Monthly Archives: May 2014

Friday Catch up – 23 May 2014

NEW CONSTITUTION REGULATIONS STATUTORY GUIDANCE
The Department for Education (DfE) has now published Statutory Guidance on the amendment to the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012, along with its response to the consultation on the changes.  As expected, the amendment requires all Governing bodies of LA maintained schools to be constituted under the 2012 Constitution Regulations, if they haven’t already done so, by 1 September 2015.

As you have already reconstituted under the 2012 Regulations when you joined the Learning Trust you do not need to do this again.  However, we will need to give consideration to some of the areas highlighted in the Statutory Guidance around recruitment of Governors.  I will prepare a paper for your consideration next half term and we can then plan how we want to move forward during next academic year.

For your information I have provided links to the new Statutory Guidance and the DfE’s response to the consultation here: New statutory guidance on the Constitution Regulations  DfE response to Constitution Regulations consultation

UPDATED GOVERNORS’ HANDBOOK

The DfE has also published a revised version of the Governors’ Handbook Governors’ Handbook May 2014  and the changes include:

  • New section on changes to the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012 and the School Governance (Federations) (England) Regulations 2012
  • More information on the strategic/operational divide
  • Updated information on external reviews of governance
  • Updated content on careers advice

NATIONAL DRIVE TO RECRUIT MORE SCHOOL GOVERNORS

Earlier this month the Inspiring Governors Alliance officially came into being.  The Alliance has the aim of raising the profile of governance and inspiring more employers to encourage their employees to become governors.

The Alliance is a joint initiative by the DfE, the National Governors’ Association, National Coordinators of Governor Services, the CBI, SGOSS and the Education and Employers Taskforce.  Its new website (www.inspiringgovernors.org) was launched on 15 May 2014 with information for potential volunteers, employers and governing bodies.

Friday Catch Up – 16 May 2014

Regional School Commissioner for the North

As announced in Wednesday’s Education Select Committee Meeting on Academies and Free Schools, Janet Renou is the new Regional School Commissioner for the North.  Ms Renou is Head Teacher at Skipton Girls’ High School.  The meeting saw MPs quiz witnesses on the role of RSCs and how Head Teacher Boards would be constituted and you can find a written response from the DfE which provides more detail on the RSC role and the constitution of Head Teacher Boards here Written answer

Education Select Committee inquiry into PSHE and SRE

The House of Commons Education Select Committee has announced an inquiry into the Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) and Sex and Relationship Education (SRE). The committee are looking at four key questions:

  • whether PSHE ought to be statutory, either as part of the National Curriculum or through some other means of entitlement
  • whether the current accountability system is sufficient to ensure that schools focus on PSHE
  • the overall provision of Sex and Relationships Education in schools and the quality of its teaching, including in primary schools and academies
  • whether recent government steps to supplement the guidance on teaching about sex and relationships – including consent, abuse between teenagers, and cyber-bullying – are adequate
  • how the effectiveness of SRE should be measured

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) publishes report into free schools

Following an inquiry into the establishment of free schools, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has published its report, which includes a number of recommendations. At the time of writing, there were 174 free schools open, with over 100 more due to open in September. The Department for Education (DfE) has estimated that by March 2014 it will have spent £1.1bn on the free school programme of which £0.7bn was capital expenditure on buildings and land.

The report makes a number of recommendations, one of which specifically relates to oversight and governance. The report states “one of our primary concerns in relation to the implementation of this policy is that arrangements for the audit and governance of free schools are not yet effective.”  It noted that although there is a statutory requirement for free schools to submit audited accounts, for the last financial year available (2011-12), 56% did not submit their accounts to the Education Funding Agency (EFA) by the deadline.

The committee’s other recommendations relate to the capital costs of setting up new free schools; learning lessons from already open free schools about how many places will be filled in the first years after opening and more transparency from the DfE about how it ultimately decides which applications are approved.

Friday Catch Up – 9 May 2014

NCTL publishes research on Headteachers’ performance management

The National College for Teaching and Leadership recently released a report on research it had commissioned into the effective performance management of Headteachers. The report contains a good summary of the process of performance management and suggestions of good practice and you can use this link to access it Headteacher performance: effective management

The researchers have identified 20 ‘challenges’ which face governing bodies and provide recommendations on how to tackle them.  While for many governors the challenges will be well understood, the document does set them out in one place: these include setting objectives which knit together individual and school development; identifying and interpreting appropriate performance information; mutual respect and trust, and clear roles; and developing the capacity of the Governing body with regards to Headteacher performance management (HTPM). The report says that some of the hardest things to manage are how to identify and tackle under performance and how to reward system leadership.

At the end of the report is a list of what the researchers have identified as the ten characteristics of effective HTPM.

Pupil premium awards for the next two years

The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and the Schools Minister, David Laws, announced the 2015 and 2016 Pupil Premium Awards last week.  These are an opportunity to showcase innovative and effective practice and to give public recognition to schools that are excelling in raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.  Up to 500 schools will receive prizes. There will be a top prize of £250,000 for secondary schools and £100,000 for primary and special schools.  In addition there are regional awards and smaller ‘qualifier’ awards (for up to 300 primary and 100 secondary schools.

The assessment criteria have been changed to so that the awards reflect sustained improvement over time in raising attainment of disadvantaged pupils.  To win the larger prizes, schools will need to provide evidence of implementing effective strategies to improve achievement.

The 2015 Pupil Premium Awards are being run by the Department for Education in partnership with TES. Schools can find out more about the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards at www.pupilpremiumawards.co.uk.  The awards ceremony will be held in March 2015.