Friday Update – 20 November 2015

This week I report on a new enquiry into governor effectiveness and a study to determine the quality of governance in schools, a proposal for an amendment to the Education and Adoption Bill to enable schools to sponsor a failing school without converting to academy status and new non statutory DfE advice for schools considering cloud software services.

OFSTED LAUNCHES ENQUIRY INTO GOVERNOR EFFECTIVENESS
Yesterday, Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector announced that Ofsted had drafted in “outside experts” to carry out “urgent” external reviews of governance in over 500 schools last year. Inspectors had now been commissioned to carry out an “in-depth and far-reaching survey into the effectiveness of governance in our schools”.

The National Governors’ Association has questioned the suitability of the inspectorate to undertake the review and last week Schools Week revealed that the Department for Education was planning a study to examine whether the quality of governance in schools could be monitored using performance metrics.

EDUCATION AND ADOPTION BILL PROVOKES DISCUSSION IN THE LORDS
The Education and Adoption Bill 2015 is currently being considered by a Grand Committee of the House of Lords. The Local Government Association (LGA) has lobbied for an amendment giving maintained schools or local authorities the option to sponsor a failing school, as there are a lack of academy sponsors available to take on new schools. Currently, schools have to convert to academy status and apply to become a sponsor before they can sponsor another school.

This issue has been raised by the National Governors Association and others throughout discussion of the Bill and as part of the inquiry into the role of regional schools commissioners. The government has stated it anticipates more high performing schools establishing local multi-academy trusts (MATs) to take on failing or struggling schools in their area.

DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION ADVICE ON DATA PROTECTION FOR SCHOOLS CONSIDERING CLOUD SOFTWARE SERVICES
New non statutory advice has been produced by the DfE to assist schools in complying with the law outlining how schools need to consider data security when moving services and sensitive information to internet-based facilities of cloud computing (‘the cloud’).