Monthly Archives: December 2015

Friday Update – 18 December 2015

Merry Christmas to all Governors and a Happy New Year

In the final Update before Christmas I have highlighted new guidance from the NGA on the statutory framework for school governance, the DfE’s updated Myths and Facts document, a new consultation on staffing and employment advice for schools, the Government’s vision for apprenticeships to 2020 and the publication of a report in to PE and Sports Premium funding in primary schools.

NEW NATIONAL GOVERNORS’ ASSOCIATION (NGA) GUIDANCE ON STATUTORY FRAMEWORK FOR SCHOOL GOVERNANCE
This new guidance provides a practical overview of the legal framework in which governing bodies of maintained schools and academy trust boards must operate. A helpful read for new Governors and a good reminder for experienced Governors, it explores the legal requirements that school’s governance arrangements must comply with, including how the membership of the board is decided, how meetings will be held and how decisions will be made.

UPDATED DFE MYTHS AND FACTS DOCUMENT PUBLISHED
The DfE has published a revised version of its Myths and Facts document for schools.

CONSULTATION STAFFING AND EMPLOYMENT ADVICE FOR SCHOOLS
The Government is seeking views on plans to revise its guidance on managing staff employment in schools. The revised non-statutory advice ‘Staffing and Employment Advice for Schools’ has been prepared to replace the department’s statutory Guidance on Managing Staff Employment in Schools.

GOVERNMENT VISION FOR APPRENTICESHIPS TO 2020
The Department for Education (DfE) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) have outlined the Government’s vision for apprenticeships until 2020. This revolves around improving the quality of apprenticeship provision, raising the profile and financial benefit of apprenticeships with employers and helping young people get into apprenticeships and work. Although much of this document is aimed at employers, it is useful for governors to know how the government intend to reform apprenticeships and what impact this will have upon schools and 6th forms.

PUBLICATION OF REPORT INTO PE AND SPORTS PREMIUM FUNDING IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
The DfE has published its research into the PE and sport premium, its use and effect in primary schools.

Friday Update – 11 December 2015

This week I’m covering a range of subjects – an update to the statutory guidance on supporting pupils at school with medical conditions, publication of the 2015 phonics screening check and assessments at Key Stage 1 and 2, amendments to the Education and Adoption Bill to include academies and free schools, an initiative to improve better mental health provision in schools and new research into looked after children (LAC).

UPDATED STATUTORY GUIDANCE ON SUPPORTING PUPILS AT SCHOOL WITH MEDICAL CONDITIONS
The Government has updated the document including clarifying the distinction between statutory and non-statutory guidance and adding references to the SEND code of practice.

PUBLICATION OF THE 2015 PHONICS, KEY STAGE 1 AND KEY STAGE 2 ASSESSMENTS
This week saw the Department for Education publish provisional information on the 2015 phonics screening check and assessments at Key Stage 1 as well as updated information on the national curriculum assessments at Key Stage 2, including breakdowns by pupil characteristics.

EDUCATION AND ADOPTION BILL UPDATE REGARDING ‘COASTING SCHOOLS’
Earlier this week, the government confirmed that the Education and Adoption Bill, which is currently passing through the House of Lords, will be amended to include academies and free schools under the same “coasting legislation” as maintained schools.

INVESTING IN BETTER MENTAL HEALTH PROVISION IN SCHOOLS
Last week the Secretary of State for Education, announced plans to establish closer co-operation between schools and the NHS’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). The initiative, which will test a ‘named single point of contact’, will operate in 22 pilot areas across the country (including Sunderland) and involve 255 schools. It is intended to improve joint working and provide a more consistent service to children and young people.

NEW RESEARCH INTO LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN (LAC)
New research suggests children in long term foster families make better progress at school compared to those ‘in need’ i.e. those from troubled families who remain with their birth family. The research also found that:

  • each additional change of care placement after age 11 is associated with one third of a grade less at GCSE
  • young people in care who changed school in Years 10 or 11 scored over five grades less than those who did not
  • for every 5% of possible school sessions missed due to unauthorised school absences, young people in care scored over two grades less at GCSE
  • for every additional day of school missed due to fixed term exclusions, young people in care scored one sixth of a grade less at GCSE

Schools receive £1,900 of pupil premium funding for each looked after child (LAC). Do you know how many children at your school are LAC and what their attendance is like, have you asked what the impact of this funding is having on the progress of these children and if there are differences between these pupils and their peers, what is being done to support them?

Friday Update – 4 December 2015

This week I highlight consultation on mandatory DBS checks for all Governors, new advice to be published from DfE on handling complaints, the consultation on how to get at least 90% of pupils to take GCSEs in the EBaccalaureate subjects and a new version of Ofsted’s toolkit to help schools to encourage parents to use Parent View.

COMPULSORY DBS CHECKS FOR GOVERNORS
Whilst it is not currently mandatory for all governors to have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, the Government is currently consulting on all Governors in maintained schools having to be DBS checked. If the proposal goes ahead, checks will be compulsory for all new Governors from 1 April and for existing Governors from 1 September 2016.

In North Tyneside checks have been undertaken as a matter of good practice for a number of years so this shouldn’t present an issue. Schools maintain a Single Central Record for all staff, volunteers and governors and liaise with their Clerk to ensure Governors are DBS checked on appointment/re-appointment.

NEW GUIDANCE ON HANDLING COMPLAINTS
The DfE has indicated it will be publishing new advice on handling complaints “Best Practice Advice for School Complaints Procedures 2016: Departmental guidance for maintained schools, maintained nursery schools and local authorities” in January 2016. It will advise on the contents of a complaints procedure, contain a link to a model procedure and will recommend how to handle serial or persistent complaints, commonly called ‘vexatious complaints’.

In the New Year Governing bodies will no doubt want to review their existing policies against this new advice.

EBAC CONSULTATION
The Secretary of State for Education has set a target of 90% of all secondary school pupils to take the English Baccalaureate subjects (English, Maths, Science, a foreign language, and either History or Geography) in 4 years’ time. This isn’t planned to be done through legislation but by changing performance measures and giving the Ebac a more significant role in Ofsted inspection.

The consultation is running until 29 January 2016 if you would like to participate.

ENCOURAGING THE USE OF PARENT VIEW
Ofsted has issued an updated version of its Parent View Toolkit for Schools which provides information about Parent View and advice on how schools can encourage parents to use the site to register their views.