New SEND review guide for governors – Friday 29 June 2018

This week I report on the publication of a new SEND review guide for governors, a call for schools to publish clearer financial information on their websites and a pilot to boost east language skills and cut teacher workload.

SEND review guide for governors launched
A project part-funded by the DfE and Driver Youth Trust has published a SEND Governance Review Guide to help governors to understand not just what “should” be happening in their school, but also to appreciate the importance of how the governing body operates and what it prioritises. The guide is structured around the “six features of effective governance” and aims to ensure that governors are able to properly interrogate SEND support and planning.

Call for schools to publish clearer financial information online
Meg Hillier, the chair of the Government’s Public Accounts Committee has highlighted in her annual report that schools should have to publish more financial information about themselves on their websites to make it easier for parents to hold them to account.

She proposes that academy and LA maintained school websites should have to carry basic financial information, such as details of executive pay and a “basic budget” for what is spent on each area, alongside details of who is in charge, from governors right up to members who control academy trusts.

Pilot launched to boost early language skills and cut teacher workload
From September, 25 schools across the country are set to trial revised Early Learning Goals, the key measures teachers use to decide how prepared children are to begin Year 1 at the end of Reception year. The changes are aimed at reducing teachers’ workload to free up more time to support children’s early skills and produce engaging lessons.  This should also help to address the problem of children arriving at school struggling with language and social skills, helping to close the so-called ‘word gap’ – the gap between disadvantaged children’s communication and that of their peers when they start school.

The pilot builds on two schemes announced by the Education Secretary in April that aim to improve children’s early language and literacy skills at home before they start school and funding open for councils to fund projects that help disadvantaged children’s language and literacy.