National Governance Association (NGA) National News 2018

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 16/11/2018

Become a pathfinder for the Framework for Ethical Leadership in Education!

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For the past year Emma Knights, NGA’s Chief Executive has been involved in an Ethical Leadership Commission, with a number of other commission members. The report published at the ASCL Annual Conference in 2018 set up a draft framework and the final report will launch on the 25 January 2019. The commission is working on a number of ways to support ethical leadership into schools, including setting up an ethical forum, and integrating the framework into Initial Teacher Training and existing school leadership.

NGA has been working to create resources to help school leaders and governors/trustees evaluate the ethical leadership in their schools. Whilst the resources are yet to be finalised, we hope that they will offer a range of options for school leaders and governors/trustees to work together to improve their schools. We hope that you will join us in this new venture by becoming pathfinders to test out our resources and engage in ethical leadership.

Great reasons to be a pathfinder:

  • continuing professional development for school leaders and governing boards
  • access to pathfinder resources and support
  • networking with similar-thinking schools
  • lead the way as an exemplar of ethical leadership and inspire other schools with good practice
  • engage in the ethical leadership debate

Pathfinders will be required to:

  • be interested in improving their governance and have an interest in ethical leadership
  • commit to complete one of the ‘paths’ to explore ethical leadership (this could be an ethical audit, discussion of case studies provided in resource pack, review of school values and ethos in light of the framework, or running your own case studies provided by the governing board/trust through the ethical framework)
  • commit to two future events (one in July 2019 and one in January 2020) or give written feedback on the programme

To submit your interest, or find out more information please email Carys Ward at Carys.Ward@nga.org.uk, or you can read more information here.

If you do so before the 4 January 2019 then you will be invited to join the Ethical Commission Launch event in London on the 25 January 2019. You are more than welcome to register anytime throughout the year, but will be expected to complete some of the ethical resources before January 2020 in order to report your feedback.


NGA’s annual report of achievements

Growing-School-Governance.pngWe are delighted to present our annual report of achievements, showcasing the ways NGA has worked to grow governance in 2018. Over 62,000 individuals now have access to our membership services and over 38% of school governing boards in England are NGA members. The report also reveals some of the results of our annual membership survey 2018 including that 88% of members agreed that membership has a positive impact on the effectiveness of their governing board. We work with over one hundred valued partners to support our work nationally.

Reviewing the achievements of our education policy and governance practice work this year, the report draws together highlights from our guidance, campaigns and research including:

  • Being strategic: a guide for governing boards on producing a robust annual cycle for creating, monitoring and reviewing strategy, viewed over 10,000 times
  • Spotlight on Disadvantage: research exploring the governing board’s role in spending, monitoring and evaluating the pupil premium, including recommendations to improve effectiveness
  • Everyone on board: a campaign to increase the participation of people from ethnic minorities and younger people in school governance
  • Multi academy trust case studies: three in-depth case studies focusing on the stories of lessons trustees and executive leaders have learned from any obstacles faced and how they have adapted over time in response to challenges and changing circumstances

Over 8,000 schools now subscribe to NGA Learning Link, our online eLearning offer, and we are pleased to report that in a recent survey of users, 82% of respondents rated the quality of our Learning Link modules as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Through our professional development team, we also deliver Leading Governance development programmes to chairs, clerks and boards, with over 600 participants currently undertaking a programme.

Members are encouraged to read the report to understand our aims and the full range of benefits and services we provide to support governing boards as well as to push for change at a national level to help governance become more consistently effective.


Insight into careers advice in schools

A new report from the Careers and Enterprise Company suggests that progress is being made on improving the quality of careers advice and guidance in schools.

The report uses over 3,000 schools’ self-assessments of their performance against eight Gatsby Benchmarks, designed to measure the quality of careers advice and guidance. These are:

  • having a stable careers programme - fully achieved by 6% and partially achieved by 92%
  • learning from career and labour market information - fully achieved by 32% and partially achieved by 41%
  • addressing the needs of each pupil - fully achieved by 13% and partially achieved by 86%
  • linking curriculum learning to careers - fully achieved by 26% and partially achieved by 43%
  • encounters with employers and employees - achieved by 38%
  • experiences of workplaces - fully achieved by 37% and partially achieved by 26%
  • encounters with further and higher education - fully achieved by 13% and partially achieved by 73%
  • personal guidance - fully achieved by 49% and partially achieved by 18%

Almost two-thirds of secondary schools have used the Compass self-assessment tool and those who had submitted data more than once were making “steady progress”, with an “average improvement of 0.79 benchmarks”.

This report focused on secondary schools. However, NGA’s annual school governance survey 2018 found that almost half of primary schools offer no form of careers education. This is despite evidence to suggest that talking about future options with pupils of primary age can potentially impact upon their future education and career choices. Furthermore, only 51% of schools reported that their careers programme had the explicit backing of the governing board. NGA has been working with the Careers and Enterprise Company to developing guidance on this topic for those governing and this will be available shortly. Read more about the need for governors and trustees to take an active interest in careers education here.


Updated guidance on mental health and behaviour in schools

Department for Education (DfE) guidance on mental health and behaviour in schools has been updated with information on how to identify behaviours that may be related to a mental health problem. Also covered are the questions of working with other professionals and external agencies, along with where to find extra support.

Most schools will have pupils who need mental health support and this advice aims to help schools support pupils whose mental health problems have behavioural consequences. It therefore relates to roles and responsibilities surrounding behaviour in particular. Curriculum design is also addressed within the wider issue of creating a ‘whole school approach’ that promotes positive mental wellbeing.

This non-statutory guidance applies to all schools and is aimed at governing boards as well as school staff working to support children, including teachers, SEND coordinators and designated safeguarding leads. Governing boards in colleges and other post-16 institutions may also find the intervention and support element of this guidance useful.

The advice should be read alongside the non-statutory behaviour and discipline in schools guidance, which also reflects recent developments in other related policy areas, including alternative provision, exclusions and safeguarding.


Communication in MATs

As Trustees’ Week comes to an end, NGA’s Director of Policy and Information, Sam Henson, has written in Schools Week on how to develop good communication between MAT trustees and local academy committees.

Communication between the layers of governance in MATs has been identified as a major challenge in our Lessons Learned case studies and by the Community MATs network, which will be discussing the topic at its meeting this afternoon (16 November).

The article gives three suggestions to improve communication: making the most of online communication tools, enabling an exchange of ideas, and local influence by creating MAT-wide forums, and celebrating trust success together.

To read the article in full, click here. For more information and guidance on governing in multi-academy trusts, please click here.


MPs challenge government on school funding

The Labour Party used an Opposition Day debate on Tuesday (13 November) to challenge the government on school funding. The debate also saw several Conservative MPs highlight the funding pressures affecting schools in their constituencies.

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for education, Layla Moran, is a governor at a primary school in Oxford and spoke about the difficult staffing decisions her governing board had made to cope with financial constraints. Several MPs raised particular concern about high needs funding for pupils with special educational needs, often following being approached by constituents concerned about the support available for their child.

In Education Questions on Monday (12 November), ministers acknowledged that post-16 funding is a particular area of pressure and said that this would be kept in mind ahead of the comprehensive spending review next year. In response to concerns about maintained nursery school funding, ministers urged governors and local authorities not to make any hasty decisions about their future ahead of the spending review.

Many MPs from all political parties spoke about their visits to schools in their constituency. For governing boards who want to make their voices heard regarding school funding could invite their MP to school to see the effects of funding pressures for themselves. For more information, visit NGA’s Funding the Future campaign page.


1 in 6 children bullied every year, says government report

The Department for Education (DfE) has released its analysis of bullying in England based on data from the latest Crime Survey. Overall, the report found that 17% of young people reported bullying between April 2017 and March 2018, with the majority of bullying instances taking place at school.

Bullying was more frequently reported among younger children, with 8% of 15 year old children reporting bullying compared to 22% of 10 year olds in 2017/18. Rates of bullying have also been found to be different dependent upon ethnicity, SEND and deprivation. For example, white respondents were significantly more likely to report bullying compared to ethnic minority children. Children who receive extra help at school were 7% more likely to report bullying than those who did not, while children living in the most deprived areas were more likely to report bullying than those living in the least deprived areas.

There was also a strong gender difference when it comes to certain types of bullying. Girls were more likely to report being bullied than boys (in 2017 21% of females reported being bullied compared to 14% of males). Girls were also nearly twice as likely to state that they had experienced cyber bullying in the past year than boys: 9% compared to 5%.

Governing boards are reminded of their school’s duties to tackle bullying and to have an effective programme to stop it happening. The DfE has published a case study detailing a “whole-school” approach to tackling bullying. For more information, see NGA’s guidance on bullying.


Details of year 4 multiplication tables check

This week, the Department for Education (DfE) has released further information concerning a new online times tables assessment for year 4 pupils.

The assessment, which will be compulsory from 2020, will check whether pupils are able to “recall the multiplication tables up to and including 12 × 12”. The aim is to “help schools to identify pupils who have not yet mastered their times tables, so that additional support can be provided”. While under no obligation to do so, schools can volunteer to take part in a pilot of this assessment between 10 and 29 June 2019.

While the planning for, and administration of, these tests falls outside of the remit of governors and trustees, governing boards should gain assurances from executive leaders that plans are in place for year 4 pupils to take these assessments in June 2020. Whilst being mindful of putting undue pressure on teachers and leaders, those governing may also want receive the results of these checks as part of their ongoing monitoring of student outcomes.


Measures to support early years education

The Department for Education (DfE) has launched a multi-million project, which aims to provide extra support for the development of early years child development, specifically for children from disadvantaged families.

The project has been allocated £18 million, which will be used to provide additional training for health visitors who work with families of young children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The fund is also intended for other services such as educational games, apps and a text message tips service for parents/carers from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The DfE has announced that it will also be allocating £20 million towards training programmes for early years staff in disadvantaged areas in order to enable them to support children’s’ early language, literacy, and numeracy skills.

The DfE’s announcement comes in the same week that the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has called on the government to draw up a national strategy for early intervention approaches to address childhood adversity.

While the DfE’s announcement addresses the committee’s priority for workforce training, it is not clear how the funding will be distributed or how it fits into a wider strategy. There is no detail on how the effectiveness of the measures will be evaluated. Like many governing boards, NGA recognises that early education is imperative to the development of children and supports high quality early education. NGA is of the view that more funding should be provided through the core early years budget to ensure that early education provisions are sustainable and high quality.


AGM papers and minutes available through the NGA website

Ahead of tomorrow’s annual general meeting (AGM) of the NGA, which will be held at the ICC in Birmingham from 15.30, members are reminded that they can find the notice, full audited accounts (only copies of the financial statement and balance sheet will be in packs on the day) and minutes of the 2017 AGM here.

All NGA members are welcome and encouraged to attend the AGM even if they are not registered to attend the annual conference which is taking place earlier in the day.


Update to Learning Link Safeguarding: The Governor's Role module

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The learning module ‘Safeguarding: The Governor's Role’ has now been updated to include the recent changes to safeguarding regulations. All Learning Link users should find the updated module in their 'Active Learning' - if you have completed the module previously, you will have to do so again in order to receive an updated certificate to cover the new regulations.

If your school has does not yet have access to this valuable resource, you can find out more about the service or purchase a subscription here.

If your school already purchases a Learning Link subscription, you can login to your account by visiting https://nga.vc-enable.co.uk/Login/Login or register for an account by visiting https://nga.vc-enable.co.uk/Register and completing the form.

You can also watch our new promotional video to help you get started.

If you are unsure whether your school has access to Learning Link, or would like any further information, please contact the team at learninglink@nga.org.uk.


NGA special schools’ advisory group

NGA’s special schools’ advisory group will be meeting on Wednesday 28 November 2018 at 1pm at the NGA offices in Birmingham.

The group provides those governing with an opportunity to discuss issues relating to special educational needs and disabilities in schools and informs NGA’s work in relation to special schools. It also gives governors and trustees the chance to exchange information and practice working well in their schools.

If you would like to attend, please contact Rani Kaur (rani.kaur@nga.org.uk) by Thursday 22 November 2018.


Chairs with GOLD membership: request your Chair’s Handbook

One of the benefits of GOLD membership with NGA is that the chair of the governing board receives one complimentary copy of The Chair’s Handbook. If you are the chair of your board and wish to claim your copy of the 7th edition of The Chair’s Handbook please visit our website and complete the Chair’s Handbook request form.

Please complete your request form no later than December 17 2018. A copy of The Chair’s Handbook will then be posted to you.  


Clerks’ Advisory Group Meetings

The Clerks’ Advisory Group Meetings for December are now open for bookings. These will take place in:

These meetings give clerks an opportunity to share good practice and highlight issues they have encountered in their role of clerk as well as helping to inform NGA’s Clerking Matters campaign. Click here to book your place.

Save the date: we will be hosting our next clerks’ conference in central Birmingham on Wednesday 20 February 2019. Booking will open shortly.


Join us at the Schools & Academies Show

NGA is proud to be a partner of the Schools & Academies Show, which will take place next week, Wednesday 21 November 2018 at the NEC, Birmingham with over 4,000 already registered for the free to attend event.

The show is the UK's leading education policy and pupil outcome event for governors, trustees and school leadership professionals. You will be able to hear directly from the Department for Education, Education & Skills Funding Agency, NGA, the National Schools Commissioner and the Secretary of State for the School System on the Government’s ‘Social Mobility Action Plan’, improving school standards and pupil outcomes and the changing role of governing boards in determining a school’s strategy.

Governors and trustees can register for free and gain access to CPD-certified seminar content and best-practice workshops. As well as hosting a dedicated hub space at the event, the NGA team will be taking part in sessions including:

How should we be funding our schools?

  • Emma Knights OBE, Chief Executive, National Governance Association

Spotlight on Disadvantage: Making the Most of the Pupil Premium

  • Tom Fellows, Senior Research Lead, National Governance Association

Whose strategy is it anyway? How vision, ethos and strategy can determine your trust‘s culture

  • Clare Collins MBE, Head of Consultancy, National Governance Association
  • Paul Aber, Head of Training Development, National Governance Association

Register for your free pass here or call 0161 211 3450 to beat the queues and join us on stand J62 on the day.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 09/11/2018

Tackling teacher workload recommendations

To address the sector-wide issue of teacher workload, the Department for Education’s (DfE’s) Workload Advisory Group published its report this week which includes recommendations for governing boards. If you download the report, ensure you have the version dated November 2018 as initially an earlier draft dated October 2018 was uploaded in error by the DfE.

The publication of the report was accompanied by a letter to all school leaders from the Secretary of State for Education accepting all of the report’s recommendations and committing to take action. NGA was pleased to be a signatory to this letter, which sets out encouragement and support for school leaders in adopting the recommendations in their own context.

The report’s recommendations concerning governing boards, all of which the DfE have accepted, are: 

  • The DfE should revise the Governance Handbook, competency framework and other guidance to reflect the principles of this report and speak to governors and trustees to test what guidance and training they need
  • The DfE should also incorporate myth busting for governing boards into the teacher workload toolkit or other guidance, to address misconceptions of what is required by the DfE or Ofsted and where policy has changed
  • The DfE should also continue to improve the content and usability of Analyse School Performance based on feedback from school leaders and governing boards, and place emphasis on supporting governor needs. The DfE should ensure schools are able to access comparative performance information as soon as possible

The report says governing boards “should normally be prepared to receive information in whatever form it is currently being used in the school. They should agree with school and trust leaders what high-quality data they need, and when, in order to fulfil their role effectively and to avoid making unreasonable, ad hoc data requests during the course of the school year. This includes consideration of any in-year data they receive, how meaningful this is and whether this can be reduced”.

Read our news story for NGA’s response to the report and to see what governors and trustees told us about teacher workload in our School Governance in 2018 survey.


School improvement support details published

The Department for Education (DfE) has published details of support that will be available to schools which are identified as ‘coasting’ or below the floor standards through their performance data but have not been judged ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted. Eligible schools will receive up to three days of free advice from National Leaders of Education.

 This follows the Secretary of State’s announcement earlier this year which shifted emphasis from intervention to support and clarified that only ‘inadequate’ schools would be forced to convert to academy status.

For more information and reaction to this announcement, see the NGA news page.


Teachers Working Longer Review published

On Monday, the Department for Education (DfE) published the final report of its Teachers Working Longer Review. The report was produced by the Teachers Working Longer Review Steering Group, which was made up of the Department for Education, Welsh Government, teacher trade unions and employer representatives, including NGA.

Those governing will be interested to see that the report specifically identified the importance of school policies in shaping internal employment practices. The importance of flexible working was emphasized and the report advocated that schools and trusts should explore giving teachers the option to step down to roles of lesser responsibility or part-time hours if they wish to do so, especially because workload was cited as a key factor in dissuading teachers from working longer.

The report recommended ensuring that the school/trust has effective sickness absence and management practices and a good quality occupational health service. This can help to both avoid and deal with illness and injuries. High supply staff costs can signal to governing boards that they may want to ask questions about staff absence rates within their school. Further NGA guidance on staffing is available here.


Funding the Future: campaigns continue following budget

Following last week’s budget, which saw the Chancellor announce £400 million additional capital funding for schools to pay for the so-called “little extras” (see NGA’s response here), three teaching unions are simultaneously consulting members on what steps to take next.

The National Education Union (NEU), National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) will be using the views of teachers and school leaders to inform the action they take in the run up to next year’s comprehensive spending review.

The House of Commons Education Select Committee’s inquiry into school and college funding continued this week, with evidence given by the three unions mentioned above as well as a union representing school support staff, UNISON, and prominent headteachers. The session focused on the pressures schools are experiencing, the estimated shortfall in funding and specialised areas of funding such as the pupil premium.

NGA submitted written evidence to the inquiry earlier this year and has written to the Select Committee to express disappointment about the lack of governing board representation during evidence sessions so far.

The issue of school funding also featured prominently in the first episode of a new BBC documentary, ‘School’, which looks at the difficult decisions being made by the governing board and school leaders of a small multi-academy trust in Gloucestershire.

NGA is also working with teaching unions and other organisations to campaign for increased investment in education in the run-up to the comprehensive spending review. NGA would welcome views from governors and trustees about the next steps for our campaign; contact fay.holland@nga.org.uk.


Academy sector annual report 2016/17

The Department for Education (DfE) has published the academy sector annual reports and accounts for 2016/17.

The accounts show that 125 trusts were paying at least one member of staff more than £150,000, which is 4% of academy trusts in the sector. The DfE has since taken steps to ensure that robust pay policies and procedures are in place and future accounts will reveal whether this has had any impact.

The accounts also show details of the numbers of academy trusts in cumulative deficit at the end of August 2017, which was 185, as well as the number and value of related party transactions conducted in that year: 2,399 totalling £134 million. The DfE has announced new rules which come into force from April 2019, requiring trusts to declare all related party transactions and to seek approval for all those over £20,000.

The report covers educational performance, giving figures for pupil attainment in different types of school. However, as the DfE acknowledge, it is not straightforward to make comparisons as sponsored academies are typically previously underperforming schools while converter academies are typically previously high performing schools. As such, at key stage 2 pupils in maintained schools and converter academies made progress slightly above the national average while those in sponsored academies made less progress, apart form in writing. At key stage 4, converter academies had the highest average Progress 8 scores, followed by maintained schools and then sponsored academies.

The DfE has also published more information about headteacher boards, which advise regional schools commissioners about their decisions. NGA welcomes this effort at transparency but still has concerns about the governance expertise on the boards and the consistency between different regions.

For a wide range of guidance on governing a single or multi academy trust, visit the Guidance Centre.


Update to Learning Link Safeguarding: The Governor's Role module

NGA Learning Link

The learning module Safeguarding: The Governor's Role has now been updated to include the recent changes to safeguarding regulations. All Learning Link users should find the updated module in their 'Active Learning' - if you have completed the module previously, you will have to do so again in order to receive an updated certificate to cover the new regulations.

If your school has does not yet have access to this valuable resource, you can find out more about the service or purchase a subscription here.

If your school already purchases a Learning Link subscription, you can login to your account by visiting https://nga.vc-enable.co.uk/Login/Login or register for an account by visiting https://nga.vc-enable.co.uk/Register and completing the form.

You can also watch our new promotional video to help you get started.

If you are unsure whether your school has access to Learning Link, or would like any further information, please contact the team at learninglink@nga.org.uk.


Guardian feature on academy trusts losing pupils in year 11

A number of academy trusts and local education authorities are facing criticism over pupils disappearing from classrooms in increasing numbers in the year before their GCSEs. Ofsted is among those voicing concern and has begun its own research. Alongside this, the Guardian has published its own findings based on official pupil figures from the Department for Education.

This data points to a higher rate of pupils disappearing form rolls in the academies sector, with up to two pupils dropping out of every class of 30. In one case, the respective net loss of pupils was over three times the national average of 2%, while the national figure itself is also up from less than 0.1% seven years ago.

Although it is difficult to attribute falling rolls to any one factor, there is growing concern that some schools may be attempting to boost their reputations by ‘off-rolling’ students who could perform badly in exams.

Governing boards have a vital role in ensuring that schools are operating in an ethical manner and putting the interests of pupils first. Receiving data on pupil numbers in each cohort and anonymised summaries of reasons for pupils leaving the school can help to identify whether questions need to be asked.


Low cost tutoring boosts maths attainment

This week, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has released the results of research which found that “low-cost tutoring can boost struggling pupils’ maths results” by three or more months.

The study focused on 105 primary schools with a high proportion of disadvantaged pupils. Year six pupils who needed additional support with maths were given one hour of dedicated small-group tuition for 20 weeks, delivered by university students and recent graduates who were given structured training by the Tutor Trust “to help them plan tuition sessions, manage behaviour and assess pupils’ grades”. The researchers found that students who received the tuition made three or more month’s progress in maths compared to those that did not.

The above study focuses on just one of the interventions found in the EEF toolkit, a free resource for schools on the effectiveness of initiatives to raise the attainment of pupils.

When overseeing pupil premium spending in their school(s), those governing should consider ways to overcome the particular barriers to educational attainment facing eligible children – including pastoral, social, emotional, health and educational barriers. NGA recommends use of the EEF toolkit as a starting point to identify potentially effective uses for pupil premium funding.  

For more information on the governing board’s role in spending, monitoring and evaluating the pupil premium, read NGA’s Spotlight on Disadvantage research report.


Children most at risk of stabbing after school, study finds

The frequency of children suffering knife injuries ‘spikes’ in the hours between 4pm and 6pm, immediately after school, according to research on 1824 instances of knife injuries in London.

The study found links between knife crime and both deprivation and gender and indicated that, for children, timing is an important factor. School age children are more likely to be the victim of knife crime on a school day than adults.

The researchers also noted the potential value of treating knife crime as a public health issue, as has been done in Glasgow, suggesting that “it is clear that a multifaceted approach with sustained investment from government and the community is required for effective violence reduction”.

While this research highlights incidents outside school, there are measures governing boards and school leaders could consider to increase pupils’ safety such as offering after school activities, working with community groups and talking to pupils about risks they might encounter. NGA guidance on pupil wellbeing can be found here.


Inquiry into sustainability of childcare sector

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has launched an inquiry into Childcare and Early Education. The inquiry will focus on the sustainability of the childcare sector. The inquiry will commence on Wednesday 14 November 2018 and will be held across two sessions.  

The launch of the inquiry comes after reports of increasing numbers of nursery closures and growing concern in relation to the financial future of the childcare and early years sector. A variety of educational experts and stakeholders will be consulted, including parents, childcare providers, sector representatives and experts.

In light of the recent budget, which failed to address the early years funding crisis, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, stated that "at a time when so many pre-schools, nurseries and childminders have voiced serious concerns about their long-term viability, this was a missed opportunity to safeguard the future of those providing such a vital service to childcare and families across the country".

Governing boards with nursery provision in their schools may wish to contribute to the inquiry, while others may be conscious of the impact of pressures in their area on families and on children’s pre-school learning.


The Schools & Academies Show, Birmingham

NGA is delighted to be a partner of the Schools & Academies Show, which will take place on Wednesday 21 November 2018 at the NEC, Birmingham.

The Schools & Academies Show is one of the largest education events in the UK, delivering senior government speakers and association leaders from across the sector and providing free CPD-certified seminar content for those at the forefront of education, twice yearly.

Governors and trustees can register for free and gain access to CPD-certified seminar content and best-practice workshops. As well as hosting a dedicated hub space at the event, the NGA team will be taking part in sessions including:

How should we be funding our schools?

  • Emma Knights OBE, Chief Executive, National Governance Association
  • Dame Rachel de Souza, Chief Executive, Inspiration Trust

Spotlight on Disadvantage: Making the Most of the Pupil Premium

  • Tom Fellows, Senior Research Lead, National Governance Association
  • Matthew Clements-Wheeler, Deputy Head (Business Management), Bordesley Green Girls’ School

Whose strategy is it anyway? How vision, ethos and strategy can determine your trust‘s culture

  • Clare Collins MBE, Head of Consultancy, National Governance Association
  • Paul Aber, Head of Training Development, National Governance Association

Join other school leaders and register for your free pass here or call 0161 211 3450. The pass includes access to all the content at the show, the exhibition, a free lunch and free parking. 


Say thank you to an outstanding Clerk in our awards – closing soon

Does your clerk demonstrate exceptional practice and have a significant impact on the work of your governing board? If so, you can nominate them for an Outstanding Governance Award 2019 to say thank you for their support.

For over a decade, the Outstanding Governance Awards have recognised the importance of a professional clerk to the effectiveness of the governing board. The nominated clerk should display the characteristics of an outstanding clerk, which include being an efficient administrator, having a good understanding of effective governance practice and using this to support and advise the governing board, and developing a professional relationship with the governing board.

To nominate a Clerk, governing boards should complete the application form on our website; provide three agendas and sets of minutes written by the Clerk; and supply a supporting statement from a third party such as an executive leader. Clerks can also self-nominate for the award.

Our winner for this category in 2017 was Angie Marchant, Clerk to Colham Manor Primary School, who said “I am both delighted and honoured to receive this award in recognition for my work and want to thank the governors for valuing and supporting me in my role. I am very proud of our team of governors who have come so far and are dedicated to assisting the school to ensure that the children have the best possible educational experience.”

The deadline for nominations is 23.59 on 3 December 2018.


Take the Arts Council’s survey on creativity in schools

The Durham Commission on Creativity and Education is a partnership between Arts Council England and Durham University that aims to identify ways in which creativity, and specifically creative thinking, can play a larger part in the lives of young people from birth to the age of 25, both within and beyond the current education system. More details are available here.

The Durham Commission are seeking the views of governors, trustees, head teachers and school leaders across England on the role of creativity and creative thinking in schools and how this is applied in learning. This research will provide important evidence to help influence policy, inform the Arts Council’s next ten-year strategy, and contribute towards the Arts Council’s work with children and young people, including the 25 Year Creative Talent Plan.

Click here to share your views on creativity. The survey closes on Tuesday 13 November.

Governing boards should ensure that children and young people experience creative and expressive arts as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. NGA and the Arts Council have collaborated to create a Learning Link module on the role of the governing board in supporting creative arts in their school - look out for the launch of the new module.


Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

“The combination of mentor support, learning material, 360° appraisal, networking opportunities and structured thinking time allowed for periods of reflection that enabled me to modify my leadership style and put learning into practice.”

