Monthly Archives: April 2015

Friday Update – 24 April 2015

Welcome back after Easter I hope you all had a lovely break.  With Parliament dissolved and the election soon upon us, I thought this week it would be interesting to take a look at the Parties main education pledges and to highlight a free Schools North East session to analyse the election outcome and the implications for North East schools.

Conservative Party
• Protect school funding per pupil
• Create at least a further 500 free schools in England by 2020
• Zero tolerance for failure – immediate support to turn around failing or coasting schools
• 30 hours free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds

Labour Party
• Protect education budget for 0 to 19 year olds so it rises in line with inflation
• Cut university tuition fees to £6,000 a year
• Ensure all primary schools guarantee access to childcare from 8am to 6pm
• Cap class sizes at 30 for 5, 6 and 7 year olds

Liberal Democrats Party
• Guarantee qualified teachers, a core curriculum and sex education in all state schools
• Ring fence the education budget for 2 to 19 year olds
• A strategy to end child illiteracy by 2025
• 15hrs a week free childcare from the end of paid parental leave

• Scrap sex education for primary school children
• Allow secondary schools to become grammar schools
• Scrap fees for students taking degrees in science, technology, maths or engineering on condition they pay UK tax and work in the discipline for five years upon completing studying
• Abolish Key Stage 1 SAT tests at primary school level

Green Party
• Scrap university tuition fees
• Bring academies and free schools into the local authority system
• Ensure all teachers are qualified and end performance-related pay
• Scrap Ofsted and SATS

Once the votes have been counted and a Government (hopefully!) has taken office, what can we really expect to happen? whose policies will count? what will they look like in practice? what will the results mean for Ofsted, oversight, exams, academies and free schools, teachers, funding and the curriculum? how will pledges in other policy areas impact on schools and the North East region? and ultimately, what changes are schools going to be expected to implement?

Schools North East is offering a free session in central Newcastle on Friday 15 May from 8.30 to 11.00 a.m. to analyse the election outcome and the implications for North East schools. They will be joined by Laura McInerney, Editor of Schools Week, along with guests from the Parties and beyond.

To secure your place at this event, please email or call 0191 204 8866.

Friday Update (on a Thursday!) – 2 April 2015

Whilst today is the last day of the Spring term I still wanted you to benefit from my weekly update.  This week I am focusing solely on the School Governance Amendment Regulations and publication of revised Statutory guidance on the Constitution of governing bodies. There is much to consider going forward and we will need to discuss the implications of the Amendment Regulations and Statutory Guidance during the summer term.

Following its targeted consultation, the Department for Education has now put in place new regulations which bring the arrangements for new governing bodies and shadow governing bodies into line with the 2012 constitution arrangements.  The amendment regulations come into force on 1 September 2015 and allow governing bodies to:

  • use Associate members (i.e. individuals on the governing body who are not actually governors) on panels set up to deal with staffing matters (e.g. Grievance or Disciplinary Hearings);
  • decide whether individual governors of a particular category could hold a term of office of less than four years, as determined by the appointing body at the time of appointment.

The Statutory Guidance indicates governing bodies should publish on their website information about their members. The information should as a minimum include for each governor:

  • their name;
  • their category of governor;
  • which body appoints them;
  • their term of office;
  • the names of any committees the governor serves on; and
  • details of any positions of responsibility such as chair or vice-chair of the governing body or a committee of the governing body.

Governing bodies should also publish this information for associate members, making clear whether they have voting rights on any of the committees they serve on.

From 1 September 2015, governing bodies must publish on their website their Register of Interests, as is already the case for Academies. The register should set out the relevant business interests of governors and details of any other educational establishments they govern. The register should also set out any relationships between governors and members of the school staff including spouses, partners and relatives.

Finally, governing bodies should make it clear in their Code of Conduct that this information will be published on their governors and, where applicable, their associate members. Any governor failing to reveal information to enable the governing body to fulfil their responsibilities may be in breach of the code of conduct and as a result be bringing the governing body into disrepute. In such cases the governing body should consider suspending the governor.