Governance Monthly Bulletin March 2020
For all governors, trustees, clerks and school leaders.
This month, further to our very successful Clerks’ Conference, we follow up on some items raised by clerks.
You said…we did - your ‘Governance Professional’ should find this information helpful in supporting your board.
Department for Education
Closing date - 21 April 2020 - The DfE are consulting on a wide variety of proposed changes to KCSIE statutory guidance. The aim is to help schools and colleges better understand what they are required to do by law and what DfE strongly advise they should do, in order to meet safeguarding responsibilities.
The Education Secretary (Gavin Williamson) announces a £10 million programme to curb unruly behaviour and prevent disruption in the classroom
From September 2020, all new primary school pupils will take the Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) that will replace SATs in year 2. Following successful pilots all over the country, the RBA (a one-to-one exercise done in 20 minutes with a teacher in an informal setting) will be taken by all children in their first six weeks of primary school. The move paves the way for the removal of the national curriculum assessments at the end of key stage 1 from 2022/23 – commonly known as SATs – when pupils are aged six- or seven-years-old.
The Secretary of State for Education sets out the terms/conditions and funding allocations in relation to the pupil premium grant (PPG) payable to schools and local authorities for the financial year beginning 1 April 2020.
Please also see NGA item below.
Currently non-statutory (but likely to become law/statutory), the DfE's current school uniform guidance strongly recommends important points for consideration by governing boards when setting a uniform policy - cost/best value for money from suppliers, being wary of single supplier contracts, discrimination law, requests to vary the policy to accommodate pupils’ religion, ethnicity, gender and other protected characteristics.
Does your board regularly review the school uniform policy? When was the policy last reviewed?
The current secondary school accountability system was introduced in 2016. This February 2020 document explains how secondary accountability measures are calculated and provides more information about announced policies that apply to accountability measures in 2019 and 2020.
As the body responsible for ensuring the school’s finances are managed effectively, ensure that any spending on recruitment advertising can be justified. This free job listing service is designed to help recruitment to teaching vacancies, ensuring money can be spent in the classroom.
Ofsted are seeking your views regarding proposals for revisions to post-inspection arrangements, including how they handle complaints about their work. The proposals, if agreed, will enhance Ofsted’s current arrangements to deal with any queries or concerns about an inspection quickly and before an inspection report is finalised.
This Ofsted research explores how schools make decisions when they are under financial pressure and what impact their decisions could have on quality of education. Headteachers in mainstream schools in England were asked to take part in an online survey; school leaders and other school staff were interviewed in order to explore - the main financial pressures that their schools were facing; how decisions were made in response to financial pressure; what decisions were made; the wider implications of the responses to financial pressure.
National Governance Association
- London Regional Conference, Saturday 21 March 2020 10am - 3.15pm
- South East Regional Conference, Saturday 28 March 2020, 10am - 3.15pm
Moving MATs forward: the power of governance is a comprehensive report by NGA which assesses the current context, oversight and practice of MAT governance; it provides recommendations for improvement to those governing MATs.
This practical guide for NGA members is designed to support Governing Boards work effectively as a team . It refers to the factors that can affect the dynamics of a board and provides useful tips and strategies for building and maintaining relationships together with suggested approaches for creating an effective team dynamic.
NGA has published a Clerking Matters blog on using individuals from outside the governing board for panels e.g. exclusions and school complaints. The blog (1 side of A4 only), discusses the steps boards can take to ensure that the sensitive issues which prompt panels can be managed internally; it also draws attention to the circumstances where the involvement of individuals from outside the governing board can be beneficial or even legally required; there is also practical advice on finding outside individuals who are suitable for joining panels and the process of formally agreeing their involvement.
NGA has updated its guidance for governing boards (accessible to NGA subscribers) to coincide with the recent DfE announcement which has been streamlined to make it easier to follow. It covers key aspects of the governing board’s role - deciding how the pupil premium is spent; what goes into the pupil premium strategy; monitoring the impact and demonstrating accountability. NGA’s Learning Link module also explores how governing boards fulfil their responsibilities relating to the pupil premium.
Visible Governance in Schools
NGA believes that school and trust governance is almost always invisible when it’s working well and very much in the spotlight when things go wrong.
On 28 February the Visible Governance in Schools campaign went live, it is to run throughout 2020.
NGA’s intention is to achieve a higher profile and better understanding of governance and further improve the lives of children and their communities.
NGA suggests that school and trust governance must be more visible within the education sector and within society; they are delivering a year of celebrating the power of governance, the people that volunteer for the role and the value that good governance brings to the school system.
Find out more at Visible Governance in schools
NGA’s 'Everyone on Board' campaign aims to increase the participation of people from ethnic minorities and young people in school governance. Please also consider the development needs of your senior and middle leaders, deputy, assistance and aspiring Headteachers in gaining valuable governance experience.
The next County Assembly is scheduled for Monday 15 June 2020, 7pm – 9pm, Howfield Manor Hotel, Howfield Lane, Chartham Hatch, Canterbury CT4 7HQ click here to book your place
Aims, objective, meeting minutes and information can be found on KGA’s page on Kelsi.
The Education People, Governor Services
Do you know which school in the country is most like yours?
The EEF's Families of Schools database has just been fully updated to include the latest 2019 data for both primary and secondary schools. This free online tool:
- provides key data on the attainment of your school’s disadvantaged pupils
- shows your school’s position within a ‘family’ of 50 schools which have pupils with similar characteristics
- highlights schools to collaborate with and key EEF resources to support your school’s improvement journey
EEFective Kent Project - What is this? Are your school involved? Find out more!