“The face-to-face sessions were particularly informative and I appreciated the opportunities to network with other clerks.”

Development for Clerks

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking.

Cost: Only £75 to pay if you receive funding from the DFE. Check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

Registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Wigan

29 October

25 January

Plymouth

29 October

29 January

Wolverhampton

5 November

4 February

Ealing and Hounslow

12 November

7 February

Croydon

12 November

8 February

Stoke and Cheshire East

12 November

13 February

 

Available to book:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Norfolk

31 December

9 January

4 April

Cambridgeshire

31 December

14 January

4 April

Shropshire

31 December

14 January

10 April

Lincolnshire

1 January

15 January

3 April

Newham

14 January

28 January

4 May

 

Development for Chairs

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance.

Cost: Funding is available up to the value of £500.

Check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

Registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Wolverhampton

5 November

11 December

Nottinghamshire

12 November

11 January

Croydon

12 November

12 January

 

Available to book for this term:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Coventry

12 November

26 November

12 January

Bedford

26 November

10 December

16 January

Penzance

26 November

10 December

10 January

North Devon (Woolacombe)

26 November

10 December

11 January

Torbay

26 November

10 December

12 January

South Devon (Okehampton)

26 November

10 December

14 January

Plymouth

26 November

10 December

15 January

Newquay

26 November

10 December

19 January

Rochdale

26 November

10 December

22 January

 

Additional cohorts are available on the NGA website.

DON’T MISS OUT!

Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis.

Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 3780


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 02/11/2018

New publication: The Chair’s Handbook 7th edition

CHB-7-front-cover.png

Now in its seventh edition, the Chair’s Handbook is a valuable resource for current and new chairs alike. This guide draws on practice from across a range of sectors and applies to governing boards of all schools and trusts, from the smallest to the biggest. Sections with significant updates in this new edition include those on ethical leadership, organisational culture, building the relationship with the senior executive and the chair’s role with Ofsted. The handbook also includes tips for making the role of chair manageable, such as working well with the vice chair and the possibility of having co-chairs.

Contents of The Chair’s Handbook include:

  • leading governance in schools
  • becoming the chair and managing your time
  • leading and developing the team
  • the chair and the headteacher
  • leading school improvement
  • leading governing board business

NGA GOLD members will receive their complimentary copy of The Chair’s Handbook in the post. It is available to other NGA members for £6 per copy and on general sale at £12 per copy.

 


Governing Matters: November/December edition

A new edition of Governing Matters, NGA’s bi-monthly magazine, is out this week.

GM-Nov-Dec-2018-(1).PNGCover stories include:

  • School accountability – Ripe for ­­­­reform 

Ian Hartwright, senior policy adviser at NAHT argues the current system is overdue for review.

  • NGA policy news – Where do we go from here?

Gillian Allcroft, NGA’s deputy chief executive, introduces NGA’s Strategy for Effective Governance.

  • Research Matters – Cultural Capital

Tom Fellows, NGA’s senior research officer, explains the role culture plays in creating a high-performing school.

  • In good repair – School buildings

Rory Kennedy, director for capital at the DfE introduces the new guidance on managing school buildings.

  • NGA/TES Survey – School funding

Fay Holland, NGA’s senior policy officer, sums up Governors’ and trustees’ views from the NGA/TES survey.

  • A vision for 2022 – Fair shares for all

Sam Butters, CEO of the Fair Education alliance introduces their work and sets out a vision for education system that enables every child to fulfil their potential.

 

The magazine is available as a pdf for STANDARD governing board members who do not get a printed copy. Alternatively, if the membership is upgraded to GOLD, all members of the board will be posted a copy to their home address. Please make sure we have your home addresses: email membership@nga.org.uk


NGA response to Budget 2018

On Monday 29 October, the Chancellor presented the autumn budget to parliament, which included a number of measures relevant to schools:

  • A one-off in-year £400 million capital payment for facilities and equipment; on average, this equates to £10,000 per primary schools and £50,000 per secondary school (though the methodology for distributing the money has not been detailed)
  • £1.7 million for education programmes to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
  • Funding for a £10 million regional trial of strategies to improve retention of early career maths and physics teachers
  • Reduction in the cost contribution of smaller employers taking on apprenticeships

Announcing the capital funding, the Chancellor said that it would help schools “buy the little extras they need”, a choice of words which has attracted widespread criticism given the many schools struggling with rising costs and tight budgets (read the latest NGA blog on the subject).

Responding to the budget, Emma Knights, chief executive of the NGA, said:

“While NGA welcomes any additional funding for schools, the £400 million announced today is a drop in the ocean compared to the investment that our children and young people deserve. The Chancellor says this money will help schools to “buy the little extras they need” but many governing boards have already had to make cuts in order to balance their budget, not to the extras but to core provision, with reductions in the number of teachers, support staff and curriculum opportunities.

Governors and trustees want to make a difference for children and young people but instead are faced with funding constraints that are having an adverse impact on the quality of education they can offer. The government must use next year’s spending review to invest in the future of children and young people.”

NGA will continue to campaign for increased investment in schools, including high needs funding for pupils with special educational needs, funding for early years and post-16 education. To find out more about our Funding the Future campaign, click here.


Final reminder: take NGA’s membership survey

This is a final reminder to complete NGA’s Annual Membership Survey

If you have already taken the survey, please accept our thanks – we really appreciate your feedback! If you have not completed the survey please do take the time to respond so that we can provide you with the best possible services

The survey is available to members only and takes just 20 minutes to complete. It closes at 11.59pm on 4 November 2018.


NFER ‘Teacher workforce dynamics in England’ research

On Tuesday, the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) published a report on the teaching workforce in England. The research particularly focused on teacher retention, identifying key factors causing teachers to leave the profession and making recommendations for policy makers and school leaders.

The report showed that since 2010, the rate of teachers both leaving the profession and moving jobs has increased. These factors combine to mean schools have to fill more vacancies every year, increasing uncertainty and recruitment costs. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that pupil numbers are forecast to rise by 19% over the next decade, meaning that additional teachers will need to be recruited to meet the new demand.

The report identified low job satisfaction as a key reason why teachers were leaving the profession. This appeared to stem from the profession’s long hours, with teachers working over 50 hours per week on average during term-time, far higher than nurses and police officers in a normal working week. Teachers blamed high workload for these long hours. Interestingly, the report claimed that satisfaction was far more important than pay in persuading teachers to leave the profession, as those taking a new job took a ten per cent pay cut on average.

The report therefore argued that measures to improve satisfaction may be more effective than pay increases in increasing retention. Those governing will be particularly interested in the report’s recommendations for school leaders. The report advocated regular monitoring of job satisfaction (e.g. staff surveys), and intervention to increase support and reduce pressures where workload issues were identified. Governing boards should be asking for information on workload and staff retention in their schools, and the steps which senior leaders are taking to resolve any problems. Recommendations, such as those contained in the report, can act as a valuable basis for challenge during these discussions.

For further guidance on staffing, click here.


New Regional Schools Commissioner for West Midlands

Following Christine Quinn’s announcement that she will retire as Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) for the West Midlands at the end of the year, the Department for Education has announced her successor. Andrew Warren, who is currently chair of the Teaching Schools Council and executive director of a teaching school alliance in Wolverhampton, will take over the role in the new year.

RSCs are civil servants responsible for taking decisions relating to academy trusts in their region, intervening when academies underperform and ensuring ‘inadequate’ maintained schools are converted to academies in a multi-academy trust.

For more on RSCs’ role, see NGA’s guidance on powers of intervention.


New report compares school and corporate governance

A new report from the Institute of Directors explores the common challenges facing school governance and corporate governance, with the aim of encouraging Directors to volunteer as school governors/ trustees and to support their employees to do the same.

In his introduction to the report, the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, writes: “To ensure we rise to the challenge of raising standards even higher in our schools we need a range of diverse voices on governing and trust boards – voices which reflect the communities they serve and individuals with a wide range of skills and expertise.” Find out more about Everyone on Board, NGA’s campaign to increase diversity in school governance, here.

The report demonstrates the similarities between governance in schools and in the corporate sector, as well as some areas of difference where the sectors can learn from one another. In the ‘sixty second summary’ the report’s author Dr Roger Barker writes: “Although they may define organisational success in different ways, board members in the private and educational sectors face many similar governance challenges. In particular, they both have to forge robust but constructive relationships with the executive leadership of their organisations. And both must be creative in terms of gaining access to smart information that will enable them to ask the right questions and make informed decisions.”

Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association, said: “With over three-quarters of employed school governors and trustees saying that they have gained skills through governing that are valuable in their professional life, volunteering as a school governor is a beneficial opportunity for employers, individuals and schools alike. Exploring how governance works cross-sector is very important, and this report identifies some of the ways in which the worlds of school governance and corporate governance can both learn from and contribute to each other. I would encourage directors to read this report to understand how skills and experience from the corporate world can be used to offer much-needed support to schools, and urge them to support their employees to govern though Inspiring Governance.”


DfE - Buying Deals for Schools

This week, the Department for Education (DfE) released further deals it has negotiated to enable schools to save money. Both the new and existing deals can be found on the DfE website here.

Governing boards should bring the deals to the attention of their headteacher and school business professional.


DfE launches the Care Leaver Covenant

The Department for Education (DfE) has launched the Care Leaver Covenant (CLC), a cross governmental support strategy to create opportunities for those transitioning from care to independent adult living, delivered by the organisation Spectra First.

With 40% of care leavers aged 19-21 not in education, employment or training (NEET) compared to 13% for this age group overall, the CLC aims to create work based opportunities to young people aged 16-25 leaving the care system.

It allows public, private and voluntary sector organisations to pledge support including access to paid work experience or apprenticeships, training workshops or life-skills coaching and free or discounted goods and services. More than 50 organisations including businesses, charities, universities, Premier League football clubs, museums, theatres and every government department in England have already signed up to the CLC.

The launch of the CLC comes amid the release of new figures on the characteristics of children in need which outline that as of 31 March 2018:

  • the number of children in need has risen to its highest level with a 4.0% increase from 389,040 in 2017 to 404,710 in 2018
  • the number of child protection plans has increased by 5.3% this year, from 51,080 in 2017 to 53,790 in 2018
  • 20.2% of referrals (requests for services to be provided by children’s social care in respect of a child who is not currently in need) were made by schools or education providers.

NGA welcomes the introduction of the CLC as a positive step toward securing better destinations for children leaving the care system. Governing boards have a key role in championing the needs of looked-after pupils and ensuring they are supported to achieve in school, including through the effective use of pupil premium funding. For further information on the governing board’s role in spending, monitoring and evaluating the pupil premium, see NGA’s guidance on the topic and Spotlight on Disadvantage campaign.


Teachers’ pay grant allocations published

The Department for Education (DfE) has published the allocations that schools will receive from the teachers’ pay grant, the additional funding being provided to cover the difference between the cost of the pay award and the 1% award that schools would have expected under the previous public sector pay cap.

The DfE announced in July that it would not be fully implementing the recommendation of the School Teachers’ Review Body, that all teachers and school leaders receive a 3.5% pay rise. Instead, those on the main pay scale will receive 3.5%, those on the upper pay scale will receive 2% and school leaders will receive 1.5%. NGA argued that this should have been a cost of living rise across the board and was disappointed that this was not fully funded for all teaching staff.

To find out how much your school(s) will receive through the pay grant, click here. The DfE has published further guidance on school teachers’ pay and conditions which is available here.


Parentkind survey reveals parents’ views on funding, mental health and more

Parentkind’s annual survey has revealed parents’ views on funding and mental health amongst other issues affecting children. The survey sought to understand how the pressures on school budgets and subsequent cost-cutting measures are impacting on family life. Findings show that parents are increasingly asked to pay for “things that used to be free” because of stretched school budgets. This includes:

  • around half (49%) of all parent respondents in 2018 believe the pressures on school budgets have negatively impacted their child’s education
  • 43% of parents polled had been asked to donate to a school fund (up from 42% in 2017 and 37% in 2016)
  • an average of £11.35 is donated each month, an increase of £2.45 (28%) on the 2017 figure
  • 21% have been asked to supply teaching equipment (stationery, books, glue pens etc.), up from 15% in 2017

Exploring children’s mental health, the survey finds that three in five parents are worried about their child’s emotional well-being and mental health at school, claiming two in five children have experienced stress relating to homework (42%) and exams (41%), while over a third have suffered from anxiety (38%) and bullying (33%).

The report also explores a number of other topics including schools’ communications with parents, parents’ influence on their children’s education, children’s mental health and wellbeing at school, attributes that children should have when they leave school and attributes of a successful school.

Engaging with parents is a central part of governing boards’ roles; for guidance on this topic, click here.


Select committee review SEND reforms

Early last week the House of Commons education select committee heard from educational experts, schools and local authorities as part of their inquiry into education for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The education committee evaluated the 2014 reforms to the SEND system focusing on funding and the challenges that arose for schools and local authorities (LA), the impact of the reforms were also discussed and explored in order to determine and understand priority areas that the Department of Education (DfE) should consider for the next spending review.

Matt Keer, a panel member who is father of two deaf children, highlighted the struggle parents’ face when attempting to manoeuvre through the SEND funding system, which he believed to be characterised by “an inbuilt tension of funding where responsibility to the public purse dominates over children’s needs, and rights, to educational opportunities”.

The panels discussed the high rate of exclusions among pupils with SEND compared to those without. Justin Cooke, a policy and public affairs manager at Ambitious about Autism, suggested that there was “a financial incentive for schools to off-roll children with SEN, particularly when they get to the point of needing extra help that they do not get via an EHC plan or SEN support”.

As schools across the country are facing financial difficulties, as a result of a reduction in school funding, Justin further highlighted this point by suggesting that “if you have a school budget that is so tight you simply cannot pay teachers, there is an incentive to off-roll or exclude”. It was felt that pupils with SEND were unfairly paying the consequences of cuts to school budgets.

NGA has produced guidance to help ensure that governors and trustees are doing all that they should for pupils with SEND which you can access on the NGA guidance centre here.


Large inequality still present in education, says report

According to the findings of a large scale report into inequality by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, while there has been some improvement large inequalities persist in education in the UK.

The ‘Is Britain Fairer?’ report notes that overall attainment at school leaving age has improved but there are still significant differences between groups of young people. Gender identity, race, and disability still play a large role in educational outcomes. Exclusion rates have been climbing across the wider sector but rates are significantly higher among pupils with SEND and those from the Gypsy and Roma communities, with the latter over three times more likely to be excluded than ‘White British’ pupils.

Among the report’s listed recommendations are to “progressively increase the inclusion of disabled children in mainstream education” and to ensure teachers are trained to tackle bullying and prejudice. It argues that the government “should ensure that all teachers are equipped with the understanding and skills to teach disabled pupils”.

Governors and trustees are reminded of their responsibility to ensure their schools comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty and should be enshrining ethos based in inclusivity and mutual respect within their school(s). For more information on governing board’s equality duties, please consult the NGA guidance on topic.


Raise the Rate: NGA supports campaign for increased sixth-form funding

Last week, NGA joined eleven other education organisations in asking the Chancellor to ‘Raise the Rate’ by increasing 16-19 funding, in a campaign organised by the Sixth Form Colleges Association. Although we now know that investment was not forthcoming in the budget, the campaign will continue to lobby for increased funding in the forthcoming spending review.

Delving in to the current picture of sixth form funding and the impact of underinvestment, Tom Fellows, NGA’s senior research lead has written a blog about why it should matter to all governors and trustees: “While all in the education sector are feeling the pinch, one group that has particularly suffered is 16-19 providers. Whereas primary and secondary school spending was largely protected in real terms from 2010-15, the 16-19 budget has remained unprotected… it is a sector-wide issue that 16-19 year olds are having their life options restricted by an increasingly narrow range of A-level subjects, limited contact time and large class sizes – all of which can be solved through additional investment.”

To read the blog in full, click here.


Clerks’ Advisory Group Meetings

The Clerks’ Advisory Group Meetings for December are now open for bookings. These will take place in:

Manchester on Tuesday 4 December 2018

London on Wednesday 5 December 2018

These meetings give clerks an opportunity to share good practice and highlight issues they have encountered in their role of clerk. Attending a meeting will also help to inform NGA’s Clerking Matters campaign. 

Book your place now

Save the date: we will be hosting our next clerks’ conference in central Birmingham on Wednesday 20 February 2019. Booking will open shortly.


Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

 “The combination of mentor support, learning material, 360° appraisal, networking opportunities and structured thinking time allowed for periods of reflection that enabled me to modify my leadership style and put learning into practice.”

“The face-to-face sessions were particularly informative and I appreciated the opportunities to network with other clerks.”

Development for Clerks

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking.

Cost: Only £75 to pay if you receive funding from the DFE. Check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

Registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Wigan

29 October

25 January

Plymouth

29 October

29 January

Wolverhampton

5 November

4 February

Ealing and Hounslow

12 November

7 February

Croydon

12 November

8 February

Stoke and Cheshire East

12 November

13 February

 

Available to book:

 

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Norfolk

31 December

9 January

4 April

Cambridgeshire

31 December

14 January

4 April

Shropshire

31 December

14 January

10 April

Lincolnshire

1 January

15 January

3 April

Newham

14 January

28 January

4 May

 

Development for Chairs

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance.

Cost: Funding is available up to the value of £500.

Check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

Registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Wolverhampton

5 November

11 December

Nottinghamshire

12 November

11 January

Croydon

12 November

12 January

 

Available to book for this term:

 

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Coventry

12 November

26 November

12 January

Bedford

26 November

10 December

16 January

Penzance

26 November

10 December

10 January

North Devon (Woolacombe)

26 November

10 December

11 January

Torbay

26 November

10 December

12 January

South Devon (Okehampton)

26 November

10 December

14 January

Plymouth

26 November

10 December

15 January

Newquay

26 November

10 December

19 January

Rochdale

26 November

10 December

22 January

 

Additional cohorts are available on the NGA website.

DON’T MISS OUT!

Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis.

Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance

leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 3780


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 19/10/2018

Letter from education select committee to Damian Hinds on 16-19 funding

Last week, NGA continued its reporting on the education select committee’s inquiry into school and college funding, with the committee hearing from key representatives in the 16-19 sector on Wednesday 10 October.

Following on from this, the chair of the committee, Robert Halfon, wrote to the secretary of state for education, Damian Hinds, voicing concern about post-16 provision. Mr Halfon called on the government to review 16-19 funding during the next budget and upcoming spending review. He outlined that: “successive governments have failed to give further education the recognition it deserves for the role it pays in our national productivity puzzle. As you prepare for the Budget later this month and next year’s Spending Review, we would like to take this opportunity for you to look very carefully at the core level of funding for students in FE [further education], as opposed to targeted announcements”.

NGA supports a comprehensive review of 16-19 funding, with the recent 2018 School Governance Survey revealing that many schools with sixth forms have needed to take measures such as narrowing their curriculum offer, reducing the number of teaching staff and increasing class sizes as a result of funding constraints.

As this week is Colleges Week the Love our Colleges Campaign has been set up to raise the profile of 16-19 education and to encourage “better investment” in the sector. Similarly, NGA will be joining the Raise the Rate campaign organised by the Sixth Form Colleges Association, which also looks to increase 16-19 core funding. As part of the campaign launch, Tom Fellows, NGA’s senior research lead, will be writing a blog on how this fits in within NGA’s wider Funding the Future campaign which looks to increase the overall size of the schools budget and ensure that young people receive the standard of education they deserve. 


Time to Listen report on arts and cultural education

This week, the University of Nottingham, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and the Tate art gallery have published the Time to Listen report. Funded by the Arts Council England, the report brings together the voices of young people and their teachers to examine the positive difference that engagement with the arts and cultural education has on the lives of young people. The report also highlights concerns about the increasing difficulty state-funded schools experience in providing access and giving priority to arts education.

The report makes five recommendations for secondary schools and policy makers:

  • Curriculum entitlement: schools should ensure the arts have parity with other subjects at key stage 3, offer a full range of arts subjects at GCSE and communicate the value of the arts to pupils and parents
  • Protecting time for arts subjects: time spent on arts and range of arts subjects offered should be part of Ofsted’s inspection framework
  • Funding: an “Arts and Culture Premium” should be established to mirror the PE and sport premium
  • Parity of esteem: Russell Group universities should review their approach to “Facilitating Subjects” to recognise the value of the arts
  • Attracting and retaining high-quality teachers: pay scales and job titles should recognise the importance of teachers as ‘brokers’ of arts and culture

The full report is available to read here. Governing boards should ensure that all pupils experience creative and expressive arts as part of a broad and balanced curriculum, more information on which can be found in the NGA Guidance Centre. Those governing are invited to take part in an Arts Council survey on the role of creativity in schools. NGA and the Arts Council have also collaborated to create a Learning Link module on the role of the governing board in supporting creative arts in their school - look out for the launch of the new module.


Responses to Forgotten Children report on alternative provision

The Department for Education (DfE) has published its response to recommendations laid out in the Education Select Committee’s report on alternative provision. The report called for a “Bill of Rights” for pupils facing exclusion, for Independent Review Panels to be able to direct a school to reinstate pupils and highlighted inconsistency in the quality of alternative provision.

The government’s response acknowledges significant challenges and that there is more to be done to ensure that all children in alternative provision receive the high-quality education that they deserve. The review of exclusions led by former DfE minister Edward Timpson will report early next year and, although it does not intend to implement the proposal to increase the powers of Independent Review panels, the government has not ruled out measures to increase schools’ accountability for excluded pupils.

Alongside this, the DfE has published its research exploring the landscape of AP and research into the market for AP. These explore how pupil characteristics are taken into account during the exclusion process and characteristics of successful local systems.

The select committee’s report also includes a number of conclusions and recommendations which have relevance to Ofsted and the inspectorate’s response promises to consider incentives for schools to be more inclusive and to continue to address “off-rolling” (the practice of removing pupils from roll to boost performance measures) in its inspections.

NGA has suggested that the review stage by panels of school governing boards may not be best serving the interests of children and that the process should include an appeal stage entirely independent of the institution that made the decision to exclude the pupil. However, it is vital that governors and trustees fulfil their current responsibilities effectively, ethically and accountably; the NGA has a range of guidance and training on the governing board’s role in exclusions. 


National statistics on GCSE and A-level outcomes and destinations

This week, the Department for Education (DfE) has issued 2017/18 provisional grades for key stage 4 and key stage 5 qualifications and 2016/17 data on the destinations of key stage 4 and 5 pupils.  Amongst the key headlines, the data shows that:

  • the average attainment 8 score for GCSE pupils in state-funded schools across England was 46.4, up by 0.4 compared to 2017
  • the average grade at A-level remains the same as last year (at C+), whereas the numbers taking level 2 technical or vocational qualifications increased by nearly 10%
  • the numbers of pupils in “sustained destinations” following key stage 4 and 5 remains stable (at 94% and 89% respectively) compared to last year, although the data shows that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are 5% less likely to stay in sustained education (such as University) after key stage 5

While this data is useful for those governing to make broad comparisons between their school and others nationally, GCSE and A-level statistics are subject to change once grade appeals/remarks are taken into account and governing boards need to take into account the particular context of their school.

Only 43.0% of pupils in state-funded schools achieved a so-called “strong pass” (grade 5 or above) in GCSE English and maths, prompting the Association of Schools and Colleges (ASCL) to launch a commission looking at the impact of messaging around “standard” (grade 4) or “strong” (grade 4) pass rates at GCSE. ASCL argue these messages are inherently “negative” and leave many pupils “feeling crushed rather than proud”. In addition, while the GCSE statistical release did not reveal the number of pupils who received a “standard pass” in maths or English, this is likely to be roughly one-third due to year-on-year “comparative grading” systems employed by exam boards. ASCL will look at the effect of making pupils who struggle to attain the so-called “standard pass” in their maths and English GCSEs sit continuous resits post-16.

While the pressures of accountability measures sometimes lead schools to adapt their curriculum, those governing are reminded of their duties to protect pupil wellbeing and to ensure that they receive a broad and balanced curriculum. Part of this involves gaining assurances from the lead executive that pupils are being entered for qualifications which match their ability. For more information on educational outcomes and holding the lead executive to account, visit the NGA guidance centre


The national picture on pupil absence

New statistics released by the Department for Education show that the overall pupil absence rate in schools in England has increased slightly to 4.7% in autumn and spring 2017/18, compared to 4.5% during the same period the year before.

The increase reflects a rise in the rates of authorised, unauthorised and persistent absence. As in previous years, illness was the most common cause of absence. There had been a slight increase in unauthorised absence due to family holidays. 

Absence rates were higher for some groups of pupils than others: those eligible for free school meals and those with special educational needs (SEN) were more likely to be absent. While this may be related to medical issues for some pupils with SEN, it is worth considering how pupil premium funds could be utilised to address low attendance among pupils eligible for free school meals; see NGA’s Spotlight on Disadvantage research.

The highest overall absence rates were found among Traveller of Irish Heritage and Gypsy/Roma pupils; those governing schools with pupils from these groups may be interested in research published by LKMCo last year which explores some barriers to achievement that gypsy, Roma and traveller pupils experience.

Governing boards should be aware of how attendance in their school(s) compares to national averages, including among different groups of pupils, and work with senior leaders to identify and address drivers of avoidable absence. NGA’s questions for governing boards to ask on behaviour and raising standards provide a starting point.


How successful are Opportunity Areas?

On Wednesday, the Department for Education (DfE) published the results of an independent evaluation of how the twelve opportunity areas, the flagship DfE programmes aimed at improving social mobility, have been implemented. The evaluation’s findings included:

  • The partnership boards, which have strategic oversight for their area alongside the DfE delivery teams, were working well. The report saw them as enthusiastic, passionate, and effective in engaging local stakeholders.
  • There were some concerns that the programme was too DfE-led, with stakeholders being spoken to but not receiving the ownership to actually drive the programme forwards.
  • Delivery plans have been adapted to the opportunity areas based on their specific challenges and priorities. Moving forwards, the report argued that these delivery plans needed to be treated as ‘live’ documents which could be adapted to changing local needs.
  • There was some criticism of delivery plans for not reflecting the non-educational challenges which affected social mobility.
  • The report also recommended that the DfE should consider extending the timeline of the programme so that it has a more realistic chance of securing cultural change.

Those governing in Opportunity Areas may wish to explore how their school can engage with the initiatives, if they have not already. NGA’s Spotlight on Disadvantage campaign is highlighting the continuing inequality in young people’s attainment and life chances across England, and governing boards’ role in supporting their disadvantaged pupils.


NGA special schools’ advisory group

NGA’s special schools’ advisory group will be meeting on Wednesday 28 November 2018 at 1pm at the NGA offices in Birmingham.

The group provides those governing with an opportunity to discuss issues relating to special educational needs and disabilities in schools and informs NGA’s work in relation to special schools. It also gives governors and trustees the chance to exchange information and practice working well in their schools.

If you would like to attend, please contact Rani Kaur (rani.kaur@nga.org.uk) by Thursday 22 November 2018.


Join NGA’s network for multi-academy trusts

The Community MATs network is an opportunity for trustees, clerks, and governance professionals in multi-academy trusts (MATs) to come together, discuss their experiences and share best practice. The next network meeting will be taking place in central Birmingham on Friday 16 November 2018.

