New web pages on school governance published – Friday 20 September 2019

This week I report on the launch of new DfE web pages on school governance, the impact of changes in the format of inspection reports and the uncertain future of the national computing SCITT.

New web pages on school governance published
On Tuesday the DfE launched three new GOV.UK pages, in response to feedback from governors, trustees, chairs and clerks. The pages are designed to help those working in school governance to more easily navigate its governance content online. There are two collections of guidance, one relevant to maintained school governance and the other relevant to academy trust governance.

The list of statutory policies for schools has also been updated to create a more accessible, web page for governors, trustees and school leaders. There were no new requirements or policies announced in the update.

Changes to the Ofsted inspection report
The format of the inspection report is changing considerably and as this was not included in last year’s consultation on the framework there has been little discussion by the sector. Over the summer, Sean Harford, Ofsted’s national director of education, wrote in a blog that reports “will be briefer, clearer, and better focused on the users of those being inspected”.

The NGA’s Chief Executive, having seen the new format, which is substantially different, is concerned that governing bodies have been overlooked. There will no longer be a separate section on each of the four judgements; that also means there will no longer be the paragraph on the effectiveness of governance.

The NGA has been in discussions with Ofsted to ensure that governing bodies get the information from the inspection that they need to oversee the education being provided at the school and that any relevant actions are taken. In practice this means that the final feedback meeting, to which all governors are invited, will become even more important in making sure that this happens.

Future of national computing SCITT now uncertain
Schools Week has today reported that plans for a national computing SCITT have crashed after the Government failed to attract any “suitable bids” to run it. The DfE was seeking organisations with “national reach” to run the computing school-centred initial teacher training programme. The SCITT was expected to develop a national network of eight hubs by the end of summer next year and suggested an annual recruitment target of 40.

The contract was due to begin today with recruitment set to start this autumn. But the DfE has confirmed its procurement process “didn’t result in any suitable bids” and that it was now “considering next steps”. It would not say how many bids were received.