A briefing to highlight a number of areas where requirement or advice to governing bodies has changed
Reconstitution of governing bodies
In the new Academic year one of the issues facing many governing bodies* is ensuring their school conforms to the September 2012 constitution regulations by September 2015. The Department for Education has issued statutory guidance for this change and a separate advice note is being circulated from LEGSSS
* Governing bodies that have already re-constituted under the 2012 regulations or have otherwise changed since 1 September 2012 are not affected
The new guidance covers:
•the description of the different categories of governor
•how governing bodies are to be constituted
•terms of office
•removal and disqualification of governors
•instruments of government
•all aspects of the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012
Special educational needs and disability (SEND)
The special educational needs and disability (SEND) reforms came into force from 1 September 2014. The categories of School Action and School Action Plus will be replaced with a new system called special educational needs support. Statements will be replaced with integrated Education, Health and Care plans (EHC plans) and will apply to children and young persons aged 0-25.
The Code of Practice is on the website
The Department for Education (DfE) has produced Information for Governors and highlights that while the Code of Practice recommends that governing bodies appoint an individual governor or committee with a specific remit for SEND, ensuring the delivery of the changes is the collective responsibility of the whole governing body and it should ensure that it is receiving regular reports from the senior leadership team about how implementation is progressing. A PowerPoint presentation is available
DfE have drafted letters for parents, local authorities, colleges and teachers working describe the changes being e introduced in September 2014 to support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and asking to implement the reforms correctly..
Keeping Children Safe in Education
Schools and colleges must have regard to statutory guidance on safeguarding from the Department for Education issued under Section 175, Education Act 2002
The document contains information on what schools should do and sets out the legal duties with which they must comply. It should be read alongside Working Together to Safeguard Children (2013) and replaces guidance on Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education (December 2006).
- must ensure that they comply with their duties under legislation and have regard to the guidance to ensure that the policies, procedures and training in their schools or colleges are effective and comply with the law at all times.
- should ensure that the school contributes to inter-agency working in line with statutory guidance
- should ensure that their safeguarding arrangements take into account the procedures and practice of the local authority as part of the inter-agency safeguarding procedures set up by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB
- should ensure a member of the governing body, usually the chair, is nominated to liaise with the local authority and/or partner agencies on issues of child protection and in the event of allegations of abuse made against the headteacher,.
- should ensure there is an effective child protection policy in place together with a staff behaviour policy (code of conduct).
- should appoint a member of staff of the school’s leadership team to the role of designated safeguarding lead. This should be explicit in the role-holder’s job description
- should consider how children may be taught about safeguarding, including online, through teaching and learning opportunities, as part of providing a broad and balanced curriculum. This may include covering relevant issues through personal, social health and economic education (PSHE), and/or through sex and relationship education (SRE).
It is noted that ” School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009, regulation 9: at least one member of a recruitment panel must undertake safer recruitment training which, subject to parliamentary procedure, from September 2014 will no longer need to be provided by a person approved by the Secretary of State. Schools may choose appropriate training and may take advice from their LSCB in doing so. The training should cover, as a minimum, the content of this guidance.”
As well as introduction of free school meals for Infants (UIFSM) from September, DfE have now also issued revised school food standards regulations which come into effect on 1 January 2015. The new standards are designed to make it easier for school cooks to create imaginative, flexible and nutritious menus. They will be mandatory in all maintained schools, and new academies and free schools.
A user-friendly summary of the standards and guidance to help schools and other organisations implement them is available on the school food plan website
Governors’ Handbook 2014
The Governors’ Handbook (last published 15th May 2014) replaced the old Guide to the Law in 2012. (and is due to be re-issued in September 2014)
Ofsted School inspection handbook
In August 2014 Ofsted reduced the number of guidance documents for inspectors, schools and other stakeholders to just three guidance documents: The framework for school inspection; School inspection handbook and Inspecting safeguarding in maintained schools and academies.
The school inspection handbook provides instructions and guidance for inspectors conducting inspections under section 5 of the Education Act 2005 . It sets out what inspectors must do and what schools can expect, and provides guidance for inspectors on making their judgments. It brings together guidance and briefings for inspectors that were previously spread across a number of documents.
On Page 47 Section 165. Says “ 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), cultures and lifestyles; 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 (failing to) 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.”
School teachers’ pay and conditions: advice
DfE have issued advice to help schools with:
- implementing changes in the 2014 school teachers’ pay and conditions document
- setting school leaders’ pay
- performance-related pay progression
- meeting their equalities responsibilities
- using appropriate evidence when making appraisal and pay decisions
- managing pay decision appeals
The DfE has issued new advice for schools about setting up or reviewing their complaints procedures. The 24-page document “School Complaints Toolkit” (published August 2014) can be accessed on the web
The curriculum contains the programmes of study and attainment targets for all subjects, at all key stages (except key stage 4 science, which will follow after a public consultation on the draft programme of study)
All maintained schools in England must start teaching these programmes of study from September 2014 with the following exceptions:
•in the 2014 to 2015 academic year, pupils in years 2 and 6 should be taught the current programmes of study in English, mathematics and science
•these pupils will sit the current key stage 1 and 2 tests respectively(new tests will be available from 2016)
•key stage 4 programmes of study for English and maths, should be taught to pupils in year 10 from September 2015, and pupils in year 11 from September 2016
Curriculum by key stages and advice on assessment is available on the web
The Equality Act 2010 and schools
DfE advice for school leaders, school staff, governing bodies and local authorities