Following a successful event in the spring and summer of 2018, the upcoming event in central Birmingham will touch on vital topics including:

  • Financial governance in MATs – new requirements from the Academies Financial Handbook 2018
  • Schemes of delegation (following on from the Schools Week article by NGA Head of Information, Sam Henson, on the role of local governance in MATs)
  • Communication between the layers of governance in MATs

Previous meetings have provoked lively discussion and the day will be structured informally with opportunities for everyone to speak.

A buffet lunch is included. Book your place now to avoid disappointment (please note, only those currently involved in the governance of a MAT are eligible to attend).


Take NGA’s annual membership survey

NGA’s Annual Membership Survey is open!

As a membership organisation, it is vital that we know whether we are representing your views and providing you with the support you need. We are committed to giving you the best possible value for your membership fee, so please let us know how we are doing and how we can improve our services. It would be really helpful if as many members as possible could respond to the survey.

The survey is available to members only and takes just 20 minutes to complete. It closes at 11.59pm on 4 November 2018.


Has your governing board had a significant impact in a single school?

Outstanding  Governance Awards

If your governing board has demonstrated effective governance and outstanding leadership to create positive outcomes in your school, we want to celebrate your work through our Outstanding Governance Awards 2019.

The ‘outstanding governance in a single school’ category recognises boards governing a single school that have gone beyond these basics of their core responsibilities to have a significant impact on their school, citing one or more examples. These achievements may include but are not limited to successfully overcoming challenging circumstances; addressing educational issues affecting a particular group in the context of the school; or taking an innovative approach to governance recruitment and practice. Whatever the achievement, the role of the governing board in the leadership of the change will need to be clear. Entrants will also need to describe how they fulfil the three core functions and evidence a selection of NGA’s eight elements of effective governance.

By entering the awards, you will have the opportunity to reflect on your governing board’s work and to gain deserved recognition for your good practice and success. Fairfield Park Lower School were our winners in this category in the 2017 awards and said of their achievement: “Our clerk encouraged us to make the application and it was a professional and exacting process. No one becomes a governor to win plaudits and awards but we are delighted that the efforts and commitment of the governing board have been recognised.”

Begin your entry today at www.nga.org.uk/awards. The deadline for entries is 3 December 2018 – governing boards can nominate themselves for an award or can be nominated by a third party.


Annual Conference and AGM

NGA’s Annual Conference and AGM will take place on Saturday 17 November 2018 in Birmingham. Places for this event are fully booked.

The conference will be followed by our Annual General Meeting at 3.30pm. The notice for the AGM can be found on the website along with proxy forms, the minutes from the AGM 2017 and the annual accounts for the financial year ending 31 March 2018.



From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 12/10/2018

Children and young people’s mental health services

To mark World Mental Health Day, Prime Minister Theresa May has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to achieve “parity of esteem between mental and physical health”. With half of all mental illness starting by the age of 14, the government set out plans to address prevention and improve cross-sector working in education and health in a green paper published in December 2017.

The proposals aim to; create new mental health support teams, improve access to treatment in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) by an additional 70,000 children and young people per year by 2020-21, and pilot a four week waiting time for access to specialist services. The government has pledged £1.4bn over five years to transform provision.

However, a new report from the National Audit Office (NAO) has highlighted several risks to improving access to children and young people’s NHS-funded services including:

  • “the government’s ability to understand progress is limited by significant weaknesses in data
  • the government does not have cross-government accountability arrangements in place to ensure plans are delivered as intended
  • NHS England cannot be certain that all of the additional £1.4 billion funding to date was spent as intended
  • slow progress on workforce expansion to deliver NHS services is emerging as a major risk.”

The NAO report highlights that demand for specialist mental health services may be higher than originally thought. This is supported by new research by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) into current access levels to CAHMS which estimates that “referrals to children’s mental health services in England had increased by 26% over the past five years”. The EPI report also uncovers serious weakness in data quality and evidence of local providers using a range of different measures and thresholds to determine access to services.

Governing boards have a key role in promoting an ethos of pupil and staff wellbeing. Schools should adopt whole-school policies and procedures that help staff recognise and respond to mental health and emotional wellbeing issues. Further information including questions for governing boards to ask can be found in the NGA Guidance Centre.


Appealing exclusions: time for a review?

As part of its contribution to the government’s exclusions review, led by former minister Ed Timpson, NGA has proposed that it is time for an informed review of the appeal system for exclusion decisions. Changes were last made in 2012 and since then there has been no review of whether the system is fit for purpose. NGA is suggesting that the review stage by panels of school governing boards may not be serving a useful purpose and that the process should include an appeal stage, entirely independent of the institution that made the decision to exclude the pupil. We’ve published a news piece with more information on our view here.


NGA supports the DfE’s intent to improve diversity of teachers and school leaders

NGA are delighted to be one of ten education organisations supporting the Department of Education’s (DfE) ‘statement of intent’ on the diversity of the teaching workforce and school leadership. Coinciding with the government’s announcement on the Race Disparity Audit, the DfE says “diversity within schools is valuable in fostering social cohesion and most importantly, in supporting pupils to grow and develop in an environment of visible, diverse role models”. It also wants schools to be an “inclusive environment for teachers and pupils to be themselves”.

To progress this aim, the department is calling for everyone in the school sector to play their part in driving this important change by “supporting the progression of all teachers and removing any biases in recruitment practice”. Over the coming months it will be consulting with schools, teachers, MATs and governing boards to understand what needs to happen to drive this change.

The DfE has also announced £2m of funding for new nationwide equality and diversity hubs to support aspiring leaders, including those from ethnic minority backgrounds into headship; equality and diversity will be a strand of its recruitment and retention strategy to ensure people from all background are supported and that barriers to their progression are removed.

According to School Governance in 2018, an annual survey by NGA and Tes, just 5% of school governors and trustees are from an ethnic minority: this compares to 14% of the general population and 26% of the pupil population. NGA’s Everyone on Board campaign is already working to improve diversity in school leadership by showing governing boards why it is important that they are diverse and encouraging people from ethnic minorities and those aged under 40 to become a school governor or trustee. In a speech this week, Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds highlighted the early success of the campaign in increasing the number of people registering their interest in governing through Inspiring Governance.

The other organisations supporting the DfE’s statement are National Association of Head Teachers, Association of School and College Leaders, Chartered College of Teaching, BAME Ed, Women Ed, LGBT Ed, Disability Ed, Ambition School Leadership and All-in Education.


New NGA Blog: Women in school governance

To coincide with the WomenEd “unconference” last Saturday 6 October, NGA chief executive Emma Knights has explored what our recent school governance survey tells us about women on governing boards. The blog highlights that, although the majority of respondents were female, a smaller proportion of chairs were women and women were less likely to consider putting themselves forward to chair.

Read the blog in full here.


Plans for new inspection framework revealed

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, has announced some of the changes Ofsted plans to make to the schools inspection framework.

As well as the headline ‘overall effectiveness’ grade, Ofsted currently make judgements on four categories for all schools:

  • effectiveness of leadership and management
  • quality of teaching, learning and assessment
  • personal development, behaviour and welfare
  • outcomes for children and learners

There are additional categories for schools with early years or sixth form provision. Ofsted plan to alter these categories to be:

  • quality of education
  • personal development
  • behaviour and attitudes
  • schools’ leadership and management

The aim of these changes are to move Ofsted’s focus from headline data to how schools are educating pupils and the substance of the curriculum. A formal consultation on the new draft framework will take place from January with implementation planned from September 2019.

NGA has recently met with Amanda Spielman and other senior officials at Ofsted and will be responding to the consultation in due course. We would welcome views from members on the proposed changes: email fay.holland@nga.org.uk.

NGA has a range of guidance for governing boards on Ofsted inspection, which is available here, as well as offering face-to-face and online training on the topic.


DfE announce Opportunity North East

On Monday, Damian Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a £24million government investment in the North East of England. The “Opportunity North East” scheme is intended to provide opportunities and job prospects to young people, tackling issues which can cause areas to feel “left behind”.

The Department for Education argued that the North East has some of the best performing primary schools in England but secondary school performance is significantly lower than other regions. The region also has one of the highest proportions of young people not in education, employment or training. In order to address this, £12million will be invested into approaches intended to improve the transition from primary to secondary schools, raise standards and boost post-16 outcomes. This will include partnerships with local businesses to improve job prospects for young people and working with secondary schools and colleges to encourage young people to consider university, degree apprenticeships, and high quality technical education options. A further £12million will be invested into improving early career training for new teachers, aiding retention and improving the quality of teaching more broadly.

Damian Hinds visited Gateshead, and portrayed the scheme as part of a plan to support White British disadvantaged boys, the least likely of any large ethnic group to attend university. The announcement can also be seen as part of the government’s Northern Powerhouse strategy, and as a response to criticism of the failure to situate any of the twelve opportunity areas in the North East. On Saturday, NGA will be visiting Gateshead for our North East Regional Conference, allowing us to hear the opinions of local governors and trustees on the scheme.


School funding: children brief MPs and music lessons under threat

On Wednesday 10 October, parent-led campaign group Save Our Schools held a briefing in parliament, with school pupils telling MPs about the impact of funding cuts in their schools. Some of the children also appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire show (from 1:36).

Separately, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that the government’s decision not to fund the teacher pay award for centrally employed teachers could leave schools without access to music lessons. As reported last week, schools will receive a grant to cover the teachers’ pay award later in the autumn term. However, teachers directly employed by councils or other non-school organisations are not covered by the grant. The LGA report that there are currently 4,900 centrally employed teachers, the majority of whom are music teachers but also including teachers supporting particular groups of children or teaching within secure units, and that councils will struggle to meet the cost without affecting provision.

The impact on music lessons is particularly concerning given that the subject is already at risk: research published this week found that an increasing number of secondary schools are reducing or removing music in the key stage 3 curriculum or not offering it at GCSE.

NGA supports LGA’s call for the teachers’ pay grant to be fully funded for centrally employed teachers as well as those employed by schools. We are continuing to work alongside parents’ groups and professional associations through our Funding the Future campaign, calling on the government to increase the overall schools budget and encourage governing boards to write to their local MP and invite them to visit their school to see for themselves how funding pressures are affecting pupils and staff.


New evidence of pressure on the 16-19 education budget

This week, the Sixth Form Colleges Association, in conjunction with London Economics, has released a report bringing into sharp focus the financial challenges facing the 16-19 sector. Concentrating on sixth form colleges, the report revealed that there has been a 22% drop in real-terms funding for sixth form colleges and a 15% reduction in teaching staff per sixth form college since 2010.

Also this week, the Education Select Committee heard from representatives of 16-19 education ahead of the Chancellor’s October Budget and the wider Department for Education Spending Review.

James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, outlined that the 16-19 sector has “had three funding cuts since 2010 … [and] … a funding rate that has been frozen since 2013 … [so] if we don’t get an increase in the funding rate, the rate will be the same in 2023/24 as it was in 2013”. Alison Birkenshaw, Former President of the Association of Colleges, and Emily Chapman, Vice President for Further Education at the National Union of Students, also echoed concerns that funding pressures were having a negative impact on the further education sector, particularly in terms of its ability to recruit and retain teaching staff and provide an internationally comparative education for pupils.

In order to make 16-19 education sustainable, the London Economics report estimates that, by 2020/21, a £760 annual per pupil core uplift is needed in addition to £140 extra per pupil “to meet the cost of the proposed increase in employer contributions to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme”.

On the back of findings from the School Governance in 2018 survey, NGA recognises the need for more money in 16-19 education and, as part of the Funding the Future campaign, NGA has written to the Chancellor about school funding, highlighting the particular struggles facing the sector.

Looking to support work in the wider sector, NGA is part of the Raise the Rate campaign group, organised by the sixth form colleges association to secure more funding for 16-19 education. To coincide with the official launch of the campaign on 22 October, NGA will be blogging about the importance of a funding uplift from the perspective of schools with sixth-forms.


New report reveals specific challenges facing rural schools

On Friday 12 October, a new report entitled The Challenges of Leading a Rural School has been published by the Key for School Leaders. The report draws upon primary research including face-to-face interviews with 18 school leaders from 11 rural schools and a survey of 542 headteachers of rural schools. The report highlights some of the challenges facing rural schools, with the key findings from the report being:

  • Due to comparatively poor transport infrastructure and a lack of local employment, many remote areas suffer from “rural poverty”. The report noted that many pupils attending rural schools have families earning just above the pupil premium eligibility threshold and these pupils often face many of the same barriers to educational achievement as those eligible for pupil premium.
  • Rural schools are facing specific financial issues. In part because of low turnover of teaching staff and the skills needed to teach “mixed-age” classes, “rural schools face the paradox of having a high proportion of experienced and older, but expensive, teachers among their staff”. This has a massive impact upon budgets, with rural schools required to make difficult decisions to “make it work”, including cutting the number of teaching assistants and “reducing enrichment activities” for pupils.
  • Rural schools reported that parental expectations are become “increasingly unattainable” and there is an “increased risk” of pupils moving to other schools. This can compound the financial issues facing rural schools.
  • The report touched on whether rural schools would consider joining a multi-academy trust (MAT). While a large proportion of survey respondents saw the benefits of financial efficiencies in a MAT, “nearly half” reported that they were not looking to join a MAT. This is mainly because the schools felt that they would not be “financially viable” for a MAT or governing boards and senior leaders did not believe it was the right move for their school.

Many of the messages around financial difficulties and disadvantage resonate with the findings from the NGA/Tes School Governance in 2018 survey. Furthermore, this research raises important issues for NGA’s campaign work, specifically in terms of Funding the Future and Spotlight on Disadvantage. Governors and trustees of rural schools are encouraged to explore the NGA website for more information on financial efficiencies and different types of collaboration, including federations.


Education minister urges local authorities to save maintained nursery schools

This week, Nadhim Zahawi, children and families minister, delivered a speech to the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), in which he emphasised the important contribution maintained nursery schools make in relation to closing the attainment gap in early years.

The speech responded to the calls made by other MPs last month for the government to provide more funding for maintained nursery schools.

Nadhim Zahawi urged “all councils, all local authorities, not to make premature decisions on the future of these schools at this stage.” He also expressed his plans to bring the case to the government’s comprehensive spending review.

The minister’s comments come amidst new figures from Early Education which reveal that more than a third of maintained nursery schools have seen a reduction in funding for SEND pupils this year compared to the year before.

NGA is concerned at the closure of many maintained nursery schools as these often provide amongst the best quality early years provision. We understand that the legal requirements on staffing maintained nurseries can make them more expensive than other settings, but rather than closure we would urge local authorities and governing boards to explore the possibility of federating nurseries together or with neighbouring primary schools. Where it is deemed appropriate, we would support schools in collaborating with high quality settings such as those in maintained nurseries in order to maintain the provision.


University Technical Colleges struggle with recruitment

A new report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) has found that, despite overall growth in the number of University Technical Colleges (UTCs) in England, many are struggling with student numbers and there are significant drop-out rates after key stage 4. The report also found that pupils attending UTCs, particularly those with high prior attainment, make less progress between key stage 2 and key stage 4 than average.

There were some positives, however, with pupils at UTCs more likely to choose to study science, technology engineering or maths (STEM) subjects, preparing pupils for jobs in technical industries where high-skilled employment is expected to increase.

EPI recommends changing the admissions age of UTCs from 14 to 16 to allow them to focus on delivering specialist technical educations post-16.

NGA recognises that many UTCs are providing excellent opportunities to pupils, particularly around technical education, but that many are experiencing the issues that EPI highlight. Governing boards of UTCs, like all school types, need to consider how they can best serve the interests of young people in their areas – see NGA’s questions for governing boards to ask.


Take NGA’s annual membership survey

NGA membership survey

NGA’s Annual Membership Survey is open!

As a membership organisation, it is vital that we know whether we are representing your views and providing you with the support you need. We are committed to giving you the best possible value for your membership fee, so please let us know how we are doing and how we can improve our services. It would be really helpful if as many members as possible could respond to the survey.

The survey is available to members only and takes just 20 minutes to complete. It closes at 11.59pm on 4 November 2018.

 


East Midlands and South West conference slides

Presentation slides from our recent regional conferences are now available on our website: click here for the East Midlands and here for the South West.

The conferences included a workshop on the effective governance of special educational needs and disability (SEND), input from the Department for Education on financial oversight and getting the best value as well as a keynote presentation from regional schools commissioner John Edwards.

For details of upcoming conferences and meetings, visit our events page.


Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

“The combination of mentor support, learning material, 360° appraisal, networking opportunities and structured thinking time allowed for periods of reflection that enabled me to modify my leadership style and put learning into practice.”

“The face-to-face sessions were particularly informative and I appreciated the opportunities to network with other clerks.”

Development for Clerks

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking.

Cost: Only £75 to pay if you receive funding from the DFE. Check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

Registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Rochdale

15 October

10 January

Wigan

29 October

25 January

Newquay

29 October

23 January

Penzance

29 October

24 January

North Devon (Woolacombe)

29 October

25 January

South Devon (Okehampton)

29 October

28 January

Plymouth

29 October

29 January

Torbay

29 October

30 January

Available to book:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Wolverhampton

22 October

5 November

4 February

Ealing and Hounslow

29 October

12 November

7 February

Croydon

29 October

12 November

8 February

Stoke and Cheshire East

29 October

12 November

13 February

Cambridgeshire

31 December

14 January

4 April

Shropshire

31 December

14 January

10 April

Lincolnshire

1 January

15 January

3 April

Newham

14 January

28 January

4 May

Additional cohorts are available on the NGA website.

Development for Chairs

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance.

Cost: Funding is available up to the value of £500.

Check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

Registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Rochdale

15 October

22 November

Swindon

15 October

23 November

Wigan

22 October

22 November

Available to book for this term:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Wolverhampton

22 October

5 November

11 December

Nottinghamshire

29 October

12 November

11 January

Croydon

29 October

12 November

12 January

Coventry

12 November

26 November

12 January

Bedford

26 November

10 December

16 January

Penzance

26 November

10 December

10 January

North Devon (Woolacombe)

26 November

10 December

11 January

Torbay

26 November

10 December

12 January

South Devon (Okehampton)

26 November

10 December

14 January

Plymouth

26 November

10 December

15 January

Newquay

26 November

10 December

19 January

Additional cohorts are available on the NGA website.

DON’T MISS OUT!

Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis.

Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance

leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 460

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 05/10/2018

Take NGA’s annual membership survey

Annual Membership Survey 2018

NGA’s Annual Membership Survey is now open!

As a membership organisation, it is vital that we know whether we are representing your views and providing you with the support you need. We are committed to giving you the best possible value for your membership fee, so please let us know how we are doing and how we can improve our services. It would be really helpful if as many members as possible could respond to the survey.

The survey is available to members only and takes just 20 minutes to complete. It closes at 12.00pm on 4 November 2018.

Take the survey!

 


Secretary of State addresses Conservative Party Conference

Damian Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education, spoke to the Conservative Party Conference on Tuesday. To open, he reflected on the role of the teaching profession: “those inspiring individuals, those 450,000 teachers that we have out there, they deserve and they have our admiration, our respect and our thanks”.

The key policy measures in the speech were:

  • English hubs: 32 primary schools will spread best practice in the teaching of early language and reading
  • Maths hubs: 21 post-16 institutions will act as ‘centres of excellence’, aimed at improving basic maths skills for those aged 16 and over
  • Behaviour: £10 million to “support the spreading of best practice and knowledge on behaviour management and classroom management”
  • Careers guidance: the number of areas served by networks supported by the Careers & Enterprise Company will double from 20 to 40 and the number of training places available to new careers leaders will increase from 500 to 1300
  • T Levels: capital funding to support the roll-out of the new technical qualifications
  • Sports Action Plan: a new cross-government initiative, working with national sporting organisations, with an action plan expected in spring 2019

The speech did not address the most common issues facing schools that governors and trustees identified in our survey: balancing the budget and attracting and retaining high quality teaching staff. NGA will continue to call for swift action to tackle these issues so that schools can focus on their core purpose of educating children and young people.

The Shadow Secretary of State’s speech to the Labour Party Conference was covered in last week’s newsletter.


Teachers’ pay grant and school funding

This week, leaders of school leaders and teachers unions have written to the Prime Minister and Chancellor on the topics of school funding and the teachers’ pay settlement.

The leaders of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the National Education Union (NEU) express disappointment with the teachers’ pay settlement announced in July and with the fact that, despite additional funding being allocated through a grant, schools will have to find the first 1% of this from their existing budgets.

The Department for Education (DfE) will be distributing £187 million in additional funds to schools to allow them to meet the cost above 1% in 2018-19. The funding will be allocated according to the number of pupils in a mainstream setting or number of places for a high needs setting (with some protection for very small schools). This means that some schools may receive more or less than they are expecting depending on how many teachers they have on each pay scale.

Details of the methodology have been published here and allocations will be published later this month (look out for items in future newsletters). Payments will be made to schools later in the autumn.

In the current context, with many schools struggling to balance their budgets, implementing the pay award may be challenging and governing boards should ensure their school understands the cost of the award and the amount they will get from the grant as soon as possible. Guidance for governing boards on financial management is available here.

NGA will continue to campaign for an increase in the schools budget, including to ensure that future recommendations of the School Teachers’ Review Body are implemented and funded in their entirety.


Provisional outcomes from phonics screening and KS1 assessments

Governors and trustees can now access information on the attainment of pupils in the 2018 phonics screening check and KS1 teacher assessments (TA) which take place at the end of year 1 (typically aged 6) and the end of KS1 (year 2), respectively. This forms an important backdrop to individual school data and its role in school accountability.

This year’s provisional data reveals that more pupils (82%) are meeting the expected standard in phonics in year 1 – a 1 percentage point increase from 2017. Attainment at the expected standard in KS1 TA is broadly similar to 2017 – a 1 percentage point increase in maths (up to 76%), while attainment in reading and science remained the same. Changes made within the 2017/18 writing TA frameworks mean judgements made in 2018 (70% meeting the expected standard) are not directly comparable to those made in 2017.

The Department for Education (DfE) welcomes feedback on any aspect of the publication. Please email primary.attainment@education.gov.uk.


NEU workload survey

On Tuesday, the National Education Union (NEU) published the results of a survey of 11,341 teachers regarding teacher workload. The NEU have argued that their findings demonstrate that the Department for Education is “still a long way off resolving the issue of workload and unnecessary monitoring in schools.”

Among respondents from primary schools, 69% stated that the volume of marking they were required to undertake was unmanageable, while 78% of respondents from secondary schools held the same opinion. On the issue of data, 66% of primary school respondents and 63% of secondary school respondents felt that the volume of data collection which they were required to undertake was again unmanageable. The survey also enquired about planning, finding that 60% of primary school respondents and 46% of secondary school respondents felt that the volume they were required to undertake was unmanageable. The triple burden of marking, data collection and planning combined to highlight the continuing heavy teacher workload. Worryingly, just a quarter of primary teachers and 18% of secondary teachers had seen a review of their school’s policy and practice on planning since new recommendations were published by the Department for Education in 2016.

NGA’s 2018 School Governance Survey included questions regarding the issue of teacher workload. 67% of governing boards who responded recognised that teacher workload was a problem, but only 43% had taken steps to reduce it. The findings can be found here on pages 38-39 and includes examples of steps taken by respondents to reduce workload. Boards should be thinking carefully about teacher workload, given the importance of staff wellbeing and its potential implications for other issues such as staff retention. For more information on what governors can do see the following article in Governing Matters magazine on teacher workload


Just 53% of English children walk to school, poll finds

New figures in time for ‘International Walk to School Month’ have found that parents’ top complaints about the school run involve driving. Yougov, in association with charity ‘Living Streets’, found that the top annoyances included cars overcrowding the school gates (54%) and too much traffic on their journey (45%).

The poll follows figures, released by the Department for Transport, which reveal that two of the most likely times for children to killed be on the road were during the school run, at 7-9am (14%) and 3-5pm (23%) respectively.

The charity behind the study is calling on local authorities to pilot closing roads around school gates. The aim is to reduce congestion, and encourage more families to walk to school. Tanya Braun, Head of Policy and Communications at Living Streets has said: ‘Piloting closing streets to cars outside schools at the start and end of the school day is a great way to improve the safety of our children’s walk to school. It removes issues of unsafe parking, speeding traffic and helps to reduce the toxic air which stays around our children’s schools long after the cars have left.’


Local authorities taken to court over SEND cuts

Parents are taking Surrey County Council to the High Court over the cuts to their children’s SEND provision. Four mothers from the area claim the cuts are unlawful because they weren’t properly consulted on the changes.

The parents from Surrey are the latest group to take SEND cuts to high court. In July, parents from Bristol brought a legal challenge over Bristol City Councils decision cuts to SEND services. The judge ruled that the council’s £5m cuts were illegal. Similarly, parents in Hackney, Scarborough, North Yorkshire and East Sussex are in the process of mounting a legal challenge against their local authorities.

High needs funding was one of the major concerns of those responding to the Annual Governance Survey.

Governing boards should ensure that the needs of SEND pupils are met. For further information. Read our Guest blog on SEND – the big question by Chris Rossiter, chief executive of the Driver Youth Trust here.


Five key lessons for governing boards

In a blog this week, Beth Clarke explains the ‘five key lessons for charity trustees’ that she picked up as a trustee of a small charity in the process of closing down. Clarke combines her experience of being a trustee with her work as part of the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) consultancy for charity team. The post once again reminds NGA of the similarities and differences between charity trustees, and school governing boards. The key lessons that Clarke identifies can be defined as:

  • Effective governance

Creating a culture of support and challenge in a governing board takes time. Clarke speaks of the board being reactive, focused on tasks, but unable to engage with recommendations and effective governance. However, in order to understand issues and question objectives, governing boards must challenge and investigate information they are presented with - the Chair’s role is critical here.

  • The importance of vision and strategy

Clarke argues that the balance between the day-today running of the charity and being strategic was difficult to find, and the same can be true for governing boards.

Having a vision and strategy is essential for school boards to be able to be self-evaluate and understand the key priorities for schools. A strong strategy can help to set objectives and monitor performance across all aspects of school life. Governing boards are best placed to hold senior executive leaders to account by ensuring decision making is in line with the agreed vision and strategy.

NGA continues to work on these key areas and to share examples of best practise. Further support is available in the guidance centre: see being strategic and effective governance and for more information.


Take the Arts Council’s survey on creativity in schools

The Durham Commission on Creativity and Education is a partnership between Arts Council England and Durham University that aims to identify ways in which creativity, and specifically creative thinking, can play a larger part in the lives of young people from birth to the age of 25, both within and beyond the current education system. More details are available here.

The Durham Commission are seeking the views of governors, trustees, head teachers and school leaders across England on the role of creativity and creative thinking in schools and how this is applied in learning. This research will provide important evidence to help influence policy, inform the Arts Council’s next ten-year strategy, and contribute towards the Arts Council’s work with children and young people, including the 25 Year Creative Talent Plan.

Click here to share your views on creativity. The survey is open from Thursday 4th October to Tuesday 13th November.

Governing boards should ensure that children and young people experience creative and expressive arts as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. NGA and the Arts Council have collaborated to create a Learning Link module on the role of the governing board in supporting creative arts in their school - look out for the launch of the new module in the autumn term.


Outstanding Governance Awards – is your vision and strategy outstanding?

Outstanding  Governance Awards

Does your governing board have an inspiring vision that makes clear what children leaving the school will have learned? If so, we want to hear more about your work and practice in our Outstanding Governance Awards 2019.

