in the register of interests)
- Material interests arising from relationships “between governors or between governors and staff (including spouses, partners and close relatives)”
- Attendance record at governing body and committee meetings over the last academic year
Further information on the application of these requirements is being sought
Posted: August 12th, 2015 | Author: billwright | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Useful summary republished by Sheena Lewington (Clerk to Governors) explains different meanings used and roles update from archived DfE advice
Posted: June 18th, 2015 | Author: billwright | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
One advice source for governors has highlighted that the Act came into force on 26 March 2015.
and has a number of provisions relating to schools (see pages 47 and 122-124 of the explanatory notes). However, these provisions have not yet come into force. They will come into force on a date to be specified by the secretary of state in a subsequent commencement order.
Once these provisions are in effect, they will:
- Remove the requirement to set annual targets for educational performance in maintained schools in England
- Remove the requirement for maintained schools in England to have a statement of behaviour principles
- Remove the requirement for schools in England and Wales to have a home-school agreement
- Transfer responsibility for setting term dates in community, voluntary controlled and community special schools and maintained nursery schools in England to school governing bodies
- Remove the requirement for maintained schools and local authorities in England to have regard to guidance issued by the secretary of state on staffing matters such as recruitment and discipline
- Remove a number of duties on governing bodies in England relating to providing parents with information on complaints, and to sharing Ofsted reports and reports of religious inspections
Posted: May 29th, 2015 | Author: billwright | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
This House of Commons Library Research briefing note provides background on Ofsted inspections of state-funded schools, and looks at recent developments in school inspection.
It aims to answer the questions the Library is asked most frequently, including:
- Does Ofsted inspection contribute to school improvement?
- How frequent are Ofsted school inspections?
- How has the way Ofsted inspects schools evolved?
- What are the consequences of the different Ofsted judgements or grades?
- What evidence do inspectors look at as part of the inspection process?
- What are the accountability arrangements for Ofsted?
- How does a school complain about an inspection?
- What are the current topical issues around Ofsted inspection?
Posted: May 12th, 2015 | Author: billwright | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
School can get support for cooking clubs at country’s largest and most vibrant network of cooking clubs.
Posted: April 19th, 2015 | Author: billwright | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Advice issued from Education Funding Agency 25 March with 14 April update
The SFVS helps schools to manage their finances and to provide assurance to the local authority that they have secure financial management in place.
The guidance is primarily aimed governing bodies of maintained and local authorities and includes
- Assessment form
- Support notes
- Additional resources
Two additional questions for governors have been added to March 2015 format:
- Have your pay decisions been reached in accordance with a pay policy reflecting clear performance criteria?
- Has the use of professional independent advice informed part of the pay decision process in relation to the headteacher?