Latest Governance Snapshot

January 2017

Dear Governor, Trustee and Clerk,

Happy New Year and welcome to the first snapshot of 2017.

There is a lot to read this month by the way so please don’t try and digest it all at once!

If you are new to the Snapshot it is not meant to cover all the matters you need to know but is a collection of articles, hyperlinks and blogs which I have found useful over the past month or so and I write the snapshot foc so please do share it if you have found it valuable.

Thanks for reading.

Snapshot written by: Fiona Stagg, National Leader of Governance (North Staffordshire)

Headline document

I thought I would avoid the obvious headline document and instead refer to this report which was published earlier in January: “Children left to fend for themselves in the digital world.”

Read more here.

Contents

  1. Ofsted and DfE Publications
  2. Attendance and Behaviour
  3. Training, Support and Governance
  4. Leadership
  5. Funding and Accountability
  6. MATs
  7. Data Protection

Please click on the links above to jump to a certain section of the snapshot, or scroll to read all snapshots.

Ofsted and DfE Publications

Ofsted Dec 2016 Improving School Governance

I am including this important publication again in case you missed it at the end of last term.

The new Governance Handbook was published on January 12th. The NGA has published a summary of the key changes to the handbook; follow the link to ‘Unpacked: Governance Handbook 2017’ where you will find a useful guide to changes. This will be updated so please keep checking back.

In addition to the Handbook which we should all be familiar with the DfE have published a Competency Framework for Governance. This is NOT a checklist as Sir David Carter, National Schools Commissioner, is keen to remind us not to panic but to use the Competency Framework to support our CPD as governors and Boards. He said during a keen Twitter exchange with Governors on the evening of publication that the ‘Governance Competency Framework is a guide & tool for evaluation to build stronger governance. Not a checklist!’

The Competency Framework is made up of 16 competencies. The competencies are grouped under the headings of the ‘six features of effective governance. This has reduced the number of features of effective governance from eight. The NGA have also published some useful information on the Framework.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/582869/Competency_framework_for_governance.pdf

http://www.nga.org.uk/News/NGA-News/Sept-16-Feb-2017/New-Governance-Handbook-and-Competency-Framework-r.aspx

New Chief Inspector

Micheal Wilshaw left Ofsted at the end of December was was replaced by Amanda Spielman formerly of Ofqual which probably explains this article by TES! This article states after nearly five years under Wilshaw, Ofsted is no longer in this mess. Inspectors are trained in-house. They have been banned from selling consultancy services, restoring faith in their independence, and a new framework makes it clearer what is expected of schools. Parents like the organisation. Surveys run by inspectors show that 95% of parents know the brand and 88% believe its reports are reliable. Half have read a report in the past year. Read more here.

For parents – inspecting schools: guidance for parents.

Attendance and Behaviour

As a clerk I regularly minute issues about attendance and of course Governors need to know what their schools attendance and exclusion data is telling them. If you are a Staffordshire school I understand this is referred to in the Spring Term GIP if your school subscribes. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/564599/school_attendance.pdf

The statutory guidance for schools dealing with poor attendance and behaviour in school has been updated and can be found here.

This statutory guidance is for:

  • Headteachers
  • School staff
  • Governing boards
  • Local authorities
  • The police (for penalty notices)

Other info

TES: “Schools don’t understand behaviour or what success should really mean”

Wellbeing

I did not know anything about this useful publication from Feb 2016 but it is worth a read.

Particularly in the light of the study that found “half of young people are so troubled they can’t focus on school” published on TES.

Training, Support and Governance

Governor and Trustee Development

In Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Edge Hill University have the licence from the DfE to run the NCTL governor development programme and further details can be found here. There are a number of facilitators who are running the workshops and the leadership and clerk development programme across the County – please check the website for details on how to book I know the same programme is being run in other parts of the country via different licencees.

National Leaders of Governance

You can contact an NLG if you want to improve the leadership and performance of your school’s governing body.

Typical activities include:

  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Reviewing the responsibilities of the governing body
  • Action planning
  • Supporting academy conversion
  • Advising on reviewing headteacher performance

Contact an NLG : You can use the school-to-school support directory to find national leaders of governance in your area.

You can contact the NLG directly and sometimes you can find an NLG through word of mouth, via an internet search or on Twitter.

Governance

National Governors Association: Another year over – 10 things you might have missed from NGA in 2016.

Read more here.

Leadership

One for us Chairs! – Just because you’re in charge doesn’t mean you should run every meeting.

I have included this article on SEND here because I believe it is very much a leadership issue – it looks at the five commonly misunderstood aspects of the SEND Code of Practice.

Funding and Accountability

There have a been a range of publications and articles published lately on school funding – this is only a very small selection;

National Funding Formula

The Govt. published a first response to the NFF consultation on Dec 12th. The document states in total there were 4,933 responses to the consultation on the schools national funding formula. The largest proportion of responses received were from those who identified themselves as head teachers and principals (25%), followed by parents (18%) and teachers (12%).  I do hope that some Governors took the time to respond particularly given the somewhat sobering outcomes found when you use this website www.schoolcuts.org.uk – just type in your school postcode.

Other useful links:

Please do read the notes on the links above.

MATs

This document is very useful and well worth printing out.

Other useful links:

The NGA have published Welcome to A Multi Academy Trust which is worth purchasing ( I am not on a retainer!)

Data Protection

Not exactly data protection but still data related – please remember that under section 538 of the Education Act 1996 which has been effective from September 2016 maintained school Governing Boards are under a duty to provide the information required on Edubase, ensuring it is kept it up to date as those involved in Governance change.

And in relation to the Snapshot database – I do not share this with anyone and you can unsubscribe at any time but I’d rather you didn’t!

Read more here.

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