Setting vision and strategy is a core function of the governing board, and the ‘Outstanding vision and strategy’ category will recognise a board governing a single or group of schools that can evidence an inspiring vision and demonstrable progress towards achieving that vision with a clear strategy in place. The successful nominee will be a governing board that can show how they engaged the school community in developing their vision and values; can demonstrate a methodical and clear commitment to strategy development; and have a vision and values that genuinely shape the educational offer at their school, MAT or Federation

By entering the awards, you will have the opportunity to reflect on your governing board’s work and to gain deserved recognition for your good practice and success.

Nexus MAT were our winners in this category in the 2017 awards and said of their achievement: “Our trust has only recently celebrated its first birthday, so winning a national award at such a prestigious ceremony is a remarkable achievement. This recognition by the NGA is testament to the hard work of school governors, who have always shown a relentless pursuit of being the best they can be.”

These are the only national education awards to recognise the contribution of governing boards and the clerks that support them. Nominations are now open to recognise achievements in four categories:

  • Outstanding governing board in a single school
  • Outstanding governing board in a group of schools
  • Outstanding vision and strategy
  • Outstanding clerk to a governing board

Governing boards and clerks can nominate themselves for an award and they can also be nominated by a third party such as an executive leader or governor services. The awards are open to all state funded schools in England including maintained schools, single academy trusts, free schools and schools within multi academy trusts and federations, and to all phases of schools. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a prestigious ceremony at the House of Commons in May 2019 where awards will be presented to the winners.


Community MATs Network

An increasingly popular event, this network meeting will be taking place in central Birmingham on Friday 16 November 2018.

The Community MATs network is an opportunity for trustees and clerks of multi-academy trusts (MATs) to come together, discuss their experiences and share best practice.

Following a successful event in the spring and summer of 2018, the upcoming event in central Birmingham will touch on vital topics including:

  • Financial governance in MATs – new requirements from the Academies Financial Handbook 2018
  • Schemes of delegation
  • Communications within MATs

Previous meetings have provoked lively discussion and the day will be structured informally with opportunities for everyone to speak.

A buffet lunch is included. Book your place now to avoid disappointment.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 28/09/2018

Changes to NGA’s leadership team: could you be our new Director of Advice and Guidance?

Just before Christmas, we will be saying good-bye and thank you to Gillian Allcroft, NGA’s Deputy Chief Executive. In light of Gillian’s departure, NGA’s trustees have reviewed the leadership structure and have decided to create a new post of Director of Advice and Guidance. This director post will not only oversee and develop the NGA’s advice service and guidance centre, but also play an important role in helping achieve positive change in the practice of school governance in state schools in England.

Maggi Bull, chair of NGA’s board of trustees, said: “Gillian will be missed at NGA. She has played a really important role in every one of the twelve years of our existence. We have individually and as a board benefitted from Gillian’s advice and guidance. This change brings a new opportunity: we are very pleased to be offering this new post of Director of Advice and Guidance. We are aiming to find someone with deep knowledge of education legislation and policy, extensive experience of school governance, and who has the enthusiasm for the subject and for NGA’s charitable aim of improving the educational welfare of pupils.”

To read Gillian Allcroft’s and Emma Knights’ comments click here.

For more information and to apply for the Director of Advice and Guidance click here. The closing date for applying is 9am on Monday 15 October 2018.


Labour sets out plans for education

Education was a prominent theme at this week’s Labour Party Conference in Liverpool. Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner, set out policies for the National Education Service, pledging to bring schools under a new regulatory framework with “community control at its heart and national rules applying to all schools with parents and communities given a meaningful say in decision making”.

The party’s priorities for education include:

  • ending the forced academisation of schools
  • compelling academies to expand in areas of demand
  • allowing councils to take back failing academies
  • establishing councils as the admissions authorities for all schools
  • banning all related-party transactions
  • setting out national pay rules and a cap on CEO salaries
  • ending the free school programme and creating a new wave of co-operative schools for parents or communities wishing to launch or lead a school

The party also promised to create a new public service “offering free early education for all two to four year olds and reinventing state nurseries”, while announcing plans for a state-funded teacher supply service.

The Conservative Party Conference will take place this weekend in Birmingham and NGA will report on the key announcements on education policy next week.


Amended financial benchmarking tool

The schools financial benchmarking tool allows you to check how your finances compare with other schools or academy trusts. Comparing budgets in this way can help identify whether spending could be more efficient, particularly in the four main cost areas (staff, premises, occupation, supplies and services) as well as sub-categories of expenditure. It also connects you with other schools or trusts to discuss challenges and successes.

Benchmarking can thus inform your school development process by helping you to consider if resource allocation is working and whether spending outcomes can be improved.

However, benchmarking is only a guide; some schools may find themselves at the upper or lower extremes of the spending scale. Benchmarking data should therefore be used alongside other things you know about your school. You can find out more on this topic by visiting the NGA guidance centre finance section, which covers a selection of finance related topics aimed at informing and helping governors and trustees perform their role effectively.


Over 1,000 Headteachers set to march on Westminster

On Friday 28 September over 1,000 headteachers from all over the country marched to Westminster to deliver a letter to Phillip Hammond, the chancellor, calling for increased funding and outlining how seven years of budget cuts have resulted in financial crisis for a lot of schools.

The march has been organised by the WorthLess? Campaign launched by Jules White, who has accused the DfE of being in denial about the financial pressures faced by schools. White said: “the DfE appear to be in complete denial as to what we are all facing on the ground. There’s no need for heads to exaggerate the problem but what we do need is meaningful support and not the same tired old mantra about ‘record levels of school spending’”.

Earlier this year it was reported that “90% of heads had to use cash for disadvantaged pupils to prop up budgets” in spite of changes to the funding formula. Just one in five respondents to the annual school governance survey by NGA and Tes said they were confident that they can manage budget constraints without compromising the quality of education. Only half of respondents said that that they are balancing income and expenditure with almost a third drawing on reserves. 75% of those drawing on reserves said these would be exhausted within two years.

The Department for Education (DfE) argue that more money is going into schools than ever before. However, a report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies revealed that “between 2009-10 and 2017-18, total school spending per pupil in England fell by about 8% in real terms”.

NGA has been encouraging governing boards across the country to make their voices heard about their financial situation and lobby their MPs as part of our Funding the Future campaign. This year’s governance survey showed 71% of respondents listing funding as the main issue facing the school they govern. Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association, said: “this survey provides evidence, from the people who sign off school budgets, that schools are increasingly unable to provide a good quality of education because of funding. If we want to avoid negative effects on pupils, then simply, we need to increase the amount of money available to state funded schools overall”.


Poll reveals severe pressures on frontline children and families services

This week, children’s charity Barnardo’s has released YouGov data from a poll of 1,093 adults. Of these, “293 work in law enforcement, 295 are social workers and 513 work in education”. The poll warned that, despite respondents reporting a 60% increase in the number of “vulnerable children” over the past 5 years, local authorities and health providers are struggling to provide “frontline services” due to funding cuts. Indeed, 77% of respondents argued that “there is insufficient resource to meet demand across services”.

Some of the other headline findings from the poll include:

  • 72% of respondents, including 85% of social workers, “think social workers are unable to give all children on their caseloads the support and time they need”
  • 68% of respondents say that families and young people are waiting too long to receive frontline support, with 40% saying that “children experience increased incidents of abuse and trauma whilst waiting to be offered a service”

While these figures are worrying in themselves, NGA is concerned that schools are increasingly providing support to families and children in severe need. NGA’s recent School Governance Survey 2018 (which collected 5,218 responses) found that many schools are providing additional services for families in need, including washing school uniforms (5%), meals outside of term time (4%), food banks (7%) and emergency loans (2%). As part of the ongoing Spotlight on Disadvantage project, NGA is looking to explore the support schools are giving to families and children in more detail over the next twelve months.


Teacher’s pension payments set to rise

As part of the wider government review of public sector pension schemes, schools have been contacted suggesting that contributions will rise to 23.6% from September 2019. This is up from 16.48% for the 2018-2019 school year.

The DfE affirmed that there “will be funding from the DfE for the financial year 2019-20”.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, expressed that schools were “very concerned” about the impacts of the rising costs. He asserted that teachers should be “reassured” by DfE commitments to provide extra funding for 2019-2020, but concerned at the lack of concrete proposals for the future:

“… Schools and colleges face uncertainty beyond 2019-20 because we will not know the arrangements for future years until the comprehensive spending review has taken place next year”.


School census 2018-19: guide for Schools and LAs

The DfE has updated its guidance on submitting school census data. It will help schools and local authorities understand the purpose and rationale of the school census as well as aiding them when completing the 2018-19 school census collections.

 

Research shows a positive link between literacy and a child’s wellbeing

A new report by the National Literacy Trust explores the link between “mental wellbeing, reading and writing enjoyment, attitudes and behaviours”. The report is based on findings from the eighth Annual Literacy Survey of over 49,000 young people aged 8 to 18. The study utilises a Mental Wellbeing Index and literacy engagement score to quantify responses from children and young people.

The key findings from the report include:

  • children who are the most engaged with literacy are three times more likely to have higher levels of mental wellbeing than children who are the least engaged - 39.4% vs 11.8%
  • conversely, children who are the least engaged with literacy are twice as likely to have low levels of mental wellbeing than their peers who are the most engaged - 37.4% vs 15%
  • children with above expected reading skills are three times more likely to have high levels of mental wellbeing than their peers with below expected reading skills - 40.3% vs 13.1%
  • as children transition from primary to secondary school, their levels of literacy engagement and mental wellbeing both begin and continue to decline”

You can read the report in full here. The governing board has a vital role to play when it comes to pupil and staff mental health and wellbeing and should consider adopting a strategic whole school approach to promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. For further information on supporting pupil wellbeing, see the NGA guidance centre.


9 in 10 Girls fear going to school on their period, study finds

Polling company, YouGov, has found that 91% of girls fear going to school on their period, contributing to 35,000 missing lessons as a result, while 94% of boys stated they do not properly understand menstruation. The ‘Fear Going to School Less’ report aims to put a spotlight on what is still sometimes a ‘taboo’ topic for schools.

The research, conducted in association with menstrual care brand Bodyform, has highlighted the lack of education children receive about periods and the disparity in understanding between girls and boys. 72% of boys claim to have no dedicated education on periods, but 66% of male respondents to the survey stated that they believed they should know about menstruation.

Traci Baxter, marketing manager at Bodyform, has argued that lack of education on the topic has led to a bullying culture. She’s stated: “our research found that there is a lack of period education for boys which is resulting in a generation of boys not knowing basic facts about periods and sometimes joking and teasing”.

Governors should be aware of the statutory guidance which they should be following to ensure that children at their schools receive a well-rounded and balanced education beyond core subjects.

For more information on PSHE education, please consult our Governing Matters article on the topic.


DfE release provisional data on key stage 1 assessments and phonics

This week, the department for education (DfE) has released provisional data on key stage 1 assessments (which covers maths, science, writing and reading in year 2) and the ‘phonics screening check’. The data shows that 82% of pupils in 2018 met the expected standard in phonics, up by 1% compared to 2017.

The data also shows that, based on teacher assessment:

  • 75% of pupils met the expected standard in reading, down 1% compared to last year
  • 76% of pupils met the expected standard in maths, up 1% compared to last year
  • 83% of pupils met the expected standard in science, down 1% compared to last year

For more information on attainment and progress in primary schools, including information on how to interpret data, please visit the NGA guidance centre.


Sports England to invest £13.5 million in PE teacher workforce skills

Following a successful pilot, Sports England has this week announced £13.5 million of funding for a teacher training programme offering “free training … [for] … 7,000 secondary school PE teachers to help foster a more positive attitude to physical education”.

The funding for these training programmes will be administered by teaching schools across the country and Sports England encourage all schools interested in accessing the funding to contact their local teaching schools alliance (TSA). Sports England state that they aim to give “all schools in England the opportunity to take part by 2021”.

Those governing should pass this information on to their headteacher. For more information on school sport, particularly in terms of the PE and sports premium for primary schools, please visit the NGA website.


NGA is recruiting for a new Web and Marketing Officer

We are currently looking for an ambitious and experienced individual to join our growing team at a very exciting time for NGA. Our website is the key feature of the benefits provided to our members and has strong analytics. To continue to provide a high-quality membership service, NGA has commissioned the development of a new website this academic year. This role will play a key part in the delivery of our new website and provides a real opportunity for the post holder to get hands-on experience in this area working with our chosen website developer and the internal team at NGA.

In addition to the website responsibilities, the post-holder will work with the Head of Marketing and Communications to support the execution of our marketing plan in line with NGA’s corporate strategic objectives.

The post-holder will be responsible for updating and developing NGA’s web presence and providing marketing support. Strong personal, organisation and communication skills are essential, as is attention to detail. The ideal candidate will have previous experience of working in a web and marketing environment. With a flair for creative design, you will be able to bring our vision to life.

For full details, please view the NGA website. The closing Date for Applications: 9.00 am on Monday 8th October 2018 and interviews will be held on Thursday 18th October 2018 (Please keep this date available).


NGA Autumn 2018 Events

South West Regional Conference

Don’t miss the last chance to book for the South West Regional Conference on Saturday 6 October 2018, in Taunton. Registration closes on Wednesday 3 October 2018 and there are a few places left.

Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governance Association, will be delivering the keynote presentation: Good governance – ethical, effective and accountable.

Representatives from the DfE will be presenting on financial oversight, and in response to our two most recent surveys of members, there will also be an interactive session focussing on the effective governance of SEND.

Book your place directly on our events page now before closing on 3 October 2018.

North East Regional Conference

Places available at landmark venue for the North East Regional Conference on Saturday 13 October 2018 in Gateshead, Newcastle.

Emma Knights, NGA Chief Executive, will be delivering the keynote presentation: Good governance – ethical, effective and accountable.

Ryan Gibson, Facilitator for the Gatsby career pilot, North East Local Enterprise Partnership, will present an overview of the Gatsby Benchmarks. Representatives from the DfE will also be delivering key information on financial oversight and getting best value.

All day catering is included with a hot fork buffet lunch. Don’t miss out on attending this unique event at a local landmark venue book now to secure your place.

Community MATs Network

An increasingly popular event, this network meeting will be taking place in central Birmingham on Friday 16 November 2018.

The Community MATs network is an opportunity for trustees and clerks of multi-academy trusts (MATs) to come together, discuss their experiences and share best practice.

Following a successful event in the spring and summer of 2018, the upcoming event in central Birmingham will touch on vital topics including:

  • Financial governance in MATs – new requirements from the Academies Financial Handbook 2018
  • Schemes of delegation
  • Communications within MATs

Previous meetings have provoked lively discussion and the day will be structured informally with opportunities for everyone to speak.

A buffet lunch is included. Book your place now to avoid disappointment.


Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfENGA-Leading-Governance-MASTER-(300-CMYK).jpg

“The combination of mentor support, learning material, 360° appraisal, networking opportunities and structured thinking time allowed for periods of reflection that enabled me to modify my leadership style and put learning into practice.”

“The face-to-face sessions were particularly informative and I appreciated the opportunities to network with other clerks.”

Development for Clerks

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking.

Cost: Only £75 to pay if you receive funding from the DFE. Check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

Registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Rochdale

15 October

10 January

 

Available to book for this term:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Wigan

15 October

29 October

25 January

Newquay

15 October

29 October

23 January

Penzance

15 October

29 October

24 January

North Devon (Woolacombe)

15 October

29 October

25 January

South Devon (Okehampton)

15 October

29 October

28 January

Plymouth

15 October

29 October

29 January

Torbay

15 October

29 October

30 January

Wolverhampton

22 October

5 November

4 February

Ealing and Hounslow

29 October

12 November

7 February

Croydon

29 October

12 November

8 February

Stoke and Cheshire East

29 October

12 November

13 February

Additional cohorts are available on the NGA website.

Development for Chairs

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance.

Cost: Funding is available up to the value of £500.

Check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

Registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Camden and Islington

1 October

14 November

Rochdale

15 October

22 November

Swindon

15 October

23 November


Available to book for this term:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Wigan

8 October

22 October

22 November

Wolverhampton

22 October

5 November

11 December

Nottinghamshire

29 October

12 November

11 January

Croydon

29 October

12 November

12 January

Coventry

12 November

26 November

12 January

Bedford

26 November

10 December

16 January

Additional cohorts are available on the NGA website.

DON’T MISS OUT!

Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis.

Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 21/09/2018

School governance in 2018 report launched with funding and recruitment the top concerns

The school governance in 2018 report, released this week, reveals the findings of our annual survey exploring the views and experiences of school governors and trustees. 5,218 school governors and trustees took part in the survey, reflecting all types and phases of state-funded school across every region of England. The report aims to inform education policy and school governance practice. 

Amongst the findings, the survey found that:

  • Three quarters of governors and trustees have a negative view of the government’s performance in education over the past year.
  • Just one in five are confident that they can manage budget constraints without compromising the quality of education. Only half of respondents said that that they are balancing income and expenditure with almost a third drawing on reserves.
  • Staff recruitment is particularly challenging in regions surrounding London and in schools with lower Ofsted grades.
  • Many respondents said that their school provides additional services for families in need, including washing school uniforms (5%), meals outside of term time (4%), food banks (7%) and emergency loans (2%).

The report contains analysis of the findings and recommendations for governing boards and the Department for Education. You can read the report here and share your views on social media using #SchoolGovernance2018. To read the press release, please click here.


Changes to NGA’s leadership team: could you be our new Director of Advice and Guidance?

Just before Christmas, we will be saying good-bye and thank you to Gillian Allcroft, NGA’s Deputy Chief Executive. In light of Gillian’s departure, NGA’s trustees have reviewed the leadership structure and have decided to create a new post of Director of Advice and Guidance. This director post will not only oversee and develop the NGA’s advice service and guidance centre, but also play an important role in helping achieve positive change in the practice of school governance in state schools in England.

Maggi Bull, chair of NGA’s board of trustees, said: “Gillian will be missed at NGA. She has played a really important role in every one of the twelve years of our existence. We have individually and as a board benefitted from Gillian’s advice and guidance. This change brings a new opportunity: we are very pleased to be offering this new post of Director of Advice and Guidance. We are aiming to find someone with deep knowledge of education legislation and policy, extensive experience of school governance, and who has the enthusiasm for the subject and for NGA’s charitable aim of improving the educational welfare of pupils.”

To read Gillian Allcroft’s and Emma Knights’ comments click here.

For more information and to apply for the Director of Advice and Guidance click here. The closing date for applying is 9am on Monday 15 October 2018.


Cuts to sixth forms and local authority services putting squeeze on schools

On Monday, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) published the first in an annual series of reports on education spending in England. The analysis looks at different areas of state spending on education, from early years through to schools, further education and skills and finally higher education.

The key findings for schools include total school spending per pupil falling by 8% between 2009-10 and 2017-18. This figure reflects cuts to local authority service spending, which has seen a 55% real terms reduction, and school sixth form spending, which has seen a 20% real terms reduction per pupil.

The analysis looked at schools’ costs, finding that “between 2015-16 and 2019-20, additional employer costs and the ending of the 1% public sector pay cap mean that we expect public sector pay per head to grow faster (11%) than inflation (7%)”. This will put further pressure on schools budgets.

At the launch, report author Luke Sibieta called for “crisis talks” on further education and sixth form funding following the finding that it had been cut much more sharply than other areas of education funding. He argued that as evidence suggests the impact of spending on different phases is cumulative and complementary, a more deliberate policy for how money is distributed is needed.

Funding was the issue raised most frequently by governors and trustees in this year’s school governance survey, with almost a third of respondents revealing that their school(s) had an in-year deficit at the end of last year. NGA will continue to campaign for an increase in the overall schools budget to compensate for rising cost pressures and the loss of local authority services, as well as increased spending on post-16 education and investment in support services for schools and pupils. Find out more about the Funding the Future campaign and how you can get involved here.


Outstanding Governance Awards 2019 – is governance in your group of schools outstanding?Awards-2019-logo-PNG-(1).png

If your board governs a group of schools (federation or multi academy trust) and has created positive outcomes through effective governance and outstanding leadership then we want to hear about your achievements in the Outstanding Governance Awards 2019. By entering the awards, you will have the opportunity to reflect on your governing board’s work and to gain deserved recognition for your good practice and success.

When you complete the nomination form, you will be asked to evidence how your governing board fulfils the three core functions. You will also need to describe how the board has gone beyond the basics of its core responsibilities to have a significant impact on the group of schools. This might be by bringing a school in need of support into the group and successfully turning it around; changing the culture of the group of schools in a significant way; or innovative joint working between schools. You will need to show how the governing board has adapted its governance structure in response to any issues that have arisen or recommendations about good practice too.

The Spring Partnership Trust were our winners in this category in the 2017 awards and said of their achievement: “We are delighted to win this award which is the culmination of an eight year journey from mediocre governance in a coasting school to outstanding governance in one of the larger primary-only MAT’s in the country. We have made and continue to make a very real difference to hundreds of pupils who are now part of our trust.”

Top of page

Education and Skills Funding Agency detail changes to financial handbook

Eileen Milner, Chief Executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), has outlined the most significant changes to the Academies Financial Handbook in a letter to the leadership of trusts. The letter has highlighted important updates, including the changing of rules on related party transactions, which will now be need to be declared and approved if over £20,000. Also discussed is the expectations for trusts to ensure that they are “transparent, proportionate and justifiable” in regard to executive pay. Under the new handbook, trusts will have to report which employees have annual pay over £100,000.

The ESFA has also reminded trustees of their role in scrutinising the trust budget, and ensuring they keep up to date on the monthly financial management reports of the trust. The agency called attention to the governance role in financial management, and specified the governance duty as an “oversight role”, chiefly to “hold executive leaders to account”.

Those governing should be aware that it is their duty to stay up to date on the current statutory guidance and ensure their organisation is compliant. Trust boards should also ensure that they have robust measures in place to oversee finance and make sure money is well spent for the benefit of all the pupils across the trust.

The latest Academies Financial Handbook was published earlier this year in June, and can be found on the DfE website.

For more on what those governing need to know about financial management, please visit the NGA Guidance Centre.


Ofsted’s curriculum research: HMCI commentary

Last year, Ofsted published the first phase of a study which found evidence of “a general lack of curriculum knowledge in school” and “weak practises such a narrowing curriculum and teaching to the test”.

This week, Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Ofsted, has published a new commentary which outlines that a new inspection framework will have the curriculum as a central focus and acknowledges that Ofsted has placed “too much weight on test and exam results”.

The commentary outlines the findings of a second study into curriculum where inspectors visited 23 schools rated good or outstanding between January and March 2018. They used three categories to describe the approaches to curriculum design in schools – “knowledge-led, used in about a third of schools, knowledge-engaged, used in around half of schools, and skills-led, used in a ‘small group’ of schools in the study”.

Spielman underlines that “we make no value judgements about these categories” as each school curriculum is unique and often related to the local context and to the needs of pupils. The commentary assesses the strengths and weakness of each approach taken by curriculum leaders and highlights that “knowledge and the capacity it provides to apply skills and deepen understanding are essential ingredients of successful curriculum design”.

The study finds that strong leadership on curriculum design is important but that it is also necessary to consider “how well the curriculum is implemented through well-taught and appropriately sequenced content, thoughtfully designed assessment practice and consideration of an appropriate model of progression”. You can read the commentary in full here.

The next phase of Ofsted’s research will look into curriculum implementation. The findings will feed into the upcoming consultation on the new framework which is due to be published in 2019. NGA will be working on broad and balanced curriculum project this year and will keep members up to date on this topic.


MPs rally together to save maintained nursey schools

This week, a new research report has been released exploring “the role and future of maintained nursery schools in London”. Based on interviews with maintained nursery school leaders in London, the report stresses that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with special educational needs and disabilities are disproportionately over represented in maintained nursey schools. As such, the government need to ensure that these settings have “the expertise and experience to ensure that these children receive the wide-ranging support they need to make good progress at nursery and throughout their lives”.

This report comes on the back of research carried out by London Council in 2017 which revealed that maintained nursery schools in a third of London boroughs face closure within the next two years unless the government continues to provide financial support. While the government has previously allocated £60 million worth of financial support to maintained nursery schools, such financial support is due to cease in 2019/20. Reacting to these developments, a large number of MPs have signed a letter addressed to the education and treasury ministers requesting them to ensure maintained nursey schools continue to receive funding.

This year’s school governance survey adds further weight to the evidence that early years providers are struggling financially – with only a fifth of early years and nursey providers saying that funding is sufficient. As part of the Funding the Future campaign, NGA is committed to increasing investment in early years education which is “vital to ensuring that children and young people receive the education and opportunities they deserve”.


Study finds teacher job satisfaction low in England

An international study of teacher job satisfaction, conducted by the UCL Institute of Education, has been published. It found that teachers in England are among the least satisfied compared to 22 other countries.

The study divided countries by how easily survey results could be compared, based on cultural, linguistic and social norms, with thirteen countries identified as being those which could be most reliably compared to England. Among those, ten had a teacher job satisfaction that was “much higher” than England, while two countries had a teacher job satisfaction which was merely “higher.” Just one, Slovakia, had a teacher job satisfaction which was about the same as that in England. Among the other nine countries which could be reasonably compared to England, seven had a higher or much higher teacher satisfaction than England. Only Latvia and the Czech Republic had a satisfaction that was about the same.

With workload often being cited as a key factor influencing job satisfaction, this years’ school governance survey revealed some useful methods employed by schools to reduce teacher workload. This included “giving teachers more non-contact time, reducing class sizes, changing marking and feedback policies, restricting the times of day emails are sent to staff, redistributing responsibilities and increasing the support available to teachers from administrative staff and teaching assistants”. However, less than half of respondents’ noted that their schools had put in place such measures – with many respondents reporting that “they were being forced to do the opposite as a result of funding pressures”.

For more on reducing teacher workload, as well as recruitment and retention, please visit the NGA Guidance Centre.


Guidance on schools forums

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has updated its operational and good practice guide on schools forums. Each local authority area has a schools forum, made up of representatives from schools and academies, to advise on the allocation of funding for schools.

Although the intention is that the national funding formula will eventually mean that there is no role for schools forums in deciding the allocation of funding locally, the Department for Education has announced that the current transitional phase will continue until at least 2020-21.

The guide goes through constitutional and procedural issues relating to schools forums as well as recommending good practice to aid schools forum effectiveness. This will be of relevance to governors and trustees who have been elected to their local schools forum and to others interested in how funding is allocated to their school.

The NGA guidance centre has a wide range of information on school funding and financial governance, which is available here.


Analyse school performance (ASP) – Data management

This week, the Department for Education (DfE) has released new data management functionality within Analyse School Performance (ASP). 

ASP is the Department for Education’s (DfE’s) replacement data service for RAISEonline. ASP provides school leaders with a detailed breakdown of how schools, and different pupil groups (with a particular emphasis on disadvantaged pupils), have performed in key stage 1 and 2 (for primary schools), key stage 4 (for secondary schools) and key stage 5 (for 16-19 providers). ASP is a free to access service which requires users to login through the DfE’s sign-in portal. Those governing are entitled to login details and should speak to the individual who sends data returns at the school (in the first instance) who can help them set up an account.