We had a very successful clerks conference last month with the Department of Education as the keynote speaker asking for clerks’ views on the Role of the Clerk as the Governance Professional, including the barriers and support to enable them to be the effective influencers to their governing boards.
There is currently key scrutiny by the DfE on the role of the clerk as the governance professional to inform future policy, legislation and guidance; we are delighted that Kent clerks may have an influence on any change.
One of the key messages was for the need for the clerk position to be seen to be objective and serving the governing board with no possible conflict by also being a member of the school staff.
The Finance, Positive Influencer and Academy Clerking workshops all received very positive feedback.
Below are some answers from the frequent questions asked during the conference:
LA Governor Nominations - information
Since the introduction of the updated streamlined process in September 2019, existing LA governors (those seeking a further term of office) will no longer be contacted as the end of the term of office approaches; it will be the responsibility of the clerk and the chair, together with the governing body, to pay close attention to governor vacancies and terms of office. The LA Governor Nomination Pack (2019) can be found at the resources tab on GovernorHub – please familiarise yourself with this revised, more frequent and more efficient process.School
Governance Updates – Action Reminder
Regular updates from DfE are available for both LA Maintained schools and Academy Trusts, please be sure to register for updates directly to your email inbox; items in this edition include consultation on the removal of the outstanding exemption, NFER/DfE survey, GIAS national database requirements, compare how much your school is spending on agency supply teachers, clerks’ voices required re the governance professional role.
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019 (KCSIE) - Section 128 checks for governors – Action Reminder
Your attention is drawn to part 3 of KCSIE regarding safer recruitment and item 130 which explains that along with academy, free and independent schools, a section 128 direction disqualifies a person from holding or continuing to hold office as a governor of a maintained school.
Succession Planning - information
NGA has a Learning Link module to help governing boards understand the importance of succession planning and how to go about it effectively to ensure that there is continuity within the board, the right people in the right place at the right time, planning for the appointment of a new chair (and vice chair) – not a last-minute decision, but someone who wants, or is the best person for, the role(s).
Modules on Safeguarding, Ofsted and the Arts and Cultural Education module have been updated.
Thursday 19 March 2020 - 09:00 - 13:00 – Mercure, Maidstone Great Danes Hotel
Wellbeing – Next Steps and Takeaways
Feedback from our Governor Conference was that you wanted a practical follow up to this important subject … you said, we listened!
- Kelly Hannaghan, returning from The Primary First Trust, will deliver a keynote on “The ways and the how’s of Effective Wellbeing in Education” with practices and takeaways within the session that will include looking into whole school emotional health evaluations and a strategic plan with goals for implementation.
- Catherine Read from ‘Headstart’ will also be presenting; Headstart lead on the whole school approach to resilience and emotional wellbeing via a practical toolkit which links to the current Ofsted framework.
- Louise Simpson will show Governors how the Inclusion Toolkit can assist with SEND in school.
Vice Chairs and aspiring Chairs are also welcome! Click here to book your place
The next round of briefings being held at a variety of locations across the county.
- Does a governor from your board attend and report back?
- Is your clerk provided with the opportunity to meet and work with other clerks?
Governor Briefings – between 5 and 21 May
Clerks Briefings – between 11 and 18 June
Be sure to book your place via CPD Online (keyword: district)
Your attention is drawn to our course ‘Responsibilities of the Governing Body in Pupil Discipline’ which is being held in Ashford and Tonbridge. This course explores in-school early interventions to alleviate exclusions, the responsibilities of the governing body discipline panel in reviewing pupil exclusions and best practice to ensure that the governing body is not left vulnerable – please book via CPD online for Ashford or Tonbridge
NGA Learning Link module entitled ‘Pupil Success and Wellbeing – Exclusions’ has recently been reviewed and updated.
- An additional and convenient facility has recently been added to the GovernorHub system; agreements specific to your board (e.g. code of conduct) can be created under ‘Governing Board Confirmations’, members can then confirm via their own profile page (declarations tab).
- Do you Govern at more than 1 school? Need to record a school email address? A helpful guide is now available on the resources tab, GovernorHub folder providing details of how Additional Information (school email addresses, multiple DBS check numbers) can be applied to the system.
If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, wonder no more! Take a look at the feedback from current users, explaining the benefits that this easy to use online service provides, helping governing boards run more efficiently and effectively; be sure to take advantage of the one-month free trial!
Ensure that the minutes confirming the formal appointment of a Local Authority Governor by the full governing body are sent by email to [email protected]; should the case arise that the full governing body decides not to appoint, the minutes should also be forwarded to Governor Services.
- Has your GB submitted a nomination in the last 6 months?
- Has the appointment been formally made by the full governing body?
- Have the full governing body minutes been sent to Governor Services?
KCC Audit department has highlighted that not all maintained schools are aware of, including the need for the recording of, the financial risks that could affect them; further information and a Schools Financial Risk Register template can be found on Kelsi. The risk register is not required to be submitted to the Local Authority but may need to be seen as part of a compliance visit.
A number of model polices were revised at the start of the academic year including the SPS Redundancy/ Restructure and Capability; policies are reviewed throughout the year.
Please check the SPS website regularly to ensure your school is working with the latest version.
Governor Services Manager: [email protected]
Clerking Service: [email protected]
Governor Services: [email protected]
Area Governance Officers:
North Kent and Medway (Dartford, Gravesham, Sevenoaks) Medway: [email protected]
South Kent (Ashford, Dover, Folkestone and Hythe): [email protected]
East Kent (Canterbury, Swale, Thanet): [email protected]
West Kent (Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling, T.Wells): [email protected]