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.

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.

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.

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.

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.