The changes to ASP this week allows school named users to create a custom view by removing one or more pupils from their phonics, KS1, KS2 or KS4 data to carry out “what if” scenarios. School users are able to toggle between their default and custom views for most headline reports (a list of reports and data items which cannot be updated by data management are shown on the Data management homepage). Data management is available for the most recent year’s data held in ASP (i.e. 2017) and will be updated as and when new data becomes available.

For more information on understanding data, including detailed guidance for those governing on accessing and using ASP, please visit the NGA Guidance Centre.


National School Breakfast Programme

Schools in disadvantaged areas of England are encouraged to apply for the Department for Education’s free National School Breakfast Programme (NSBP), delivered by the charities Family Action and Magic Breakfast.

Most eligible schools will receive free, healthy breakfast food delivered direct to their door for four terms. They will also get support from a dedicated NSBP staff member, along with additional resources, access to best practice events and a £500 start-up grant for necessary equipment such as toasters or a freezer.

While application and arrangements are an operational matter, improving disadvantaged pupils’ experiences of school and education, in addition to educational outcomes, is part of the governing board’s role. The 2018 annual survey found that almost half of schools surveyed are providing additional services for families experiencing financial hardship.

Schools can check their eligibility by filling out an Expression of Interest form on the Family Action or Magic Breakfast websites.

If you would like more information, please contact nsbp@family-action.org.uk.


Education secretary announces technical education “fact-finding mission” in Europe

This week, the secretary of state for education, Damian Hinds, has written in The Times about his intention to embark on a “fact finding mission to Germany and Netherlands” as part of a project to improve technical education provision in England.

With recent changes to the vocational education system, including an overhaul of apprenticeships and the introduction of new T-levels, Mr Hinds intends to visit employers and technical colleges in Germany and the Netherlands to export some of the practice to Britain. Commenting on how Britain can learn from the German model, Mr Hinds commended the “highly skilled” and “productive” German economy and outlined that “technical and vocational training in Germany is high calibre, combining classroom instruction and on-the-job training”. Furthermore, he stated that technical education in Germany “is not perceived as being less prestigious than university, with near half of young Germans taking this route, often through apprenticeships”. In terms of the Netherlands, Mr Hinds was particualrly impressed by the country’s low rates of unemployment and that schools and colleges “link education and work at a young age, meaning 12-year-olds are considering possible career options when they choose their subjects; with vocational options proving the most popular”.

NGA will report on the findings from this “fact-finding mission” via the weekly newsletter when more information is released by the department for education. Those governing are reminded of their duty to ensure that young people in their school receive age-appropriate and impartial careers advice which includes unbiased information on technical education routes – more information can be found on the NGA Guidance Centre.


NGA is recruiting for a new Web and Marketing Officer

We are currently looking for an ambitious and experienced individual to join our growing team at a very exciting time for NGA. Our website is the key feature of the benefits provided to our members and has strong analytics. To continue to provide a high-quality membership service, NGA has commissioned the development of a new website this academic year. This role will play a key part in the delivery of our new website and provides a real opportunity for the post holder to get hands-on experience in this area working with our chosen website developer and the internal team at NGA.

In addition to the website responsibilities, the post-holder will work with the Head of Marketing and Communications to support the execution of our marketing plan in line with NGA’s corporate strategic objectives.

The post-holder will be responsible for updating and developing NGA’s web presence and providing marketing support. Strong personal, organisation and communication skills are essential, as is attention to detail. The ideal candidate will have previous experience of working in a web and marketing environment. With a flair for creative design, you will be able to bring our vision to life.

For full details, please view the NGA website. The closing Date for Applications: 9.00 am on Monday 8th October 2018 and interviews will be held on Thursday 18th October 2018 (Please keep this date available).


NGA Trustee Elections

Each year a proportion of positions on the NGA board of trustees come up for election. This year nominations are sought in three regions: East Midlands, North West and South West.

The NGA recognises that a diverse board can help to strengthen decision-making by considering issues from more perspectives. We would welcome nominations in particular from candidates from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

For more information about standing for the NGA board click here.


Call for governors and trustees to participate in survey on careers guidance

The Gatsby Foundation has commissioned Pye Tait Consulting to carry out a survey of governors and trustees to understand what they think about the subject of careers guidance. The survey will explore how views have changed since the release of the Government’s Careers Strategy in December 2017.

Click here to take the 10 minute online survey. 

Pye Tait Consulting are also contacting schools and colleges by telephone to gather the views of school and college leaders. The results of both surveys will be used to inform how the Gatsby Foundation might continue to support careers guidance in the future.

If, in addition to the survey for governors, you know of a school leader willing to volunteer their views on careers guidance, please email Susan Ellison on s.ellison@pyetait.com (01423 509433). 

If you would like to know more about the research, please contact the project manager, Clare Vokes on c.vokes@pyetait.com or Rebecca Briscoe r.briscoe@pyetait.com (01423 509433).

Your views will be treated confidentially by Pye Tait Consulting and reported to The Gatsby Foundation anonymously in line with GDPR, the Market Research Society Code of Conduct and the Data Protection Act 1998.


The Academies Show London, Wednesday 21 November 2018, NEC Birmingham

NGA are delighted to announce our Partnership with the Schools & Academies Show, taking place on Wednesday 21 November 2018 at the NEC, Birmingham.

The Schools & Academies Show is one of the largest education events in the UK, delivering senior government speakers and association leaders from across the sector and providing free CPD-certified seminar content for those at the forefront of education, twice yearly.

NGA members can register for free and gain access to CPD-certified seminar content and best-practice workshops. The Schools & Academies Show 2018 is not to be missed!

As well as hosting a dedicated hub space at the event, the NGA team will be taking part in sessions including:

How should we be funding our schools?

  • Emma Knights OBE, Chief Executive, National Governance Association
  • Dame Rachel de Souza, Chief Executive, Inspiration Trust

Spotlight on Disadvantage: Making the Most of the Pupil Premium

  • Tom Fellows, Senior Research Lead, National Governance Association
  • Matthew Clements-Wheeler, Deputy Head (Business Management), Bordesley Green Girls’ School

Whose strategy is it anyway? How vision, ethos and strategy can determine your trust‘s culture

  • Clare Collins MBE, Head of Consultancy, National Governance Association
  • Paul Aber, Head of Training Development, National Governance Association

Join other school leaders and register for your FREE PASS HERE or call 0161 211 3450. The pass includes access to all the content at the show, the exhibition, a free lunch and free parking. 

We hope you can join us at the show on Wednesday 21 November and look forward to seeing you there.


NGA Autumn 2018 Events

South West Regional Conference

Last few places available for the South West Regional Conference on Saturday 6 October 2018, in Taunton.

Representatives from the DfE will be presenting on financial oversight, and in response to our two most recent surveys of members, there will also be an interactive session focussing on the effective governance of SEND.

Don’t miss out on a place at this key event in the region and book your place directly on our events page now.

North East Regional Conference

Places available at landmark venue for the North East Regional Conference on Saturday 13 October 2018 in Gateshead, Newcastle.

Professor Rob Coe from Durham University has been invited to deliver the keynote address. Ryan Gibson, Facilitator for the Gatsby career pilot, North East Local Enterprise Partnership, will present an overview of the Gatsby Benchmarks. Representatives from the DfE will also be delivering key information on financial oversight.

All day catering is included with a hot buffet lunch. Don’t miss out and book now to secure your place.

Community MATs Network

An increasingly popular event, this network meeting will be taking place in central Birmingham on Friday 16 November 2018.

The Community MATs network is an opportunity for trustees and clerks of multi-academy trusts (MATs) to come together, discuss their experiences and share best practice.

Following a successful event in the spring and summer of 2018, the upcoming event in central Birmingham will touch on vital topics including:

  • Financial governance in MATs – new requirements from the Academies Financial Handbook 2018
  • Schemes of delegation
  • Communications within MATs

Previous meetings have provoked lively discussion and the day will be structured informally with opportunities for everyone to speak.

A buffet lunch is included. Book your place now to avoid disappointment.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 14/09/2018

Improving school accountability

The final report of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) Accountability Commission, Improving School Accountability, has been published today. Emma Knights, chief executive of NGA, contributed to the review, which focuses on school performance measures and the role of Ofsted.

The commission aimed to address perceived flaws in the current accountability system. This includes: incentivising schools to act in their own interests rather than that of the wider community; narrowing the curriculum and encouraging teaching to the test; putting teachers and school leaders off working in challenging settings; and driving good people from the profession.

The recommendations made in the report are:

  1. Comparative performance data (based on a three-year average) should be used to inform Ofsted judgements.
  2. The Department for Education (DfE) should use ‘requires improvement’ as the trigger for funded school improvement support.
  3. Ofsted’s role should be reformed with a focus on identifying failure and diagnosing reasons behind schools’ struggles.
  4. ‘Outstanding’ schools should be subject to regular inspection.
  5. The ‘outstanding’ judgement should be replaced by a robust system for identifying excellent practice.
  6. Ofsted should commission research into the format and nature of inspection required.
  7. National accreditation arrangements should be developed for peer review programmes.
  8. Alternative national standards for headteachers should be developed.
  9. The DfE’s careers progression strategy should incorporate support for recently appointed headteachers.

This report comes at a time when Ofsted are planning the roll-out of their new inspection framework, due to be implemented from September 2019. With fears expressed that Ofsted are planning large-scale changes without giving teachers and system leaders’ time to reflect on or embed the changes, NAHT argue that Ofsted is at a “cross-road” and should carefully consider the findings of the accountability commission before launching a new system of inspection.  

The report has little to say on the role of governing boards in the accountability system and this is something that NGA will be doing more work on over the coming year.

Those governing have an important role to play in ensuring that schools react to the pressures of accountability in an ethical manner, remain mindful of the needs of the whole community and resist any pressure to narrow the curriculum.

For more information on governing boards’ role in holding schools to account, visit the NGA Guidance Centre. A new blog by Emma Knights, published today, reflects on the work of the commission and its importance for governors and trustees.


Hinds defends record on academies during Parliamentary questions

The secretary of state for education, Damian Hinds, faced tough questions earlier this week, as he defended the government’s record on a variety of topics, ranging from academisation to the funding provision for Sixth Form students.

When asked about the value of academisation, the secretary of state responded by coming out in defence of the governments record on academies, calling them overall a "great force for good". He explained:

"Something like half a million pupils are now studying in sponsored academies that are rated good or outstanding, and those academies typically replaced underperforming schools."

The secretary of state firmly rejected the claim that there was “damning evidence from Ofsted’s own figures that showed that it rated schools by deprivation, rather than by the quality of teaching and learning”, and went on to herald the “worthwhile and high-quality job” performed by the inspectorate.

To read the full script of the questions on Hansard, please click here. For more of NGA’s updates on parliamentary business, please click here.


Panorama investigation into Bright Tribe Academy trust

This week’s BBC Panorama, which aired on Monday 10 September, accused Bright Tribe Academy trust of “making false claims for grants” from the government. 

The documentary reported that the trust was awarded over half a million for rebuilding part of a sports centre, yet the trust did not carry out the work it had promised and instead spent roughly £60,000 on repairing the existing structure. The programme also referred to a number of other instances in which it said Bright Tribe had received grants, but not used them for the intended purpose.

As part of their investigation, Panorama also uncovered some potential issues relating to the governance of the trust. Bright Tribe was founded by Michael Dwan and, while not a trustee himself, the BBC outlined that “his charities controlled the trust … and he chaired board meetings as their representative”. In addition, Panorama investigators spoke “to numerous insiders who say he made all the key decisions”. Furthermore, in a serious conflict of interest, Mr Dwan’s company received £8 million for building and maintenance work at Bright Tribe – although Mr Dwan did claim to have made a “loss” on all work his company carried out on the MAT.

Those governing need to remember they are subject to the Nolan principles of public life. NGA has undertaken a significant amount of work in relation to ethical governance and conflicts of interest. Those governing need to ensure not only that fellows governors/trustees are not financially benefitting from their position, but there can be no perception they are. Conflicts of interest, particularly when very large sums of public money are at stake, are very difficult to manage well and are generally best avoided.


New EPI report exploring admissions to secondary schools and parental choice

This week, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) has released a report exploring the relationship between secondary school admissions and parental choice.

Amongst the findings, the research revealed that while “white British families are 4% less likely than black parents to apply to a good school” in London, “when they do they are 19% more likely to be offered their first preference school”. The EPI is commissioning further research to explore the reasons behind these “stark ethnic gaps” and to assess whether these trends are reflected on a national scale.

Visit the NGA research page for a summary of the findings from this report.


DfE release further information on the teachers’ pay grant

In July, the Department for Education (DfE) announced that classroom teachers would receive a 3.5% rise from 1 September 2018. While schools will need to fund the first 1% of this rise, the government announced that £187m (in 2018/19) and £321m (in 2019/20) would be given to schools to fund the other 2.5% through a teachers’ pay grant.

To help school leaders and those governing plan for the new teachers’ pay grant, the government has released a short guide which can be accessed here. At this stage, the guide outlines how the pay grant is calculated for each school and how schools can expect to receive the funding. The DfE outline that further information will be available in October, with payments being made later in the autumn.

For more information on the teacher and school leader pay decision, read NGA’s news release here. For more general information on pay in schools, please visit the NGA Guidance Centre.


New OECD report reveals comparatively high secondary headteacher pay in England

On 11 September, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released Education at a Glance 2018. This report drew upon data collected by the OECD looking at the educational “structure, finances and performance” of 36 countries across the world, including the United Kingdom.

Of particular interest to governors and trustees, this year’s report drew some revealing comparisons between secondary school headteacher pay in England and secondary school headteacher pay in other OECD countries.

Visit the NGA research page for a summary of the findings from this report.


Commission on Religious Education calls for subject overhaul

This week, the final report of the Commission on Religious Education entitled ‘Religion and Worldviews: The way forward’ was published. The Commission calls for an overhaul of the subject to include teaching about non-religious beliefs to better reflect the diversity of modern society.

The report sets out recommendations to improve the variable quality of RE experienced by pupils in England and to address the legal arrangements around RE which are “no longer effective” as more schools become academies. The Commission suggests a new National Plan for RE to ensure “that learning in this area remains academically rigorous and a knowledge-rich preparation for life in a world of great religion and belief diversity”. The three core elements of the plan are:

  1. To offer a new vision for Religion and Worldviews as “the subject should explore the important role that religious and non-religious worldviews play in all human life”.
  2. For all pupils to have access to high quality teaching through a statutory National Entitlement which should apply to all schools.
  3. For significant investment in two crucial areas: teacher education and the local structures which support local communities to continue to have a role in supporting RE.

You can read the findings of the report and recommendation in full here. For the past two years Emma Knights, chief executive of NGA, has been a member of the Commission on RE. Emma has written a blog on her experience and on the role of the governing board in ensuring that the school meets its statutory responsibility to teach pupils RE which can be accessed here.


EEF publications on grouping and setting pupils

Last week, the Education Endowment Foundation updated their Teaching and Learning Toolkit with new findings regarding the impact of grouping students on boosting attainment.

According to the findings, setting or streaming by grouping pupils of similar attainment levels for lessons is, on average, unlikely to boost learning for all pupils. However, grouping pupils together for specific activities according to their current attainment, but within the same class and with their usual teacher, can lead to additional gains of around three months of progress per year. It should be noted, though, that lower attaining pupils appear to benefit less from this approach than their higher attaining classmates.

This issue intersects with efforts to close the gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils. NGA’s ‘Spotlight on Disadvantage’ project is highlighting the enduring gap in attainment between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils. For more on NGA’s ‘Spotlight on Disadvantage’ project read our recent report on the role those governing play in spending, monitoring and evaluating the pupil premium.

On a more general note, this research, and other aspects of the EEF toolkit, will be of interest to governing boards when considering how to boost pupil attainment overall. The evidence in the toolkit is a useful tool to inform challenge of senior leaders, both when evaluating the success of current teaching and learning initiatives and when considering new strategies moving forwards.


Call for governors and trustees to participate in survey on careers guidance

The Gatsby Foundation has commissioned Pye Tait Consulting to carry out a survey of governors and trustees to understand what they think about the subject of careers guidance. The survey will explore how views have changed since the release of the Government’s Careers Strategy in December 2017 and the publication of statutory guidance on Careers guidance and access for education and training providers in January 2018.

The online survey, which will be live throughout September, will take less than 10 minutes to complete and can be accessed here.

Pye Tait Consulting are also contacting schools and colleges by telephone to gather the views of school and college leaders. The results of both surveys will be used to inform how the Gatsby Foundation might continue to support careers guidance in the future.

If, in addition to the survey for governors survey, you know of a school leader willing to volunteer their views on careers guidance, please email Susan Ellison on s.ellison@pyetait.com (01423 509433). 

If you would like to know more about the research, please contact the project manager, Clare Vokes on c.vokes@pyetait.com or Rebecca Briscoe r.briscoe@pyetait.com (01423 509433).

Your views will be treated confidentially by Pye Tait Consulting and reported to The Gatsby Foundation anonymously in line with GDPR, the Market Research Society Code of Conduct and the Data Protection Act 1998.


Join our Young Governors’ Network meetings in Sheffield, Manchester or Bristol

So far this month, the Young Governors’ Network has hosted two well-received networking events in London and Birmingham. These meetings have provided an opportunity for young governors, and young people aspiring to become a school governor, to meet peers in their local area and to discuss shared challenges and opportunities in being a young governor. During the pilot of the network, events in Birmingham and London were trialled. Now, for the first time, the YGN is visiting other areas of the country – Sheffield, Manchester and Bristol. Governors aged under 40 are encouraged to book their free place at these events where they will meet other young governors and take part in facilitated discussion about ‘courageous conversations’ and ‘governing board diversity’. We hope that these events will provide valuable insight and ideas for governors to use both in their governance role and professional role.

YGN is member-led: created and run by young governors with support from the National Governance Association and Inspiring Governance. To join these free events, please book using the links below:

  • Sheffield (Sheffield Hallam University) – Wednesday 19 September, 5.30pm – 7.30pm – book here
  • Manchester (Friends Meeting House, Manchester) – Wednesday 26 September, 6pm – 8pm – book here
  • Bristol (Clifton area) – Wednesday 3 October, 5.30pm – 7.30pm – book here

If you have a friend or colleague that you think would make a great governor, or who is interested in finding out more, please do invite them and ask them to register through the link.


The Academies Show London, Wednesday 21 November 2018, NEC Birmingham

NGA are delighted to announce our Partnership with the Schools & Academies Show, taking place on Wednesday 21 November 2018 at the NEC, Birmingham.

The Schools & Academies Show is one of the largest education events in the UK, delivering senior government speakers and association leaders from across the sector and providing free CPD-certified seminar content for those at the forefront of education, twice yearly.

NGA members can register for free and gain access to CPD-certified seminar content and best-practice workshops. The Schools & Academies Show 2018 is not to be missed!

As well as hosting a dedicated hub space at the event, the NGA team will be taking part in sessions including:

How should we be funding our schools?

  • Emma Knights OBE, Chief Executive, National Governance Association
  • Dame Rachel de Souza, Chief Executive, Inspiration Trust

Spotlight on Disadvantage: Making the Most of the Pupil Premium

  • Tom Fellows, Senior Research Lead, National Governance Association
  • Matthew Clements-Wheeler, Deputy Head (Business Management), Bordesley Green Girls’ School

Whose strategy is it anyway? How vision, ethos and strategy can determine your trust‘s culture

  • Clare Collins MBE, Head of Consultancy, National Governance Association
  • Paul Aber, Head of Training Development, National Governance Association

Join other school leaders and register for your FREE PASS HERE or call 0161 211 3450. The pass includes access to all the content at the show, the exhibition, a free lunch and free parking. 

We hope you can join us at the show on Wednesday 21 November and look forward to seeing you there.


NGA Autumn 2018 Events

Autumn Regional Conferences

Places on our autumn round of regional conferences are filling up fast.

These events are free for NGA members and provide a unique opportunity to network with fellow governors, trustees and clerks, hear current news and discuss a range of issues through sessions on the latest hot topics.

Our range of expert high-profile speakers provide practical advice and opportunities to stimulate lively debate and thought-provoking discussions.

In response to our two most recent surveys of members, there will be an interactive session at each of the regional conferences focussing on the effective governance of SEND.

Book your place at these key conferences in your area:

Leicester

Last chance to book for the East Midlands Regional Conference on Saturday 29 September 2018, which will be held in Leicester.

Regional Schools Commissioner for the East Midlands, John Edwards, will be delivering the keynote address on governance for school improvement in the East Midlands. Representatives from the DfE will also be delivering key information on financial oversight. Registration is filling up fast - book your place now.

Taunton

Places filling up fast for the South West Regional Conference on Saturday 6 October 2018, in Taunton.

A member of the Head Teachers Board will be delivering the keynote address and representatives from the DfE will also be presenting on financial oversight and getting best value. Don’t miss out on this key event - book your place now.

Gateshead

Places are available for the North East Regional Conference on Saturday 13 October 2018 in Gateshead, Newcastle.

Professor Rob Coe from Durham University has been invited to deliver the keynote address. Ryan Gibson, Facilitator for the Gatsby career pilot, North East Local Enterprise Partnership, will present an overview of the Gatsby Benchmarks. Representatives from the DfE will also be delivering key information on financial oversight. Don’t miss out - book now to secure your place.

Community MATs Network

The next meeting will be take place in central Birmingham on Friday 16 November 2018.

The Community MATs network is an opportunity for trustees and clerks of multi-academy trusts (MATs) to come together, discuss their experiences and share best practice.

Following a successful event in the spring and summer of 2018, the upcoming event in central Birmingham will touch on vital topics including:

  • Financial governance in MATs – new requirements from the Academies Financial Handbook 2018
  • Schemes of delegation
  • Communications within MATs

Previous meetings have provoked lively discussion and the day will be structured informally with opportunities for everyone to speak.

A buffet lunch is included. Book your place now to avoid disappointment.


Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

“The combination of mentor support, learning material, 360° appraisal, networking opportunities and structured thinking time allowed for periods of reflection that enabled me to modify my leadership style and put learning into practice.”

“The face-to-face sessions were particularly informative and I appreciated the opportunities to network with other clerks.”

Development for Clerks

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking.

Cost: Only £75 to pay if you receive funding from the DFE. Check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

Available to book for this term:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Norfolk

17 September

1 October

10 January

Rochdale

1 October

15 October

10 January

Wigan

15 October

29 October

25 January

Wolverhampton

22 October

5 November

4 February

Ealing and Hounslow

29 October

12 November

7 February

Croydon

29 October

12 November

8 February


Additional cohorts are available on the NGA website.

Development for Chairs

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance.

Cost: Funding is available up to the value of £500.

Check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

Registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

East Sussex

17 September

8 October

Available to book for this half term:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Bedford

12 September

26 September

31 October

Penzance

17 September

1 October

1 November

North Devon (Woolacombe)

17 September

1 October

2 November

Torbay

17 September

1 October

3 November

South Devon (Okehampton)

17 September

1 October

5 November

Plymouth

17 September

1 October

6 November

Newquay

17 September

1 October

10 November

Camden and Islington

17 September

1 October

14 November

Stoke

19 September

3 October

15 November

Rochdale

1 October

15 October

22 November

Swindon

1 October

15 October

23 November

Wigan

8 October

22 October

22 November

Additional cohorts are available on the NGA website.

DON’T MISS OUT! 

Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis.

Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 07/09/2018

New NGA members guidance for academy trusts

This week, NGA has produced new guidance around the roles and responsibilities of members in single and multi-academy trusts. The guidance applies to all academy trusts and includes a dedicated section which covers those trusts with a religious character.

The guidance covers:

  • who members are and how many a trust needs
  • how members are appointed and what skills they need
  • where members fit into the wider governance structure and what they should do
  • how often members should meet, including details of the annual general meeting, and how decisions are made in these meetings
  • how members carry out specific tasks, such as changing the articles of association or removing trustees
  • what responsibilities members have if the trust becomes insolvent

As part of the guidance, there is also a “myth busting” section and a model members role description. Throughout the document, it is made clear that members have a “limited and distinct role” and that their input in running the trust is minimal and one of oversight.

Click here to access the new members guidance or read our press release here.


Governing Matters: September/October editionCover-GM-Sept_Oct2018-jpeg.jpg

A new edition of Governing Matters, NGA’s bi-monthly magazine, is out this week.

Cover stories include:

  • Research Matters – ­­­­The 2018 NGA/TES survey

Fay Holland, NGA’s senior policy officer, analyses the biggest school governance survey of the year.

  • NGA policy news – Asking the right questions

Gillian Allcroft, NGA’s deputy chief executive, reflects on the importance of asking the right questions – and then testing the answers.

  • The NGA Summer conference – People, processes and practise

We were delighted to welcome two high-profile speakers to this year’s summer conference.

  • Doing what’s right – The Ethical Framework for Educational Leadership

Carolyn Roberts, headteacher of Thomas Tallis School and head of the Association of School and College Leaders’ Ethical Commission, introduces the Ethical Leadership Commission’s new framework.

  • Teachers’ pay award – The good and not so good news

Gillian Allcroft, NGA’s deputy chief executive, examines the implications of the recent award.

The magazine is available as a pdf for STANDARD governing board members who do not get a printed copy. Alternatively, if the membership is upgraded to GOLD, all members of the board will be posted a copy to their home address. Please make sure we have your home addresses: email membership@nga.org.uk

Top of page

Role descriptors for governors, trustees and clerks

As the new academic year gets underway, now is a good time for governors, trustees and clerks to reflect on their role for the year ahead. NGA has refreshed its job descriptions for both clerks in maintained schools and those clerking in multi-academy trusts. We also have role descriptions and person specifications for both governors and trustees. You can download any of these today by visiting the NGA Guidance Centre.


NGA Trustee Elections

Each year a proportion of positions on the NGA board of trustees come up for election. This year nominations are sought in three regions: East Midlands, North West and South West.

The NGA recognises that a diverse board can help to strengthen decision-making by considering issues from more perspectives. We would welcome nominations in particular from candidates from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

For more information about standing for the NGA board click here.


Outstanding Governance Awards 2019 – nominations open now

Awards-2019-banner.png

As the only national education awards to recognise the contribution of governing boards and the clerks that support them, NGA’s Outstanding Governance Awards provide entrants with a unique opportunity to gain recognition through a rigorous judging process, lead the way as an exemplar of good school governance and reflect on their practice against the award criteria.

The awards also identify best practice in school governance and clerking and enable this to be shared across the school system.

Nominations are now open to recognise achievements in four categories:

  • Outstanding governing board in a single school
  • Outstanding governing board in a group of schools
  • Outstanding vision and strategy
  • Outstanding clerk to a governing board

Governing boards and clerks can nominate themselves for an award and they can also be nominated by a third party such as an executive leader or governor services. The awards are open to all state funded schools in England including maintained schools, single academy trusts, free schools and schools within multi academy trusts and federations, and to all phases of schools. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a prestigious ceremony at the House of Commons in May 2019 where awards will be presented to the winners.

Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association, said: “Governing boards and clerks make a vast and valuable contribution to the education of young people so it is only right that they are celebrated for going above and beyond the core responsibilities of their role. We hope that governing boards and clerks will recognise their own achievements to put themselves forward, and that people from across the education sector will get involved in nominating those that deserve thanks. The Outstanding Governance Awards highlight the vital role that those governing and the clerks who support them play in making schools successful, and enable us to recognise and share the impact of just some of the quarter of a million people governing schools in England.”


