Monthly Archives: January 2015

Friday Update – 30 January 2015

This week we highlight sections (focusing on British values) from two recent Ofsted inspections carried out in the region, a DfE consultation on introducing new regulations to make school governance in maintained schools more transparent and the announcement of the 2015 Pupil Premium Summer School programme.

OFSTED JUDGEMENTS ON THE TEACHING OF BRITISH VALUES
Many Governors will recall that back in November I reported on the release of Department for Education guidance on promoting British values in schools.  As many of you will be aware from the national and regional press two schools in the region, Grindon Hall Christian School and The Durham Free School, were recently inspected by Ofsted and were judged to be inadequate. Whilst Friday Update doesn’t  usually focus on news articles, I thought Governors might be interested in the sections in the respective Ofsted reports on British values and how these schools were judged to be inadequately preparing their pupils for life in modern Britain.

GREATER TRANSPARENCY PROPOSED FOR MAINTAINED SCHOOLS GOVERNING BODIES
The Department for Education (DfE) is currently consulting on introducing new regulations to make school governance more transparent. They are proposing that the Governors’ Register of Interests and a list of Governors’ names must appear on the school website for maintained schools. The consultation also proposes that Governing bodies should be able to set different terms of office for individual Governors, and that it should be permissible for staffing functions to be delegated to subgroups that include an associate Governor or Governors.

The consultation is not public and has only been given to the bodies that sit on the DfE’s Advisory Group on Governance (which includes the National Governors’ Association and National Co-ordinators of Governor Services).  It closes on 19 February and any changes are expected to become effective this September.

INTRODUCTION OF THE 2015 DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION PUPIL PREMIUM SUMMER SCHOOL PROGRAMME
The Department for Education (DfE) has announced details of the funding for its pupil premium summer schools programme for 2015. The funding is available for Secondary schools to run summer schools for pupil premium eligible pupils joining their year 7 in September 2015. Schools will receive £250 (if running a one-week summer school) or £500 (if running a two-week summer school) for every eligible pupil who confirms they wish to attend the summer school.  Schools can invite eligible pupils from other year groups, but the funding is limited to pupils joining year 7 and summer schools are expected to retain a strong focus on preparing eligible new pupils for the transition to secondary education.  The deadline for funding applications is 29 May 2015.

Friday Update – 23 January 2015

This week we highlight the updated 20 Key Questions for Governing bodies which can be used when reviewing governance practice, the latest version of the Department for Education’s Myths and Facts document about school activities, new professional standards for Headteachers and the outcomes from an independent review into initial teacher training.

UPDATED 20 KEY QUESTIONS FOR GOVERNING BODIES
The second edition of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Governance and Leadership’s Twenty key questions for the Governing board to ask itself has just been published.

Three years ago the first edition of the document was developed by the National Governors’ Association (NGA) and the Key for School Governors to encourage more Governing bodies to challenge themselves. Since then they have been used extensively by many Governing bodies when reviewing their governance practice and they have been reviewed and updated in the light of that experience.

The questions have also been incorporated into the new Framework for School Governance as highlighted in last week’s Update.

UPDATED DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION MYTHS AND FACTS
This updated document addresses some common misconceptions about the activities schools are required to undertake. It seeks to tackle both recurring myths and new myths on changes happening during the 2014 to 2015 academic year.

NEW PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS FOR HEADTEACHERS
This week Education Secretary Nicky Morgan unveiled new professional standards for Headteachers  in England. A review of the existing 2004 standards was conducted last year with the aim of defining leadership standards that are applicable to all Headteacher roles in the current educational landscape.

The new ‘standards of excellence’ set out the skills, knowledge and behaviour Headteachers should aspire to, including:

  • raising the bar for all pupils, overcoming disadvantage and instilling a strong sense of accountability in staff for the impact of their work on pupils’ success;
  • boosting teacher quality through high-level training and sustained professional development;
  • identifying talent and coaching current and aspiring leaders of the future.

INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF INITIAL TEACHER TRAINING PUBLISHED
An independent review of the quality and effectiveness of initial teacher training (ITT) courses, chaired by Sir Andrew Carter, was launched by the DfE on 1 May 2014. Sir Andrew’s report, published this week, highlights that the system in England is performing well but that more needs to be done to ensure all trainees receive some core grounding in the basics of classroom management and subject knowledge.

In response the government has confirmed that it will:

  • commission an independent working group made of expert representatives from the sector to develop a core ITT framework;
  • • commission the Teaching Schools Council to develop a set of national standards for mentors;
  • develop the Get Into Teaching website and provide information about  ITT on GOV.UK so that applicants of ITT and schools can find clearer information about provision.

