Friday Update – 17 July 2015

This is my final update of this academic year. Since September I’ve highlighted amongst other things, the launch of the new national curriculum, a new SEND Code of Practice and Progress 8 School Performance Measures, not to mention a new Conservative government, guidance on the promotion of British Values, revised guidance on the constitution of Governing bodies and the introduction of the new term “coasting schools”, it has certainly been an eventful year.

This week I highlight a paper from the Department for Education (DfE) regarding possible changes to Governing body constitution arrangements, the updated National Governors Association’s (NGA) Skills Audit and Matrix, the production of illustrative regulations on coasting schools and the announcement of a Special Needs expert to head up a review into assessment of pupils with lower attainment.

Have a restful summer break and I look forward to seeing you all again in the Autumn term.

ADVISORY GROUP ON GOVERNANCE DISCUSSION ON CONSTITUTION ARRANGEMENTS
Following the Secretary of State’s speech at the NGA’s summer conference, a paper was released from the DfE last week to members of its Advisory Group on Governance (AGOG) regarding possible changes to Governing body constitution arrangements.

“We want to start a discussion about moving away from prescribed categories of governor to give governing boards more freedom to constitute a board as they see fit to best deliver their non-executive strategic leadership role. It is only after informal discussions that we will look to initiate a formal public consultation”.

A specific discussion will take place at the AGOG meeting on 22 September 2015 to discuss initial views on a number of questions including:

  • the role that central government plays in putting parents, staff, headteachers and local authority governors on a board
  • the role and interests of foundations
  • how diverse the governing board is and the importance of elections
  • the constraints of current constitutional requirements
  • the identification and prescription of required skills

UPDATE TO NGA’S SKILLS AUDIT AND MATRIX
Late last week the NGA released an updated version of its widely used skills audit and matrix for governing boards. The 2015 skills audit has been improved with the advice of the RSA (the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce) to include skills commonly found in the creative industries. The NGA has also updated its skills matrix which gives an overview of the strengths and weaknesses across a governing board.

EDUCATION AND ADOPTION BILL: COASTING SCHOOLS – ILLUSTRATIVE REGULATIONS
Illustrative regulations have been prepared by the DfE to accompany the passage of the Education and Adoption Bill through Parliament.

SPECIAL NEEDS EXPERT TO HEAD REVIEW INTO ASSESSMENT OF PUPILS WITH LOWER ATTAINMENT
Ms Diane Rochford, Executive Headteacher of the John F Kennedy School, a leading special needs school in East London, will oversee a new review into how to assess accurately pupils with lower attainment.

It is estimated that there are more than 50,000 pupils whose ability falls below the standard required to take national curriculum tests. The review will consider how best to assess the attainment and progress of this group of pupils so that parents know how their children are doing and schools can be given appropriate credit for the work they do to support their pupils. They will consult widely with heads and teachers to find a solution for a comprehensive statutory assessment for these pupils.  The review will publish a final report by December 2015.