MPs criticise level of assurance provided by Ofsted

The House of Commons public accounts committee has published its report on Ofsted’s inspection of schools, following a report by the National Audit Office earlier this year. NGA submitted written evidence to this inquiry, parts of which are quoted in the report.

Today’s report acknowledges a significant reduction in Ofsted’s budget but argues “this has led Ofsted and the Department for Education [DfE] to focus narrowly on the cost of inspection, rather than the value of getting independent assurance about schools’ effectiveness”. The committee found that fewer inspections have been completed than planned and targets for frequency of inspection have been missed, which it argues fails to provide the level of assurance schools and parents need.

Among the recommendations is that the DfE should re-consider ‘outstanding’ schools’ exemption from inspection and, together with Ofsted, the effectiveness of the system of short inspections for ‘good’ schools. The committee also recommends that Ofsted improve the way it collects evidence from parents.

The DfE will be consulting on some aspects of the accountability system this autumn and the committee asks that this includes clarification on where responsibility for school improvement lies. The committee also requests that Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, writes to them setting out her views on the main issues facing the school system, including the impact of financial constraints.

Responding to the report, Amanda Spielman said that the inspectorate had “reached the limit” of what it could achieve with its current budget but that she remained confident that inspections provide the necessary assurance about school standards and that many of the recommendations were already being addressed.

NGA agrees with the committee that ‘outstanding’ schools should be subject to inspection and supports its call to ensure that schools, particularly governing boards, and parents receive the level of assurance about school performance they need from Ofsted’s reporting.

Information for governing boards on Ofsted inspections is available in the NGA Guidance Centre and through our e-learning platform, Learning Link. NGA can also offer training sessions on preparing for Ofsted, although governing boards should remember that all decisions should be taken in the interests of pupils and staff, rather than out of concern about Ofsted judgments. 


Funding the Future: surveys highlight crisis

As the sector swings into action for the new school year, the pressures of squeezed budgets continue to affect many schools up and down the country. In the next two weeks, NGA will be publishing the results of our joint survey with Tes, which put the impact of increased cost pressures and real term cuts into sharp relief. Two other surveys have been published this week, each highlighting different aspects of the funding crisis.

Unison found that 87% of support staff surveyed in May either said there had been significant cuts to staff and resources in their workplace or that managers had warned of future cuts. 70% said that they undertook tasks previously performed by a more senior colleague, often because other posts had been made redundant.

A separate survey by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) focused on support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Just 2% of the school leaders who responded said that the top up funding they received was sufficient to meet the needs of pupils with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) or statements.

NGA will continue to work with unions, parent groups and other key stakeholders to campaign for an increase in both the overall schools funding and the high needs funding. The voices of governors and trustees can be powerful in making a case for further investment; NGA is encouraging governing boards to write to their MPs and invite them to visit their school to see the impact on pupils’ education with their own eyes. We appreciate those willing to share their experiences and any action they have taken with us: contact fay.holland@nga.org.uk.


Alarming exclusion rates

An investigation by the Guardian revealed that schools were excluding pupils at an alarming rate, with 45 schools “handing at least 20% of their pupils one or more fixed-period exclusion in 2016-17, the overwhelming proportion were academies”.

The investigation found that nine of the 45 schools were part of the Outwood Grange multi-academy trust. The highest number of exclusions were from Outwood academy Ormesby, which excluded 41% of its students. The trust responded by stating that “it had taken over “some of the toughest schools in England”, some of which had practised informal exclusions before the trust took over.

The shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, felt that the high numbers of fixed-term exclusions should be a “matter of huge concern to the government”.

It has been argued that some schools are using exclusions as a way of removing pupils before their GCSE grades negatively impact the position of the school in the league tables.

As a result of the high number of exclusions a review was launched by the Department for Education in order to “explore how headteachers use exclusion in practice, and why some groups of pupils are more likely to be excluded”. NGA provide an exclusion guidance document to help governors and trustees better understand every level of the exclusion process, which can be accessed here.

Governing boards should ensure that the information they receive from school leaders allows them to monitor the number of exclusions being made, including among different year groups and groups of pupils, and consider whether behaviour policies are effective in supporting pupils’ learning.


Councils struggle to meet demand for secondary school places

Research from the Local Government Association (LGA) suggests that over 50% of councils will not have enough secondary school places by 2023.

Councils have already had to accommodate for 600,000 extra primary students since 2010 and these pupils will move into secondary education in the coming years.

Unless more secondary school places are created, we will see insufficient places in 13 local authority areas by 2019/2020, 25 the subsequent year, and the number will continue to rise until 2023/2024 by which point 71 local authorities will have a collective shortfall of 133,926 places.

The LGA has suggested that councils should be given powers to open new maintained schools and direct academies to increase their intake.

Governors and trustees at secondary schools should ensure engagement with the local authority about future need for school places in their local area and that their admissions policies are robust and up to date.

For more information on admissions, visitthe NGA Guidance Centre.


Ofsted blog on the practice of “gaming” the GCSE examinations system

This week, Ofsted has released a blog exploring the practice of “gaming” in schools. “Gaming” refers to the unethical decision taken by some schools to enter candidates for GCSEs which benefit the school more than the individual pupils.

According to Ofsted, a common form of “gaming” refers to the practice of using the Attainment/Progress 8 ‘open group’ to enter candidates for qualifications which have a lower ‘currency’ than others but which are likely to generate high Progress/Attainment 8 scores to push the school up the league tables. Examples of “gaming” include schools entering pupils for qualifications which overlap in terms of content or putting all candidates in for ‘easier’ examinations. Until recently, Ofsted noted that some schools would enter pupils for the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL). This qualification counted toward the ‘open group’ and, while of minimal use to the pupil, the majority of candidates performed very well – which subsequently meant they had higher overall Attainment/Progress 8 scores.

The blog warns schools that it is easy for Ofsted inspectors to spot signs of “gaming”. Inspectors will ask serious questions if pupils are performing disproportionally better in the ‘open group’ of Attainment/Progress 8 than across other subjects.  

Those governing are reminded that “gaming” is unethical and contradicts the purpose of education which is to ensure that young people are equipped with the necessary tools to lead happy and fulfilling lives. In reviewing this year’s GCSE outcomes, secondary governors and trustees should look to root out any signs of “gaming”. Where identified, those governing should question senior leaders and gain assurances that the practice will stop immediately.


National trends in key stage 2 outcomes

The Department for Education (DfE) has published provisional attainment statistics for key stage 2 statutory assessment tests. This follows the initial announcement, made in July, that 64% of pupils reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths. Outcomes at school level will be published in December. This week’s publication reveals some trends in the national data:

  • girls continue to outperform boys but the gender gap in attainment remains consistent with previous years
  • there was little difference in attainment levels between mainstream academies or free schools and mainstream maintained schools (though attainment was higher on average in converter academies than sponsored academies, likely as converter academies tend to have been high performing prior to conversion)
  • there was little difference in attainment between primary, junior or middle schools
  • schools with a religious character tend to have attainment results slightly higher than the national average
  • attainment varied considerably between the lowest and highest performing local authority areas

The DfE has also published details of the floor standard definition and the ‘coasting’ schools definition for 2018. These accountability measures remain in place but it was announced in May that no school will be required to convert to academy status on any basis other than an ‘inadequate’ judgement from Ofsted and these measures will only be used to identify any schools that could benefit from additional support.

Those governing schools with key stage 2 will be discussing their schools’ outcomes at upcoming governing board meetings and may wish to consider how their results compare to the national picture. Resources to help with interpretation of pupil performance data are available in the NGA Guidance Centre section on primary assessment and our e-learning platform, Learning Link, includes a module on ‘Progress and attainment: using data to improve educational outcomes’.


Fair Education Alliance report card 2018 published

NGA is proud to be a member of the Fair Education Alliance, which campaigns on the issue of educational inequality through the collective voice of over 100 members and supporters. On Wednesday, the alliance launched its annual report card, which assessed the state of educational inequality in England today.

The report card concluded that progress in closing the gap between the most advantaged and least advantaged pupils had been “too slow and patchy”. Large gaps remained and had even widened in some places. The end result is a situation where small gaps between children from low-income families and those from better-off families at primary school level are gradually growing through to GCSE level and university admissions, leaving poorer students “playing catch up for the rest of their lives”. Headline findings included:

  • by age 11, disadvantaged pupils were more than eight months behind their peers in reading, writing and maths
  • children from low-income families are four times as likely to be permanently excluded
  • following GCSEs, disadvantaged youngsters are six times more likely to be recorded as not in education, employment or training

The report card argued, however, that educational inequality can be reduced and put forward three priorities which were agreed in consultation with its members:

  1. world-class teachers and leaders, particularly in the most disadvantaged areas
  2. an education system which develops the whole child, promoting emotional and social competencies alongside academic attainment
  3. joined up support for all post-16 destinations, giving every student a choice about their future

If you are part of an organisation which would be interested in supporting the work of the Fair Education Alliance, and its members, you can get in touch by emailing info@faireducation.org.uk. Members currently include a range of charities, education providers and other organisations.

Governing boards have an important role in ensuring that disadvantaged pupils are supported to achieve at school, including through the spending of pupil premium funds. NGA’s recent research report, Spotlight on Disadvantage, explores this role.


Over half of students report to have been affected by bullying

A survey from the ‘Back2School’ anti-bullying campaign has revealed that 58% of students report to have experienced bullying.

The campaign is aiming to highlight children’s experiences with bullying and its impact on a ‘young person’s concentration, education, relationships and self-confidence’. The project has been recently launched by the Diana Award Anti-Bullying Programme, partially funded by the Department for Education. As ten million students go back to school this week, the campaign is aiming to raise awareness and support for the victims. They are hoping to use donations to fund ‘anti-bullying ambassadors’ in schools.

Governors and trustees should reflect on their own school’s anti-bullying policies and consider whether they are doing all they can to help pupils. With the prevalence of bullying so high, it is of the utmost importance that governing boards help establish a safe environment for pupils to learn in. Those governing should be reminded they must have a safeguarding lead on their board who should co-ordinate their efforts.

For guidance on what governing boards should be doing to prevent bullying in schools and ensure safeguarding, visit the NGA Guidance Centre.


Support for school resource management

The Department for Education (DfE) has published a new toolkit aimed at helping schools to make the best use of their resources. NGA was consulted in the drafting of the toolkit, which includes support with managing the school workforce, procurement and developing financial skills as well as expanded capacity to provide direct support to schools at risk of financial difficulty.

Ensuring schools’ money is well spent is one of the core functions of a governing board and NGA has a wide range of resources to aid governors and trustees with this in the finances section of our Guidance Centre. NGA’s e-learning platform, Learning Link, also includes a module on the subject entitled ‘Resources: Making the most of what you’ve got’.


Well World project explores link between environment and mental/physical wellbeing

A new project which supports pupils to conduct their own research to explore the link between the environment and mental/physical wellbeing has been launched by the Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS) with support from Wellcome.

The Well World project has been piloted in one primary and five secondary schools across England. Young people have been investigating one of two research questions: “whether spending time in areas with more diverse plant and animal species is linked to lower blood pressure and anxiety, or whether exercising outdoors is more beneficial for their well-being than exercising indoors”.

Further information about the governing board’s role in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of students by adopting a whole school approach can be found in the NGA Guidance Centre.


Learning Link

The start of the new school year is the perfect time to take your governance knowledge to the next level! Our e-learning platform Learning Link is the most cost-effective method of online training for governors. If your school does not yet have access to this valuable resource, you can find out more about the service or purchase a subscription here.

If your school already purchases a Learning Link subscription, you can login to your account by clicking here or register for an account by clicking here and completing the form.

You can also watch our brand new promotional video to help you get started.

If you are unsure whether your school has access to Learning Link, or would like any further information, please contact the team at learninglink@nga.org.uk.


Autumn Regional Conferences

Places on our autumn round of regional conferences are filling up fast.

The events are free for NGA members and provide a unique opportunity to network with fellow governors, trustees and clerks, hear the latest news and discuss a range of issues. 

Our range of expert speakers provide practical advice and opportunities to stimulate lively debate and thought-provoking discussions.

There will be an interactive session at each of the regional conferences focussing on the effective governance of SEND.

Book your place now for:   

Leicester

Places are still available for the East Midlands Regional Conference on Saturday 29 September 2018, which will be held in Leicester.

The Regional Schools Commissioner, John Edwards, will be delivering the keynote address on governance for school improvement in the East Midlands. Representatives from the DfE will also be delivering key information on financial oversight. Registration is filling up fast, book your place directly on our events page now.

Taunton

Places are limited for the South West Regional Conference on Saturday 6 October 2018 in Taunton.

A member of the Head Teachers Board will be delivering the keynote address and representatives from the DfE will also be presenting on financial oversight and getting best value. Don’t miss out on a place at this key event in the region and book your place directly on our events page now.

Gateshead

Places are still available for the  North East Regional Conference on Saturday 13 October 2018 in Gateshead, Newcastle.

Professor Rob Coe from Durham University has been invited to deliver the keynote address. Ryan Gibson, Facilitator for the Gatsby career pilot, North East Local Enterprise Partnership, will present an overview of the Gatsby Benchmarks. Representatives from the DfE will also be delivering key information on financial oversight. Don’t miss out and book now to secure your place.


Community MATs Network

The next meeting of the network will be taking place in central Birmingham on Friday 16 November 2018.

The Community MATs network is an opportunity for trustees and clerks of multi-academy trusts (MATs) to come together, discuss their experiences and share best practice.

Following a successful event in the spring and summer of 2018, the upcoming event in central Birmingham will touch on topics:

financial governance in MATs – new requirements from the Academies Financial Handbook 2018

  • schemes of delegation
  • communications within MATs

Previous meetings have provoked lively discussion and the day will be structured informally with opportunities for everyone to speak.

A buffet lunch is included. Book your place now to avoid disappointment (please note that you must be a current MAT trustee or clerk to attend).


Autumn Annual Conference & AGM

NGA’s annual conference & AGM will be taking place in central Birmingham on Saturday 17 November 2018. Keynote speakers include Carolyn Roberts, Chair of the Ethical Leadership Commission and Professor Michael Waters, who will be presenting on the governing board's role in curriculum.

This event will also provide the opportunity to network and interact with our partners and exhibitors. Members are also invited to attend our Annual General Meeting, which will take place following the closing of the conference at 3.30pm.

Places will be strictly limited at this national conference. Book your place now at this key event in the governance calendar.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 31/08/2018

NGA: Bringing you the latest practical and informative school governance guidance

During the summer weeks, the team at Governor HQ have been busy updating the NGA Guidance Centre, including our series of governance top tips and questions for governing boards to ask – click on the latest guidance page to see all our latest updates! As ever, the NGA weekly newsletter will be updating you throughout the year on our latest guidance and publication releases.

What’s new on the NGA blog

Drawing on learnings from governing boards, researchers and other sectors is key to informing NGA’s positions. Throughout August, we have been updating the NGA blog with new posts to share some of these learnings. Login to the website to take part in the debate by leaving a comment.

  • Judith Rutherford, Chair of Governors at Hiltingbury Junior School, writes about how a project on effective governance ended up with her governing board tackling the teaching workload challenge.
  • Looking at governance in other sectors plays a key role in NGA setting our policy positions and writing guidance. When the news broke that the RSPCA had received a formal warning from the Charity Commission, NGA’s deputy chief executive, Gillian Allcroft, explored the lessons for school governance.
  • For a number of years, NGA has been highlighting concerns that we are concentrating the power in academy trusts in the hands of too few people (their members) and, in some cases, boards which are distant from their schools and communities. Dr Andy Allen has studied a Co-operative Academy through the research lens of empowered participatory governance and shares his research findings in this blog.

If you have an idea for a blog you’d like to contribute, email kirstie.ebbs@nga.org.uk.


GCSE and A-level results

NGA would like to congratulate all of the pupils who worked so hard on their A-levels and GCSEs, picking up their results over the summer.

In total, 20 GCSE qualifications were awarded on the new 9-1 scale for the first time this year. The headline figures for GCSEs this year are that:

  • 69.2% of 16-year-old pupils achieved a grade 4/C (considered to be the ‘pass mark’). This is broadly the same number of pupils who received a C grade in previous years (with 68.7% of GCSEs being awarded at a C/4 or above in 2017).
  • 21.4% of pupils achieved a grade 7/A. This is broadly the same number of pupils who received an A grade in previous years (with the 20.9% of pupils who received an A grade/level 7 in 2017).
  • Amongst the reformed qualifications, 4.5% of GCSEs were awarded at a level 9 this year.
  • In terms of A-levels, the joint council for qualifications (JCQ) outlined that “8.0% achieved the top grade A*, compared to 8.3% in 2017, and 26.4% achieved an A*-A, compared to 26.3% in 2017”.

While there was once again much in the media about the year-on-year changes regarding A-level and GCSE grades, NGA warn governors and trustees not to read too much into this data. In particular, it can be unhelpful to draw too many comparisons between the results of reformed qualifications and those of unreformed qualifications from previous years.

Perhaps of more concern is the potential impact of exam reform upon schools and pupils. A recent survey by the National Education Union (NEU) found that both GCSE and A-level pupils have become more “anxious and stressed” since exam reforms were introduced. Furthermore, Amanda Spielman, her majesty’s chief inspector at Ofsted, has spoken out about schools preparing pupils at too young an age for their GCSEs. This comes amid reports that some exam boards are issuing materials to prepare 11 year-olds for their GCSEs.

Ensuring that senior leaders are factoring pupil mental and physical wellbeing into exam preparation, and that (rather than preparing for qualifications throughout their school career) pupils have access to a rich and varied curriculum, is an important part of the governing board’s role. For more information, visit the NGA guidance centre.


Revised Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance to come into force from 3 September

From September 3 2018, a revised edition of Keeping Children Safe in Education will come into effect. The guidance outlines what schools and colleges must take into account to safeguard and promote children’s welfare. This document is statutory guidance that schools must follow and is essential for ensuring that safeguarding arrangements are compliant with the law. Those governing and senior leaders, particularly the designated safeguarding lead and governor/trustee responsible for safeguarding, should read this document carefully and ensure that the schools’ child protection policies and procedures are up to date. The governing board should also gain assurances from the senior leadership team that “all staff in their school or college read at least Part one of the guidance”.  

For more information around safeguarding children in school, please visit the NGA website.


Academy Trust Finances  

A Department for Education report (DfE)  has shown that at the end of the academic year 2016-17, 6.1% of academy trusts had a cumulative deficit totalling £65 million. The figures reported by the DfE show an increase in the number of academy trusts reporting a deficit, especially when compared to previous figures, with 5.5% of academy trusts having a net deficit in 2015/16.

The report notes that smaller trusts were more likely to be in deficit. Conversely, the DfE report also revealed that 93.9% of academies had a cumulative surplus or zero balance, with the cumulative surplus totalling £2.5 billion.

The DfE has published a school resources management top tips guide, which can be used to establish whether a school is managing its resources in an effective manner and if the schools spending could be used in a more valuable manner.

The 2018 edition of the Academies Financial Handbook (AFH) comes into effect from 1 September 2018. The 2018 edition of the AFH includes changes in relation to executive pay and related party transactions, which trustees may find beneficial when managing school spending and resources. To read more about the changes to the AFH, click here.


Teachers pay rise and publication of the STRB report

As reported in July, the government announced that in 2018-19 a 3.5% rise will apply to the main pay range for classroom teachers, a 2% rise will apply to the upper pay band for teachers and a 1.5% rise will apply for school leaders.

To cover the increases in pay at school level, the DfE will provide a teachers’ pay grant of £187 million in 2018-19 and £321 million to all schools in England in 2019-20. This will cover the difference between the pay award and the cost of the 1% award that schools would have expected under the previous public sector pay cap. No additional money from the Treasury has been announced and the increase in pay will be funded from within the existing Department for Education budget.

In January 2018 NGA submitted recommendations to the STRB which outlined that any uplift to teacher pay must be fully funded as school budgets are already under considerable pressure. You can read our submission in full here.

Commenting on the news, deputy chief executive Gillian Allcroft said: “NGA are delighted that the government has announced a 3.5% uplift to the main range for teachers and that this award will be largely funded at school level by a teachers’ pay grant. Teachers in our schools thoroughly deserve this reward and recognition of the difficult but wonderful job they do. NGA argued this should be a cost of living rise across the board and, while recognising that government has provided additional funding, we are disappointed that teachers on the upper and leadership ranges will get a lower rise”.


Schoolteacher shortage nation wide

A recent report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) has highlighted serious teacher shortages across England. The report brought to light the decrease of applications for teacher training, down by 5%, with teacher training targets persistently missed for subjects such as maths and science. Additionally, there has been an increase over time in the exit rates of teachers, with the highest increase being in special schools from 8% to 11%. Despite the fall in applications for teacher training and the increase in exit rates, the report revealed that since 2010 there has been a 10% increase in pupil numbers.

The EPI have recommended that “providing salary supplements to teachers in some subjects would alleviate shortages – such as in maths and science”. However, as reported in the BBC, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of ASCL, felt that an increase in teachers’ pay based on shortage subjects “would mean other teachers were paid less than their colleagues, despite having similarly demanding workloads".

Click here to read further evidence of worrying trends in teacher recruitment and retention in England from the Department for Education’s School Workforce Census.  


Workload reduction toolkit published

The Department for Education (DfE) in consultation with school leaders, teachers and other sector experts has designed a toolkit to help schools to address workload issues. In 2016 the DfE’s Teacher Workload Survey found that the vast majority (93%) of teachers think that teacher workload is a “fairly serious problem”. It found that the top three workload concerns are marking, planning and data. The new toolkit aims to “support schools in reducing workload and to address the drivers of excessive workload at a national level". The toolkit is split into 3 stages, supporting schools leaders to:

  • identify the workload issues in their school(s) with the help of workload audit tools
  • address the key issues that can lead to excessive workloads in areas such as communication or data management
  • evaluate the impact of actions taken

The tools in each stage may also be used as standalone materials. Whilst use of the toolkit is optional, those governing may wish to ask their senior executive leader if they are aware of the tools available from the DfE to help manage staff workload.

Further information on the governing board’s role in reducing teacher workload can be found in NGA’s August Guest Blog by Judith Rutherford, Chair of Governors at Hiltingbury Junior School. Judith outlines the steps taken by her governing board to reduce the impact of monitoring and reporting responsibilities on school staff based on core principles of effective governance.


Guidance on apprenticeships

The Department for Education (DfE) has updated its guidance on apprenticeships for the school workforce. This guide provides information specific to school leaders, governing boards and local authorities on what apprenticeships are, how your school can use them to benefit its workforce, and how the apprenticeship levy and public sector target apply to schools. It now contains myth-busting FAQs, case studies showing examples of best practice, and an up-to-date list of apprenticeships available to schools. The guidance is available here.


DfE research on the impact of school culture and practice in supporting disadvantaged pupils

Since the 1990s, the educational performance of disadvantaged pupils in London has been comparatively better than across the rest of England. As part of its work to isolate this so-called ‘London Effect’, the Department for Education has published the results of a study drawing upon a series of “two-day, in-depth, qualitative case studies” with a range of London and non-London schools with consistently good and poor outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. The research looked to assess whether school cultures and practices conducive to high performance were “unique to, or more deeply ingrained in, high-performing London schools” compared to others across the country.  

The report concluded that pupil performance was a better indicator of cultures and practices than where a school was located geographically. High-performing schools tended to “hold particularly high expectations”, “engender positive relationships” across the school community and “responded positively to pupils’ aspirational goals” regardless of location. High-performing schools were also more likely to react quickly when pupils fell behind, and match teaching to each pupil’s ability - including pushing higher attainers further. The researchers did identify some evidence of cultural traits unique to schools in the capital, with an emphasis in some London schools of building stronger relationships with parents, staff, pupils, other schools and the wider community. These relationships were often centered on creating a shared vision and ethos, having high aspirations and promoting high behavioral expectations.

Looking specifically at support for disadvantaged pupils, high-performing schools tended to be those where “strategies were used consistently within each school” and where they were “frequently and regularly employed… and … embedded”. Approaches to boosting disadvantaged pupil attainment included working with local schools to manage transitions between phases and engaging in a variety of “community partnerships to deliver extra-curricular activities” and “work experience opportunities”. High-performing schools were more likely to evaluate the impact of interventions and ensure that all staff were “confident in handling data and using data to inform their practice”.

Governing boards are responsible for ensuring that culture and practices match the school’s vision and values. Furthermore, governing boards are also responsible for overseeing and monitoring practices funded by the pupil premium for supporting disadvantaged pupils. Please read NGA’s latest research, Spotlight on Disadvantage, for more useful insights into how schools can spend the pupil premium effectively.


Teachers’ perceptions of Ofsted

Ofsted has published the findings of its Annual Teachers Survey 2018: Teachers’ Awareness and Perceptions of Ofsted. The key findings of the survey include:

  • A majority of teachers (51%) disagree or strongly disagree with the statement that “Ofsted acts as a reliable and trusted arbiter of standards across all different types of schools in England” compared with 35% who agree or strongly agree.
  • Teachers are more likely to agree with statements that suggest that Ofsted inspections are burdensome (82%), overly reliant on data (82%) and open to the subjectivity of the inspection team (71%).
  • 62% of teachers whose school has been inspected by Ofsted feel “the final judgement reached by the inspection team was a fair and accurate assessment”.
  • Two thirds (66%) of teachers have heard of off-rolling and a fifth (21%) have seen it happen.

NGA is particularly concerned that one fifth of teachers surveyed have seen off-rolling happen in their school. Off-rolling is the practice of excluding pupils in order to improve school results. Governing boards are responsible for setting the ethos and culture of the school and should be keeping a close eye on how many pupils are excluded. If the number is going up, those governing are encouraged to ask why and what additional support staff need to prevent it. Illegal exclusions like off-rolling should not be tolerated.


Landmark ruling for SEND pupil exclusions

It will now be harder for schools to exclude children with special educational needs and disabilities because they have a ‘tendency to physically abuse’.

This development comes out of a ruling from the Upper Tribunal, which found in favour of the case of ‘L’, a 13 year old boy excluded from school due to aggressive behaviour linked to his autism. The judge found the treatment of ‘L’, and of others excluded, was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights due to discrimination against those with a recognised condition. The boy’s parents took the appeal initially to the first tier tribunal in August of last year, with the support of the National Autistic Society (NAS) and the Equality and Human Right’s Commission (EHRC).

The outcome means, for the first time, schools must make appropriate adjustments for pupils with a violence linked condition before looking towards exclusion. Jane Harris, director of external affairs at the NAS, described the prior policy as a “legal loophole” for schools which had made “no adjustments to meet their needs”.

Melanie Field, executive director of the EHRC, has welcomed the verdict, stating “this is a positive step towards ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential through education and increasing the inclusion of disabled children in mainstream education”.

Governing boards should reflect upon the ruling, as they ultimately must ensure appropriate provisions are in place for SEND pupils.

For guidance for governing board’s duties regarding SEND pupils, or for information on school exclusions policy, please consult the NGA’s guidance centre.


DfE review of literacy and numeracy catch-up strategies for low-attaining year 7 pupils

The Department for Education has updated guidance on Literacy and Numeracy Catch-up Strategies in order to incorporate the latest evidence.

The review is intended to support teachers to make evidence-informed decisions based on robust statistical analysis of what does and does not work. However, it is also useful for governing boards when it comes to ensuring that catch-up premium funding is being spent effectively.