Friday Update – 16 January 2015

This week we highlight publication of the updated version of the Governors’ Handbook, the opening of the window for applying for a new DfE Character Award and confirmation that Level 1 and 2 Certificates (IGCSEs) will no longer be included in School Performance tables.

UPDATED GOVERNORS’ HANDBOOK
The Department for Education and the National College for Teaching and Leadership has today issued an updated version of the Governors’ Handbook. Full details of the changes are outlined in Annex A and include information on:

  • A more detailed explanation of what it means for Governors to play a strategic role (Pages 9-10, Section 1, Point 1.3);
  • Clearer expectations around Governors’ school visits (Page 16, Section 1, Point 1.4.4);
  • Updated Ofsted Inspection Criteria to judge the effectiveness of school governance (Pages 19-20, Section 1, Point 1.7.1);
  • An updated section on the National Curriculum (Page 50, Section 3, Point 3.1).

DFE CHARACTER AWARDS
As reported in the 19 December 2014 Update, the Department for Education has launched its new Character Awards. A recent DfE press release has confirmed schools can submit an online application from now until Friday 30 January 2015 and the winners will be announced at the end of February/beginning of March.

To enter you should be able to prove your programme develops character traits, attributes and behaviours that underpin success in school and work, including:

  • perseverance, resilience and grit
  • confidence and optimism
  • motivation, drive and ambition
  • neighbourliness and community spirit
  • tolerance and respect
  •  honesty, integrity and dignity
  • conscientiousness, curiosity and focus

All primary and secondary schools, including academies and special schools can apply as well as pupil referral units. Schools and/or organisations can apply in partnership but applicants must state a lead applicant who will be awarded the full prize.

There will be up to 3 winners selected from all applicants within each region (North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, West Midlands, East Midlands, East of England, London, South East, South West) and awarded £15,000. From amongst the regional winners, 1 national prize winner will be chosen and awarded an additional prize of £20,000.

LEVEL 1 AND 2 CERTIFICATES (IGCSEs) WILL NO LONGER BE INCLUDED IN PERFORMANCE TABLES
The Minister of State for School Reform, Nick Gibb, has today confirmed that academic level 1/2 certificates (sometimes known as IGCSEs) will no longer be included in school performance tables. Having been counted in performance tables from June 2010, the Department for Education announced in July last year that with the introduction of reformed GCSEs in Maths and English in 2015 the certificates in these subjects would not be included in the 2017 performance tables.

The Department for Education having worked closely with exam boards and Ofqual to see if these alternative qualifications could also be reformed to ensure they are as rigorous as the new GCSEs has today confirmed this hasn’t been possible. Accordingly they will only be included in performance tables until the reformed GCSE in each subject is first examined and counted.

Friday Update – 9 January 2015

To kick off this year’s Updates we highlight the Framework for Governance which has just been launched, revised guidance on the new School Food Standards and the outcome of the consultation on the 2014 School and Early Years Finance Regulations.  

NEW FRAMEWORK FOR GOVERNANCE LAUNCHED
Yesterday the National Governors’ Association and the Wellcome Trust launched the Framework for Governance which sets out how Governing boards can evaluate their own practice, using the updated All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Twenty Key Questions for a Governing board, to ask itself how to set the strategic direction for a school; and how to monitor progress against the strategy using high-level performance indicators that go much further than just exam results.

Some Governing bodies might want to look at this new Framework in terms of self evaluation.

GUIDANCE ON NEW SCHOOL FOOD STANDARDS
As reported in the last Friday Update of 2014 the new School Food Standards became mandatory from 5 January. The Department for Education has now updated its guidance on the requirements to provide food to registered pupils together with information on the School Food Plan, the provision of milk and the free fruit and vegetables scheme. Pages 6 and 7 are of particular interest as they explain Governing bodies responsibilities.

OUTCOME OF CONSULTATION ON THE SCHOOL AND EARLY YEARS FINANCE (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2014
The Department for Education consulted on the School and Early Years Finance (England) Regulations 2014 from 8 August to 17 October 2014. To a large degree, the 2014 Regulations re-enact provisions in the School and Early Years Finance (England) Regulations 2013 but the Department for Education consulted on some changes. These were in relation to:

  • schools forum composition;
  • preventing the use of the dedicated schools grant for 19 to 25 year olds in special schools and special academies;
  • the value of alternative provision places;
  • the early years pupil premium;
  • the determination of budgets for new maintained schools and those recently opened who are still adding year groups;
  • excluded early years providers.

The consultation response document has now been published which provides full details on the Government’s response.