In terms of literacy, interventions for writing and reading comprehension generally produced good results, as did computer-based interventions and some one-to-one methods. Evidence around phonics approaches, summer and Saturday schools and blended interventions was not as conclusive.

Much less is known about what works to support low-attaining year 7 pupils catch up with their peers in numeracy, as the few interventions trialled did not prove to be effective.

A smooth transition from primary to secondary school is also shown to help low-attaining pupils catch up with their peers, providing the general principles included in the guidance are observed. The evidence reviewed should not be considered definitive; those governing should closely monitor the impact of their own catch-up strategies and interventions.


Call for evidence around costs, fees and value for money in terms of purchasing qualifications

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulations (Ofqual) has issued a call for evidence around costs, fees and value for money in terms of purchasing qualifications.

The rationale behind this call for evidence is that, while all qualification providers are required to make “fee information available”, they do so in different ways. Ofqual want to use the evidence gathered from this call for evidence to assess how easy it is for schools to make an informed judgement concerning value for money when comparing the costs associated with purchasing different qualifications.

While those governing may not be best placed to respond to this call for evidence, they are encouraged to forward it to their executive leaders. The deadline for responses is 30 September 2018 and this can be submitted through an online survey.


Community MATs Network

This unique opportunity to network with other MAT trustees and governance professionals will be taking place in central Birmingham on Friday 16 November 2018.

The Community MATs network, now in its third year, is an opportunity for trustees and clerks of multi-academy trusts (MATs) to come together, hear important updates, discuss experiences and share best practice.

Following a successful event in the spring and summer of 2018, the upcoming event in central Birmingham will touch on vital topics including:

  • Financial governance in MATs – new requirements from the Academies Financial Handbook 2018
  • Schemes of delegation
  • Communications within MATs

Previous meetings have provoked lively discussion and the day will be structured informally with opportunities for everyone to speak.

A buffet lunch is included. Book your place now to avoid disappointment.


Young Governor’s Network – Upcoming Events

There’s still time for young governors (those aged under 40) to book a free place at the Young Governor’s Network meetings taking place around the country during the first few weeks of the new academic year.

Providing an informal opportunity to meet and share experiences with other young governors, we hope these events will equip you with valuable insight and ideas to use in your governor role and usefully contribute to your own professional development, as well as helping you to forge relationships with other young governors in your area. The meeting will provide plenty of time to network and the YGN team will be giving brief pitches and facilitated discussions on “courageous conversations” and “creating change: diverse governing boards”.

YGN is member-led: created and run by young governors with support from the National Governance Association and Inspiring Governance. To join these free events, please book using the links below:

  • Birmingham (city centre – B3) – Wednesday 12 September, 5.30pm – 7.30pm – book here
  • Sheffield (Sheffield Hallam University) – Wednesday 19 September, 5.30pm – 7.30pm – book here
  • Manchester (Friends Meeting House, Manchester) – Wednesday 26 September, 6pm – 8pm – book here
  • Bristol (Clifton area) – Wednesday 3 October, 5.30pm – 7.30pm – book here

These events are free and all governors/ trustees aged under 40 are welcome – attendees do not need to be a member of the NGA or YGN, so please do share this information with your governing board and networks. In addition, if you have a friend or colleague that you think would make a great governor, or who is interested in finding out more, please do invite them and ask them to register through the link.


Autumn Annual Conference & AGM

The NGA’s annual conference and AGM will be taking place in central Birmingham on Saturday 17 November 2018. Keynote speakers include Carolyn Roberts, Chair of the Ethical Leadership Commission and Professor Michael Waters, who will be presenting on the governing board's role in curriculum.

This event will also provide the opportunity to network and interact with our partners and exhibitors. Members are also invited to attend our Annual General meeting, which will take place following the closing of the conference at 3.30pm.

Places will be strictly limited at this national conference. Book your place now for this key event in the governance calendar.


Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

NGA-Leading-Governance-MASTER-(300-CMYK).jpg

“The combination of mentor support, learning material, 360° appraisal, networking opportunities and structured thinking time allowed for periods of reflection that enabled me to modify my leadership style and put learning into practice.”

“The face-to-face sessions were particularly informative and I appreciated the opportunities to network with other clerks.”

Development for Clerks

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking.

Cost: Only £75 to pay if you receive funding from the DFE. Check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

Registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Bedford

3 September

19 November

Warwickshire

3 September

19 November

Wigan

3 September

23 November

Newquay

17 September

5 December

Penzance

17 September

6 December

North Devon (Woolacombe)

17 September

7 December

South Devon (Okehampton)

17 September

10 December

Plymouth

17 September

11 December

Torbay

17 September

12 December

 

Available to book for this half term:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Norfolk

17 September

1 October

10 January

Rochdale

1 October

15 October

10 January

Additional cohorts are available on the NGA website.

Development for Chairs

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance.

Cost: Funding is available up to the value of £500.

Check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

Registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Warwickshire

3 September

15 October

Knowsley

3 September

15 October

Oxfordshire

10 September

13 October

East Sussex

17 September

8 October

 

Available to book for this half term:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Bedford

12 September

26 September

31 October

Penzance

17 September

1 October

1 November

North Devon (Woolacombe)

17 September

1 October

2 November

Torbay

17 September

1 October

3 November

South Devon (Okehampton)

17 September

1 October

5 November

Plymouth

17 September

1 October

6 November

Newquay

17 September

1 October

10 November

Camden and Islington

17 September

1 October

14 November

Stoke

19 September

3 October

15 November

Rochdale

1 October

15 October

22 November

Swindon

1 October

15 October

23 November

Wigan

8 October

22 October

22 November

Additional cohorts are available on the NGA website.

DON’T MISS OUT!

Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis.

Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600



From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 20/07/2018

NGA roundup of the 2017/18 academic year

As we publish the final newsletter for the 2017/18 academic year, NGA would like to thank all governors, trustees, academy committee members, clerks and senior leaders for their hard work over the past academic year. We would also like to thank you for supporting NGA on the various campaigns and projects that have been undertaken during the last 12 months. NGA is celebrating another successful year of improving governance through our events, guidance, training and consultancy, and have produced a roundup of some of our best bits since September.

Click here for a summary of the past twelve months including the key publications, news pieces and announcements you may have missed.


What do Ofsted expect from schools?

Ofsted has made some updates to their School Inspection Handbook, some of which serve as a useful reminder for governing boards about what Ofsted do and do not expect:

  • Ofsted do not require schools to predict attainment and progress scores and attainment of past pupils does not determine inspection outcomes
  • inspectors will not check on the process for performance management arrangements for staff and does not need to see anonymised lists of teachers meeting or not meeting thresholds for pay progression
  • Ofsted does not have specific expectations about the approach to headteacher performance management
  • Ofsted does not require schools to take any specific steps about site security and does not have a pre-determined view on the need for perimeter fences
  • schools do not need to provide any additional information to inspectors “outside of their normal curriculum planning “, but Ofsted “will discuss with school leaders their curriculum vision and ambitions for their pupils” and will “evaluate how a school’s curriculum plans contribute to the government’s ambition”
  • Ofsted acknowledge that not all secondary schools will be at the same stage for EBacc implementation and inspectors will not “pay particular attention to where the school is currently”

These updates can be found in the “Clarification for schools” section (paragraph 31) of the Inspection Handbook. A privacy notice (paragraph 4) and an annex on inspection of religious education and collective worship have also been added.

Ofsted has been making concerted efforts to dispel “myths” about inspection requirements which can create unnecessary workload for schools. Governing boards should ensure that they question anything that is being done “because Ofsted expects to see it” and ask for evidence that this is the case. As our top tips for Ofsted readiness state, anything your school does should have a clear rationale in terms of providing an excellent education for pupils.

Further information for governing boards on Ofsted is available in our Guidance Centre here. NGA also offers face-to-face training on the topic as well as modules on our e-learning platform, Learning Link.


Consultation on relationship, sex and health education launched

As previously reported, the Children and Social Work Act 2017 placed a duty on the secretary of state for education to make Relationships Education at primary and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) at secondary compulsory through regulations. The Act also provided powers to make elements of Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) mandatory in all schools. In December 2017, the Department for Education (DfE) launched a call for evidence to seek public views from adults and young people on the content of the new subjects and to inform the update of the current guidance on sex education. The call for evidence closed in February 2018 and received over 23,000 responses.

This week, the DfE launched a consultation on draft regulations and draft statutory guidance to make Relationships Education in primary schools, Relationships and Sex Education in secondary schools and the new element of Health Education compulsory in all schools. The guidance will replace the current statutory guidance for Sex and Relationship Education which was last updated in 2000. You can read the draft proposals in full here.

The new proposals includes topics like mental wellbeing, consent, keeping safe online, physical health and fitness and LGBT issues. There are no plans to make economic education compulsory and when asked about the omission in Parliament this week, secretary of state Damian Hinds said that “financial and careers education is already covered in citizenship and other areas.”

In response to the announcement, PSHE Association strongly welcomed that all schools will be required to teach health education in addition to relationships education. It said that “While falling short of mandatory status for the whole of PSHE this measure will greatly encourage schools already prioritising PSHE and help level-up standards across all schools, for all pupils.”

The proposals will now be subject to a further 12-week consultation. NGA will be responding to the consultation in due course and you can share your views by getting in touch with shelby.roberts@nga.org.uk


Permanent and fixed-period exclusions in England: 2016 to 2017

Official data from the Department for Education (DfE) shows that there was a 15.5% rise in the number of permanent exclusions and a 12.5% rise in the number of fixed rate exclusions in 2016/2017 compared to 2015/16. This equates to nearly 1,000 more exclusions in England in 2016/17 than in 2015/16.

Although it is unclear what has caused this rise, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, suggests that funding cuts are a contributing factor, with cuts to in-school and local authority support for young people “making it more difficult to provide early intervention and prevent behavioural problems from escalating”.

Breaking down the demographical data, 40% of fixed term and 36.7% of permanent exclusions were for pupils claiming free school meals. Furthermore, nearly half of permanent and fixed-rate exclusions were for those with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) and boys were over three times more likely than girls to be permanently excluded.

While NGA recognise that school funding is significantly stretched, the data suggests that those governing need to think carefully before cutting early intervention support for young people with behavioural problems. With such significant overlap between free school meals pupils and exclusion rates, those governing may want to consider using some of their pupil premium allocation to fund this provision. For more information on how to spend and monitor the pupil premium effectively, please click here.

Governing boards have a statutory duty to consider certain instances of pupil exclusion and should consider the ethical dimensions of the decision. NGA has produced a four stage guide for governing boards on exclusions and can also provide training for those sitting on an exclusion panel.


Ofsted research report: the challenges of tackling childhood obesity in primary schools

A new research report from Ofsted into obesity, healthy eating and physical activity in primary schools outlines that schools should not be seen as a “silver bullet” to tackling the complex societal issue of childhood obesity. According to the latest figures from the Health Survey for England (2016) 28% of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese.

Ofsted carried out research to understand whether schools are having an impact on levels of childhood obesity, and if there is any good practice to share. Inspectors visited 60 schools in autumn 2017 and spoke to staff, parents and pupils and those with responsibility for healthy eating or physical activity. They observed lessons, extra-curricular provision, and looked at the content of school lunches.

Inspectors found that most schools have responded well to government initiatives, including around physical activity and healthy eating. The report underlines that “schools have an important role to play in encouraging healthy lifestyles and exercise as part of a rich, broad curriculum.” The research finds that parents wish to receive “readily available information about what their child is doing at school: what they are eating and learning about, so that this can be followed up on at home”. You can read full research report here.

Commenting on the findings, chief inspector Amanda Spielman said that “it is essential that schools do not get distracted from their core educational purpose” and that “families, government, industry, and other parts of the public sector all have a role to play in making food and drink healthier, and supporting children to make better choices”.


Ofsted guidance on how to use the inspection data summary report (IDSR) for 16 to 19 year olds

This week, Ofsted has released guidance on using the 16 to 19 inspection data summary report (IDSR).

The IDSR is the data dashboard Ofsted will use when they inspect a school and replaced the RAISEonline inspection dashboard last year. Amongst other things, the IDSR covers the demographics and characteristics of a school, the attainment and progress of pupils against key headline measures, trends over a three year period, and retention and destinations data.

Guidance on using the IDSR is also available for primary and secondary schools. While this guidance is aimed predominantly at Ofsted inspectors, it is always useful for those governing to access their schools IDSR report as this provides a detailed summary of a schools’ performance. School leaders and governors/trustees can accesses their IDSR through the Analyse School Performance (ASP) portal. For further details of how to access ASP, please visit the NGA website.

As reported last week, Ofsted have instructed inspectors to be cautious when considering the performance of groups of pupils by demographic factors, particularly when the groups are small. Governing boards should consider the data in the IDSR in the context of their school.


Home Office launches anti-knife crime lessons ahead of summer holidays

Almost 50,000 personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) and KS3 to KS4 teachers have received lesson plans to educate pupils about the dangers of social media, the impact carrying a knife could have on their future, and how they can develop strategies to resist peer influence. The bespoke one hour lessons were created in partnership with the PSHE Association.

Crime Minister, Victoria Atkins said:

“The summer holidays can pose additional dangers to young people, which is why we are determined to do everything we can to keep them safe and give them tools and resilience they need to enjoy the summer break.”

Children’s Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:

“These lesson plans will help illustrate the real impact of knife crime on young people’s lives. It’s heartening to know schools up and down the country are taking advantage of them.”


Number of secondary pupils in England to rise

New figures released by the Department for Education states that the overall population in secondary schools is projected to reach 3,267,000 in 2027. This will mean that there will be 418,000 more pupils in England's state secondary schools by the year 2027, than in 2018.

In regards to the nursery and primary school population, although it has been rising since 2009, the rate is slowing. This is because of the lower birth rate in 2013 onwards that is now starting reaching school age. It is projected that the population will stabilise in 2019 at 4.66 million before starting to fall.

Both maintained schools and academies should maintain a dialogue their local authority’s school place planning team to ensure that the required places are provided for local children.


Institute for school business leadership (ISBL) ‘Professional Standards’ consultation

The Institute for School Business Leadership (ISBL) has released a consultation on updates to the professional standards for school business management.

This consultation is not aimed at governors or trustees but instead, looks to get the views of school business managers that use the professional standards as to whether they think they are appropriate and current.

Please do pass on this link to your school business manager or equivalent.


Young Governors Network: upcoming events

The Young Governors Network (YGN) aims to support and encourage those aged under 40 to govern in schools by facilitating them to share their experiences, addressing the challenges faced by young people governing schools and creating sustainable connections amongst current and prospective governors.

Following a survey undertaken with members of the YGN earlier this year to explore what they want to gain from the network, we have now planned five events for the beginning of the new school term.

Providing an informal opportunity to meet and share experiences with other young governors, we hope these events will equip you with valuable insight and ideas to use in your governor role and usefully contribute to your own professional development, as well as helping you to forge relationships with other young governors in your area. The meeting will provide plenty of time to network and the YGN team will be giving brief pitches and facilitated discussions on ‘courageous conversations’ and ‘creating change: diverse governing boards’.

YGN is member-led: created and run by young governors with support from the National Governance Association and Inspiring Governance. To join these free events, please book using the links below:

  • London (central – to be confirmed) – Wednesday 5 September, 5.30pm – 7.30pm – book here
  • Birmingham (city centre – B3) – Wednesday 12 September, 5.30pm – 7.30pm – book here
  • Sheffield (Sheffield Hallam University) – Wednesday 19 September, 5.30pm – 7.30pm – book here
  • Manchester (Friends Meeting House, Manchester) – Wednesday 26 September, 5.30pm – 7.30pm – book here
  • Bristol (city centre) – Wednesday 3 October, 5.30pm – 7.30pm – book here

These events are free and all governors/ trustees aged under 40 are welcome – attendees do not need to be a member of the NGA or YGN, so please do share this information with your governing board and networks. In addition, if you have a friend or colleague that you think would make a great governor, or who is interested in finding out more, please do invite them and ask them to register through the link.


Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

NGA’s new Leading Governance programmes; Development for Chairs, Development for Clerks and Development for Boards are all now open for bookings.

Book now to start in the autumn term:

Development for Chairs

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

1st face-to-face session

Warwickshire

20 August

3 September

15 October

Knowsley

20 August

3 September

15 October

Oxfordshire

27 August

10 September

13 October

East Sussex

3 September

17 September

8 October

Suffolk

3 September

17 September

29 October

Bedford

12 September

26 September

31 October

Penzance

17 September

1 October

1 November

North Devon (Woolacombe)

17 September

1 October

2 November

Torbay

17 September

1 October

3 November

South Devon (Okehampton)

17 September

1 October

5 November

Plymouth

17 September

1 October

6 November

Newquay

17 September

1 October

10 November

Camden and Islington

17 September

1 October

14 November

Stoke

19 September

3 October

15 November

Rochdale

1 October

15 October

22 November

Swindon

1 October

15 October

23 November

Wigan

8 October

22 October

22 November

 

Development for Clerks

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

1st face-to-face session

Bedford

20 August

3 September

19 November

Warwickshire

20 August

3 September

19 November

Wigan

20 August

3 September

23 November

Newham

25 August

8 September

24 November

Newquay

3 September

17 September

5 December

Penzance

3 September

17 September

6 December

North Devon (Woolacombe)

3 September

17 September

7 December

South Devon (Okehampton)

3 September

17 September

10 December

Plymouth

3 September

17 September

11 December

Torbay

3 September

17 September

12 December

Rochdale

1 October

15 October

10 January

 

Development for Boards

Cost: Funding is available up to the value of £2,000 per board. Click here to secure your space.

This programme is designed for boards governing multi academy trusts or groups of schools, or boards of schools in opportunity areas where the school is judged to be requiring improvement.

This is a consultant-led bespoke programme that will be tailored to your board’s circumstances to improve practice and outcomes.

You can book your place on Development for Boards here.  

Development for Chairs

Cost: Funding is available up to the value of £500. Click here to secure your space.

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance.

You can check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

Development for Clerks

Cost: The course costs is £425. Funding is available up to the value of £350. Leaving only £75 to pay. Click here to secure your funding.

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking.

You can check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

DON’T MISS OUT!

Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis.

Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600


NGA Autumn Regional Conferences

Our regional conferences are free for NGA members and provide a unique opportunity to network with fellow governors, trustees and clerks, to hear updates and discuss issues in sessions on the latest hot topics.

Our range of expert speakers provide practical advice and opportunities to stimulate lively debate and thought-provoking discussions.

Due to the cancellation of the East of England Regional Conference in the spring, NGA will be delivering four regional conferences in autumn 2018. The dates and locations are as follows:

  • East of England Regional Conference, Saturday 8 September 2018 in Stansted.
  • East Midlands Regional Conference, Saturday 29 September 2018 in Leicester.
  • South West Regional Conference, Saturday 6 October 2018, in Taunton.
  • North East Regional Conference, Saturday 13 October 2018 in Gateshead.

Registration will be open shortly. Save the dates for these key events in your calendar!

 

NGA Autumn Regional Meetings

Our regional meetings are a great way to network closely with fellow governors, trustees and clerks. The topics of discussion for autumn 2018 will focus on accountability. The dates and locations are as follows:

Book your place at these key meetings in your area!

 

Autumn Annual Conference & AGM

The NGA’s annual conference and AGM will be taking place in central Birmingham. Keynote speakers include Carolyn Roberts, Chair of the Ethical Leadership Commission and Professor Michael Waters, who will be presenting on the governing board's role in curriculum.

This event will also provide the opportunity to network and interact with our partners and exhibitors.

Places will be strictly limited at this national conference, so book your place now for this key event in the governance calendar.

 

Learning Link

A reminder that Learning Link is accessible over the summer holiday period. Our learning modules and resources are perfect for continuing your professional development and refreshing your governance knowledge before the new academic year.

As ever, if your school purchases a Learning Link subscription, you can login to your account by visiting or register for an account by visiting and completing the form.

If you are unsure whether your school has access to Learning Link, please contact the team at learninglink@nga.org.uk and they will be able to check for you. If you would like to find out more about the service or purchase a subscription please click here.


NGA Trustee Elections

Each year a proportion of the NGA board of trustees comes up for election. This year nominations are sought in three regions: East Midlands, North West and South West.

The NGA recognises that a diverse board can help to strengthen decision-making by considering issues from more perspectives. We would welcome nominations in particular from candidates from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

For more information about standing for the NGA Board – see the information here.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 13/07/2018

Key stage 2 SATs results

Tuesday saw the release of key stage 2 test (SATs) results to schools and announcement of the national figures, which showed that 64% of pupils met the expected standard in all of reading, writing and mathematics at key stage 2.

The reformed assessments were first taken in 2016, at which point 53% of pupils achieved the expected standard. The proportion has risen year-on-year and was 61% in 2017.

In 2017, 74% of pupils met the expected standard in reading, 78% met the expected standard in writing, 76% in maths and 78% in the grammar, punctuation and spelling test (GPS).

These results are just one outcome of the many years of hard work that pupils, staff and governing boards have put in and reflect only a fraction of everything that has been learned and achieved by pupils. Nevertheless, they are one important source of information about the performance of the school.

It is important for governing boards to take the time to make sense of their school(s)’s results and consider them in the context of the national picture.

More information on monitoring school performance is available in the Guidance Centre.


School funding: spending down 8% since 2009-10

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has published a new analysis comparing changes in school spending per pupil in Wales and England since 2009-10. It found that:

  • spending per pupil has reduced by 8% in England compared to 5% in Wales
  • the faster pace of cuts in England are due to reduction in spending on sixth forms and wider local authority services and a 10% rise in pupil numbers in England

England has seen a 25% fall in spending on school sixth forms and a 55% fall in spending on local authority services that support schools, such as home-to-school transport, school improvement services, and support for pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND).

NGA will continue to campaign for an increase in the overall education budget, including in 16-19 education about which we have expressed serious concerns alongside a wide range of organisations. If you would like to share the impact that funding pressures are having on your school(s), please get in touch with fay.holland@nga.org.uk.


Analyse School Performance (ASP) – changes to sign in process

Analyse School Performance (ASP) is the official data dashboard provided for schools, for free, by the Department for Education (DfE). It replaced RAISEonline in July last year and gives school leaders a comprehensive overview of performance against headline measures. Governors and trustees are entitled to access the service and it is an essential resources for holding a school to account and monitoring performance.

While those governing may be familiar with the Secure Access login portal, the log-in page for ASP is changing. Users of ASP will now need to set up an account with the DfE sign-in service, details of how to do this can be found here.

For more information, please read NGA’s detailed guidance on how to make the most of ASP. For a quick overview, Tom Fellows, NGA’s Senior Research Lead, has written a brief summary of what those governing need to know about ASP, which can be found here.


Governing boards’ role in Ofsted inspections

Ofsted has published an update for its inspectors, which includes the following clarification on governing boards’ role during the inspection:

“It has been brought to our attention that some schools have not informed all of their governors/trustees about the inspection of their school, nor invited them to meet inspectors during the inspection.

Inspectors should make clear to the headteacher, at the start of the inspection, that all governors/trustees must be informed of the inspection and that arrangements should be made for inspectors to meet the chair of governors/chair of the board of trustees and as many governors/trustees as possible during the inspection, and that as many governors/trustees as possible should also be invited to attend the final feedback meeting.”

Ofsted has previously clarified that all those on the governing board should be informed of the provisional outcome, including those who are unable to attend the final feedback meeting.

The update also highlights some other issues which are relevant to governing boards:

  • the new Department for Education (DfE) guidance on safeguarding recommends that schools hold more than one emergency contact number for each pupil (above the legal minimum)
  • inspectors will ask secondary school leaders about what they are doing in response to the DfE’s ambition for the vast majority of pupils to study the EBacc
  • inspectors will consider the DfE’s recent guidance on gender separation in mixed schools
  • that caution is required when considering the performance of groups of pupils (for example, by pupil characteristic), particularly small groups
  • Ofsted has no expectation about how primary schools should be carrying out assessment or recording pupils’ achievements and there is no requirement for numerical data to be used

Further information for governing boards on Ofsted is available in our Guidance Centre here. NGA also offers face-to-face training on the topic as well as modules on our e-learning platform, Learning Link.


Converting schools to academies report 

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has published a report in to its converting schools to academies inquiry. The National Governance Association (NGA) provided written evidence to the inquiry, and chief executive Emma Knights gave oral evidence on 18 May.

In their summary, the PAC says “the Department [for Education] still does not seem to be learning the lessons from high profile academy failures that have been costly for taxpayers and damaging to children’s education.”

The report also calls on the Department for Education (DfE) to set out plans to improve transparency for parents, to support all schools that want to become academies (including those who cannot find a sponsor), to require academies to work with local authorities to ensure they can fulfil their statutory duties, and to address the burdens of the accountability system.

In our evidence, NGA argued that the DfE need to be more honest and transparent about reviewing failures and learning from these, therefore NGA agrees that the DfE should identify lessons from academy failures and use these to inform the checks it carries out before schools convert. Those governing also have a role to play in sharing their experiences: NGA has been promoting learning between those governing MATs through our Community MATs network and Lessons Learned case studies.

For more detail on the report and comment from NGA, see our news page here.


ESC SEND inquiry oral evidence session

Last week, the Education Select Committee (ESC) took evidence from experts as part of its inquiry into special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The inquiry is reviewing the impact of wide-reaching Government reforms to the SEND system. Stephen Kingdom, campaign manager of the Disabled Children’s Partnership, Brian Lamb OBE, chair of the 2014 inquiry into Parental Confidence in Special Educational Needs, and Rt Hon Baroness Warnock, chair of the 1978 inquiry into Special Educational Needs, gave evidence to the cross-party group of MPs.

The key points raised during the session included:

  • Mr Lamb said that parental engagement and confidence, a key driver of the 2014 reforms, “has increased in certain elements of the system but there is still a long way to go”.
  • Mr Kingdom said that “many parents have concerns that the system is not working as it should be” and that “the current wider climate, both of other educational reforms and the financial climate is causing real tension”.
  • When asked about the rise in exclusion of pupils with SEN and the proportion of SEN in alternative provision, Mr Kingdom identified “financial pressures on specialist services and the wider accountability framework” as factors.
  • Baroness Warnock said that schools should be rewarded for inclusivity and that Ofsted is “playing a contradictory role” by looking for academic excellence but not acknowledging schools that are “genuinely inclusive and take real pride in what they do for children with special needs”.
  • On teacher training, Baroness Warnock said “there is still a great deficiency in teacher training to introduce the basic concept that there are going to be children with special needs in every class.”

You can read the evidence in full here. NGA has submitted written evidence to the ESC inquiry which will be published in due course.


ESFA release academies planning calendar 2018-19

This week, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has released a planning calendar summarising important dates for academy trusts between September 2018 and August 2019. This includes information and guidance, as well as actions the trust board must take throughout the year (such as school census returns and deadlines for publishing admission arrangements).

This document is important for those governing in academy trusts of all types and sizes. It is equally useful for those clerking trust boards as well.

Click here to access the document.


New blog on the relationship between Progress 8 and Ofsted judgments

This week, the Education Datalab has released a blog exploring whether “Ofsted inspection judgments are biased against schools with large proportions of disadvantaged White British pupils”.

Exploring trends in 1,405 schools subject to a section 5 short Ofsted inspection, the researchers found that, in 90% of cases, schools with a Progress 8 score of -0.41 or worse received a Requires Improvement or Inadequate Ofsted judgement. This is significant as the “risk of achieving such a low progress 8 score is higher among the most disadvantaged schools with lower proportions of pupils with English as an additional language (EAL)”.

To explain this, Ofsted would argue that, due to issues around teacher recruitment and retention, the “quality of education … tends to be poorer” in the most disadvantaged schools. However, the counterargument is that the type of school attended has no impact on the Progress 8 score of some pupil groups – with the blog noting that it is unclear how “Ofsted … take account of less supportive home environments when inspecting schools”.

While of some concern, the blog post did note that this was not a new trend. On the contrary, although “much less pronounced for disadvantaged schools with low proportions of EAL pupils”, trends over time suggest that “the most disadvantaged schools are now more likely than in the recent past to be judged good or better if they are inspected”.

To conclude, the blog suggested that, even before Progress 8 was introduced, schools were likely to be judged as underperforming by Ofsted. As such, the blog called upon the school inspectorate to “recognise the system-wide issue that some demographic groups of pupils do not achieve as well as others” in their 2019 update to the Ofsted inspection framework.

For more information on Ofsted, accountability measures and Progress/Attainment 8 please visit the NGA Guidance Centre.


Children’s safety at risk from varying system of social care, report on neglect in older children

Last week, a joint report was published by Ofsted, HMI Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and HMI Probation, entitled “Growing up neglected: a multi-agency response to older children.” These groups cover children’s social care, education, health services, the police, youth offending services and probation services, so were able to review practice across these areas to examine how effectively agencies were working together to help and protect children.

The report argued that much has been done by agencies to address the neglect of younger children, but that there needed to be greater awareness of the neglect of older children (defined by the report as those aged 7-15), and a focus on developing approaches to tackle the problem. Areas for improvement highlighted by the report included the initial identification of neglected children, and understanding that the problem which needs tackling is not the children themselves, but neglectful parenting. The report emphasised that neglected children’s behaviour needed to be understood as the product of trauma from past abuse and neglect, and could only be tackled by a coordinated strategic approach across agencies.

The concerns raised by this report were then reinforced by the findings of an inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children, published on Tuesday. The inquiry revealed that more than four in five Directors of Children’s Services believed that a postcode lottery existed in levels of support for vulnerable children. Even where children were at significant risk, support still varied depending on where the child lived. Funding constraints were identified as a key problem for those agencies which provided support, with budget considerations influencing the support that was offered, even in the most serious cases. The group recommended that the government takes steps to address the funding gap, and that the government considers introducing a legal duty on local authorities to provide early help to children, young people and their families.

These reports combine to present a concerning picture of the support available for vulnerable children. Governing boards will need to consider these findings carefully, as they have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that their school’s safeguarding policy and practices are effective. A range of content relating to pupil wellbeing and supporting vulnerable pupils is available in NGA’s Guidance Centre.


Young Governors Network: upcoming events

The Young Governors Network (YGN) aims to support and encourage those aged under 40 to govern in schools by facilitating them to share their experiences, addressing the challenges faced by young people governing schools and creating sustainable connections amongst current and prospective governors.

Following a survey undertaken with members of the YGN earlier this year to explore what they want to gain from the network, we have now planned five events for the beginning of the new school term.

Providing an informal opportunity to meet and share experiences with other young governors, we hope these events will equip you with valuable insight and ideas to use in your governor role and usefully contribute to your own professional development, as well as helping you to forge relationships with other young governors in your area. The meeting will provide plenty of time to network and the YGN team will be giving brief pitches and facilitated discussions on ‘courageous conversations’ and ‘creating change: diverse governing boards’.

YGN is member-led: created and run by young governors with support from the National Governance Association and Inspiring Governance. To join these free events, please book using the links below:

  • London (central – to be confirmed) – Wednesday 5 September, 5.30pm – 7.30pm – book here
  • Birmingham (city centre – B3) – Wednesday 12 September, 5.30pm – 7.30pm – book here
  • Sheffield (Sheffield Hallam University) – Wednesday 19 September, 5.30pm – 7.30pm – book here
  • Manchester (city centre) – Wednesday 26 September, 5.30pm – 7.30pm – book here
  • Bristol (city centre) – Wednesday 3 October, 5.30pm – 7.30pm – book here

These events are free and all governors/ trustees aged under 40 are welcome – attendees do not need to be a member of the NGA or YGN, so please do share this information with your governing board and networks. In addition, if you have a friend or colleague that you think would make a great governor, or who is interested in finding more, please do invite them and ask them to register through the link.


NGA SEND conference

Last Saturday, NGA was pleased to welcome attendees to our SEND conference in Birmingham.

The keynote was delivered by Philippa Stobbs, assistant director for education at the Council for Disabled Children. Philippa spoke about the importance of being inclusive and encouraging pupils to work to their aspirations.

NGA’s deputy chief executive, Gillian Allcroft, talked to delegates about high needs funding, highlighting the variation in top up funding between different local authorities. Gillian and delegates agreed that where a child or young person lives should not determine the amount of funding they receive – it should be based on the needs of the child or young person. 

Christopher Rossiter, chief executive of the Driver Youth Trust, introduced the SEND Review which can be downloaded here. The guide focusses on how the governing board can secure high quality outcomes for learners with SEND.

In the afternoon, NGA head of consultancy, Clare Collins, facilitated a workshop on the Effective Governance of SEND which got delegates thinking about their responsibilities and the information governors and trustees need to know to carry out their role effectively.  

Thank you to everyone who attended on the day. Slides from the presentations can be found here.


NGA Autumn Regional Conferences

Our regional conferences are free for NGA members and provide a unique opportunity to network with fellow governors, trustees and clerks, to hear updates and discuss issues in sessions on the latest hot topics.

Our range of expert speakers provide practical advice and opportunities to stimulate lively debate and thought-provoking discussions.

Due to the cancellation of the East of England Regional Conference in the spring, NGA will be delivering four regional conferences in autumn 2018. The dates and locations are as follows:

  • East of England Regional Conference, Saturday 8 September 2018 in Stansted.
  • East Midlands Regional Conference, Saturday 29 September 2018 in Leicester.
  • South West Regional Conference, Saturday 6 October 2018, in Taunton.
  • North East Regional Conference, Saturday 13 October 2018 in Gateshead.

Registration will be open shortly. Save the dates for these key events in your calendar!


NGA Autumn Regional Meetings

Our regional meetings are a great way to network closely with fellow governors, trustees and clerks. The topics of discussion for autumn 2018 will focus on accountability. The dates and locations are as follows:

  • Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Meeting, Monday 8 October 2018, Barnsley.
  • North West Regional Meeting, Wednesday 17 October 2018, Preston.
  • West Midlands Regional Meeting, Wednesday 24 October 2018, Birmingham.

Dates for the South East and London Regional meetings will be confirmed shortly.

Please visit the events webpage regularly for updates on the programme of our upcoming events.


NGA Autumn Annual Conference & AGM

The NGA annual conference and AGM will be taking place in central Birmingham on 17 November 2018. Keynote speakers include Carolyn Roberts, Chair of the Ethical Leadership Commission and Professor Michael Waters, who will be presenting on the governing board's role in curriculum.

This event will also provide the opportunity to network and interact with our partners and exhibitors.

Places will be strictly limited at this national conference. Save the date in your calendar and registration will open shortly.


Help us develop new e-learning for Learning Link

NGA is further developing our growing e-learning service, Learning Link. As part of the development of new modules we would really welcome views and feedback of governors and trustees currently using the service.

If you would like to be involved in this then please let us know by leaving your email address here

Your contact details will be held securely and only used to contact you with opportunities to preview and feedback on new Learning Link modules.  


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 06/07/2018

New report exploring the governing board’s role in spending, monitoring, evaluating and reviewing the pupil premium

As part of NGA’s Spotlight on Disadvantage campaign, which looks to help governing boards raise outcomes for children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, the NGA has released a research report exploring the governing board’s role in spending, monitoring and evaluating the pupil premium.

This report, which draws upon a survey of 875 governors and trustees and the thematic analysis of 36 pupil premium strategies, has found that governing boards often know their pupil premium pupils well, are heavily involved in championing the needs of pupil premium pupils and work closely with senior leaders to decide how to spend the pupil premium. Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement – with the findings revealing insights that schools, policy makers and researchers may want to consider going forward. This includes ways to write effective pupil premium strategies and ‘what works’ to raise outcomes for pupil premium pupils.

For more information click here. To read the full report or executive summary, please visit the Spotlight on Disadvantage campaign page. Alternatively, read a summary of the key findings in this month’s edition of Governing Matters.

New blog: How can we define educational disadvantage?

Accompanying the release of this new research, Tom Fellows, Senior Research Lead at the NGA and co-author of the report, has written a blog exploring the difficulties around defining educational disadvantage and what scope those governing and senior leaders have to define disadvantage in their own school.

Click here to read the blog.


NGA Trustee Elections

Each year a proportion of the NGA board of trustees comes up for election. This year nominations are sought in three regions: East Midlands, North West and South West.

The NGA recognises that a diverse board can help to strengthen decision-making by considering issues from more perspectives. We would welcome nominations in particular from candidates from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

For more information about standing for the NGA Board – see the information here.


School funding: 1,000 Headteachers to Downing Street

The WorthLess? Schools campaign for fairer funding is planning a day of action on 28 September. The campaign aims to bring together over one thousand headteachers to gather in Parliament Square before delivering a petition to Downing Street. The campaign is calling for:

  • fair and sufficient funding for all schools
  • much improved teacher supply and retention
  • enhanced social mobility for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged students

More information is available here. While the action is primarily aimed at headteachers, governing boards may wish to support their headteacher to attend or even accompany them on the day.

NGA supports the call for more investment in schools to alleviate the current funding crisis and will be keeping up the pressure on the Treasury through our Funding the Future campaign. We know that the sufficiency of school funding is the biggest issue for governors and trustees across the country and many of you are writing to your MPs to voice your concerns. If you would like to share your letter or your school’s story more generally (including on an anonymous basis) please contact fay.holland@nga.org.uk.


Campaign for future of maintained nursery schools

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Nursery Schools, Nursery and Reception classes has launched a campaign aimed at securing the future of maintained nursery schools, many of which are struggling to remain viable due to funding pressures.

Maintained nursery schools are among the highest performing provision in the early years sector but have additional cost pressures, including the requirement to employ qualified teachers and a headteacher, which do not apply to other settings.

NGA recognises the significant financial pressures on all types of education setting and the particular risk to maintained nursery schools which play an important role in the early years landscape.

Governing boards of maintained nursery schools and schools with nursery classes may wish to get involved in the campaign. More details are available here.


How have schools navigated the ‘self-improving school-led system’?

This week has seen the publication of a major research study on the effect of education reforms on schools. The focus of this report is the way in which schools have interpreted and responded to the government’s ‘self-improving school-led system’ policy agenda since 2010, including academisation, reduction in local authorities’ role, and new school-to-school support models such as teaching school alliances. The authors conclude that the reforms have created a system of “coercive autonomy” with the accountability framework exerting a powerful influence on schools’ behaviour. The findings pick up on the clear ‘local status hierarchies’ between schools serving the same community, which do not always reflect the quality of education provided. Analysis of Ofsted data showed “a relationship” between inspection grades and the proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals. Further, it found that school leaders often struggle with perverse ‘incentives’ to prioritise the interests of the school above those of individual children.

The research found that ‘local clusters’ of schools were the most common source of external support for schools – an important reminder that informal collaborations still play a vital role despite the emergence of new structures such as teaching school alliances and multi-academy trusts (MATs)

Accompanying statistical analysis found that, on average, there was no positive impact on the attainment and progress of pupils whose school is in a MAT compared to similar schools which are not in a MAT. However, pupils in smaller MATs (with two to three academies) performed better on average than pupils in similar schools while those in larger MATs did not do as well, particular in secondary schools.

These findings reflect NGA’s concerns that the accountability system is not always having a positive impact on schools’ decision-making (read a recent blog by Emma Knights). The research also supports NGA’s view that no one school structure is intrinsically better than others at promoting school improvement and that positive partnerships can play an important role. It is vital that the school system balances support with intervention and NGA will continue engaging with policy makers on improving elements of the current system which do not work for schools.

To read the report, click here.


School workforce statistics reveals worrying trends

The Department for Education (DfE) has released statistics on the composition of the school workforce. The key statistics are taken from the School Workforce Census, completed by local authorities and schools in November 2017.The census collects detailed information on teachers, teaching assistants and other non-classroom based school support staff. The release finds worrying trends in the recruitment and retention of the school workforce and shows that:

Teacher numbers have fallen in 2017:

  • The total full time employed (FTE) number of teachers in all schools has fallen by 1.2 per cent, from 457,200 to 451,900 between 2016 and 2017.
  • Compared to 2016, the number of FTE nursery and primary teachers fell by 0.6 per cent.
  • In the same period, FTE secondary teacher numbers fell by 1.9 per cent.

The rate of entry into teaching and leavers out of teaching are now at the same level:

  • The total number of FTE qualified entrants to teaching has decreased 9.9 per cent from 45,500 in 2015 to 42,400 in 2017.
  • Over the same period the proportion of FTE qualified teachers leaving teaching has remained consistent at (9.9 per cent).

The secondary school population is increasing:

  • The rate of increase in nursery and primary pupil numbers has been slowing and is projected to stabilise in 2019.
  • However, the secondary school population started to rise in 2016 and is projected to increase to 3.1 million by 2020. It is expected to peak at 3.3 million pupils by 2025.

The increase in pupil teacher ratios (PTR):

  • Between 2016 and 2017, the PTR increased and is now at 17.9:1 – up 0.3 on 2016.
  • In the nursery/primary sector there was an increase of 0.3 taking the PTR to 20.9:1
  • In secondary there has been a continued increase from 2012 (when it was 14.9:1) and between 2016 and 2017, the PTR is up 0.4 to 16:1.

You can read the full statistical release here. NGA is concerned about the growing shortage of teaching staff across the board and will continue to call on the government to take affirmative action to prevent a serious staffing shortage.


Ofsted on inspection of schools in MATs

In a speech to the Education Policy Institute on Tuesday 3 July, Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman spoke about the inspection of schools which are part of multi-academy trusts (MATs).

She reported two common misconceptions that inspectors encounter:

  1. that schools in MATs often see themselves as separate to the leadership of the trust rather than part of the same legal entity
  2. that “local governing bodies” are the accountable body for the governance of the school when in fact that is the role of the trust board

NGA was pleased to hear her highlight the importance of having a clear, published scheme of delegation which is understood and followed by everyone involved; NGA’s model schemes of delegation are available in the Guidance Centre.

Spielman reported that Ofsted will begin a training programme to improve inspectors’ understanding of MAT structures and governance in the autumn as well as engaging with MATs to improve inspection. The full text of the speech, which also touched on the inspection of the curriculum, is available here.

More information on how Ofsted inspect schools is also available in the Guidance Centre.


Research into the impact of AS and A level decoupling

This week, the exam regulator Ofqual has produced a qualitative study exploring the impact of AS-level reforms in schools and colleges. Prior to 2015, AS and A levels were part of the same qualification, with AS levels (taken in the first year of A level study) making up a large proportion of a pupil’s final A level grade. However since then the government ‘decoupled’ AS and A levels meaning that AS levels and A levels are now standalone qualifications (with AS levels being a one-year course and A levels a two-year course) that do not need to be taken together.

Exploring the impact of ‘decoupling’ AS and A levels, Ofqual interviewed 17 schools in England. They found that:

  • “some schools reported that students were less motivated to do well in their AS assessments as they tended to also be taking the A level in that subject and were aware that their AS results no longer counted towards the A level”
  • although many low ability pupils were being increasingly entered into alternative qualifications to AS/A level, “where schools were entering only some students within a subject to reformed AS, these tended to be lower ability students who were not carrying the subject on to A level”

The research also found a decline in the number of students taking AS levels in the schools interviewed, mirroring trends over the past few years.

For Ofqual, the main concern is that if pupils taking the new AS levels are less motivated and have lower prior attainment, the results may not be comparable with previous years. This is significant, as results are often awarded based on the pretext that cohorts are compatible year-on-year. In the research report, Ofqual detailed steps they have put in place to ensure that there is no disadvantage to AS candidates due to these reforms.

Governing boards of sixth-forms may want to think about how ‘decoupling’ of AS and A levels has affected the cohort taking A levels in their school(s). For more information on qualifications in general, please visit the NGA website.


Children’s Commissioner report into Childhood Vulnerability

On Wednesday, a report from the Children’s Commissioner revealed that over two million children in England are growing up in families with risks so serious that some form of intervention is required. This amounts to almost one in six of all children in England. These vulnerable children included:

  • 825,000 children living in a family with domestic violence
  • 890,000 children living with parents who suffer serious mental health problems
  • 470,000 children living with parents who engage in dangerous substance use
  • 470,000 children living in material deprivation
  • 170,000 children who act as carers for their parents, or siblings

Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield said that these children were “being let down by a system that doesn’t recognise or support them.” She stated that additional resources and effective targeting were required, with such intervention necessary because the costs to children of missing out on this support would last a life time. Currently, we know that just 570,000 of the 2.1 million children identified as vulnerable are receiving support, the rest may not be.

These findings provide food for thought for governing boards, as they have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that their school’s safeguarding policy and practices are effective. While NGA’s Spotlight on Disadvantage report, published this week, focuses on how schools support pupils eligible for pupil premium, governing boards have an important part to play in ensuring that schools identify other forms of vulnerability among pupils and address barriers to educational achievement as well as working with other agencies involved in supporting the child outside school where appropriate.

A range of content relating to pupil wellbeing and supporting vulnerable pupils is available in NGA’s Guidance Centre.


New guidance on apprenticeships for school workforce

The Department for Education (DfE) has published new guidance to provide specific information to schools on what apprenticeships are and how schools can use them to benefit their workforce by “accessing new talent and retraining or upskilling current staff”.

The guide outlines when schools will be required to pay the levy (subject to the size of its payroll and/or whether the school is the employer) and when this will be the responsibility of the local authority or academy trust. Specifically, the guide outlined that:

  • For voluntary-aided and foundation schools, the governing body is the employer. If the governing board’s pay bill is more than £3 million then it will need to pay the levy.
  • For community and voluntary-controlled schools, the local authority is the employer, and so is responsible for payment of the apprenticeship levy for schools under their control. Each local authority with a pay bill of over £3 million will pay the levy and the local authority will advise its schools on whether they need to take account.
  • For academies, including free schools and academies in multi-academy trusts (MATs), the trust is generally the employer of all the academies’ staff. If the trust’s pay bill is more than £3 million then it will need to pay the levy.”

The guidance also sets out how all employers can access apprenticeship funding, the different apprenticeship options schools can consider and whether the public-sector target applies to schools. It links to further information and support, features frequently asked questions and provides case-studies of effective practise. NGA recommends that those governing, whether they are liable to pay the levy or not, read the apprenticeship guidance which is available in full here.


DfE issues guidance on gender-separation in mixed-schools

The Department for Education (DfE) has published non-statutory guidance for mixed schools on the matter of gender separation. It follows the recent Court of Appeal judgement in the case of Ofsted vs. the interim executive board of Al-Hijrah School. The guidance, which is aimed at all mixed schools (maintained, academies and other independent schools), aims to provide support to school leaders, staff and governing boards in identifying what is legally acceptable when it comes separating pupils by sex.

In general, any separation of pupils based on their sex that “denies them the choice or opportunity to interact socially, or to interact in an educational setting, with pupils of the other sex” is likely to be unlawful except for specific statutory exception or where the school can demonstrate that the effect is negligible. The guidance covers situations in which it is lawful to separate boys and girls for sports and personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education. It also covers situations where an intervention might be targeted at, for example, boys that are underperforming in maths: this must be proportionate and it would not be permissible to exclude any girls who were struggling with maths on the basis that the average performance of girls was higher.

Governing boards should be aware of any separation by sex which occurs in their school and ensure that it is lawful. To access the DfE’s guidance please click here.


Looking ahead… succession planning

As we enter the final few weeks of the academic year, the chairs among you might be thinking ahead to your decision to stand for re-election. Maybe 2018/19 will be your last year in post, but who will succeed you?

Future Chairs, part of the Inspiring Governance programme, supports school governing boards with the vital task of succession planning by linking them with skilled volunteers who have leadership experience in other sectors and are willing to take on a chairing role in the future. Boards retain ownership of the appointment process and we continue to work with our partners until a well-matched candidate is found. But our support does not stop there – once appointed we continue to support future chairs through their first 12 months with mentoring and training.

So far, Future Chairs has facilitated almost 40 successful appointments to governing boards, MAT boards and academy committees across England while several candidates are in active discussions with schools.

We are continuing to sign up schools and MATs in Bradford, Derby & Derbyshire, Hastings, Ipswich and South Yorkshire (Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham & Sheffield) to the programme, so if you are interested in working with us or just want to find out more, please get in touch.

Finally, if any of our members in these areas are interested in chairing in an additional school or moving to a different school, we’d love to hear from you.

Contact Simon Richards, Chairs Development Manager at simon.richards@nga.org.uk


Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

NGA’s new Leading Governance programmes; Development for Chairs, Development for Clerks and Development for Boards are all now open for bookings.

DON’T MISS OUT! Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis.

Last chance to book:

Development Programme

Area

Pre-work begins

Chairs

Bolton

10 July

Chairs

Bristol

16 July

 

New cohorts available:

Development Programme

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Chairs

North Devon

3 September

17 September

2 November

Chairs

Torbay

3 September

17 September

3 November

Chairs

South Devon

3 September

17 September

5 November

Chairs

Plymouth

3 September

17 September

6 November

Chairs

Newquay

3 September

17 September

10 November

Clerks

Newquay

17 September

1 October

5 December

Clerks

North Devon

17 September

1 October

7 December

Clerks

South Devon

17 September

1 October

10 December

Clerks

Plymouth

17 September

1 October

11 December

Clerks

Torbay

17 September

1 October

12 December

Chairs

Rochdale

1 October

15 October

22 November

Clerks

Rochdale

1 October

15 October

10 January

 

Development for Boards

Cost: Funding is available up to the value of £2,000 per board. Click here to secure your space.

This programme is designed for boards governing multi academy trusts or groups of schools, or boards of schools in opportunity areas where the school is judged to be requiring improvement.

This is a consultant-led bespoke programme that will be tailored to your board’s circumstances to improve practice and outcomes.

You can book your place on Development for Boards here.  

Development for Chairs

Cost: Funding is available up to the value of £500. Click here to secure your space.

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance.

You can check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

Development for Clerks

Cost: The course costs is £425. Funding is available up to the value of £350. Leaving only £75 to pay. Click here to secure your funding.

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking.

You can check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

DON’T MISS OUT!  
Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis.

Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 29/06/2018

Governing Matters: July/August edition

A new Governing Matters, NGA’s bi-monthly magazine, is out this week. Cover stories include:

  • Governing-Matters-Jul-Aug-(2).pngRaising standards – Putting governance at the forefront

Lord Agnew, parliamentary under-secretary of state for the school system, suggests ways of ensuring governance is not overshadowed in the general pursuit of raising standards.

  • NGA policy news – Accountability

Gillian Allcroft, NGA’s deputy chief executive, looks at the steps being taken to address the consequences of high-stakes accountability.

  • The Youth Sport Trust – Championing PE and school sports

Stuart Kay, school network director at the Youth Sport Trust, looks at the current state of PE and schools sports and proposes an approach for change.

  • Spotlight on disadvantage – Governing boards’ impact on pupil premium

Tom Fellows, NGA’s senior research lead, reports on the interim findings from NGA’s exploratory study that looks into how much involvement governing boards have in planning, spending, monitoring and evaluating the pupil premium.

  • Focus on academies – The NGA MAT case studies

Each MAT has a different story to tell with its own unique learning points. Sam Henson, NGA’s head of information, and Tom Fellows, NGA’s senior research lead, summarise the lessons learned so far.

The magazine is available as a pdf for STANDARD governing board members who do not get a printed copy. Alternatively if the membership is upgraded to GOLD, all members of the board will be posted a copy to their home address. Please make sure we have your home addresses: email membership@nga.org.uk

Top of page

SEND Governance Review Guide launched

Gillian Allcroft, NGA’s deputy chief executive, was pleased to attend the launch of the SEND Governance Review Guide this week. The guide was commissioned by Whole School SEND and co-funded by the Department for Education (DfE) and Driver Youth Trust in partnership with governance leaders.

The guide focusses on how the governing board can secure high quality outcomes for learners with SEND.

Speaking at the launch, Gillian said: “A school in which the governing board has values that are inclusive and welcoming of all children is a huge step in the right direction. It drives a culture in which the provision for children with SEND is a key priority and not an afterthought. Though one governor may have specific SEND responsibilities, all the governing board should know what the provision is and whether it is achieving desired outcomes. A diverse board will make better decisions and a diverse, inclusive school will help make our children and young people more rounded individuals. The SEND Governance Review Guide can help boards to set the right direction.”

Chris Rossiter, chief executive of Driver Youth Trust and lead author of the SEND Governance Review Guide, said: “This guide provides a blueprint from which governors and academy trustees can acquire and reflect upon their strategic view of SEND for the benefit of these young people, who rightly should be central to our decision-making.”

You can also read a blog from one of the parent governors who sat on the review and also spoke at the launch.

The SEND Governance Review Guide can be downloaded for free here.    


ESFA Understanding Your Data guidance published

This week, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has published a guide for governing boards on Understanding your Data. The new guide sets out the broad range of information governing boards might consider when fulfilling their core functions of setting the right strategic direction for the school or trust, holding school leaders to account for educational performance and ensuring value for money. The guidance also features optional templates and explanations on how to use exceptions reports, comparisons to key benchmarking data and features a list of useful resources.

In the foreword of the guide, EFSA chief executive Eileen Milner wrote: “this is not about collecting more data, but collecting the right information… You can use this resource to refine your board reporting and to actually reduce the amount of data collection and associated work”. 

NGA recommends that governors and trustees read the new guidance alongside the NGA/Wellcome Trust guide to Being Strategic, which is available here.

Your evidence base will support you to develop, monitor and deliver your school or trust strategy, inform discussions about the curriculum, education standards and ensure probity in the deployment of resources. Any information collected should align with the strategic improvement priorities of the school or trust and agreed on at the beginning of the year in partnership with executive leaders to avoid excessive workload and duplication.

For further support on how to use data to the best effect, NGA has developed a Learning Linking module on ‘Progress and attainment: using data to improve educational outcomes’ which you can access via the Learning Link portal.  


MPs question Secretary of State

On Wednesday 27 June, the secretary of state Damian Hinds appeared before the House of Commons Education Select Committee to answer MPs’ questions on a whole range of issues.

Unsurprisingly, the first topic on the agenda was school funding and Hinds assured MPs that he would be seeking to ensure all education settings are funded to the level the public expect in the forthcoming spending review but would not be drawn on exactly how much he would be asking the Treasury for. The committee are holding a separate inquiry on funding and NGA’s written evidence is available to read here.

Other topics covered included careers guidance, the wellbeing of pupils, exclusion of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), the accountability system, teacher workload and retention. A summary of the session is available on our parliamentary page here.


New report exploring the barriers to educational achievement facing adopted children

A new report, Bridging the Gap, written by adoptionUK, explores the barriers to educational achievement which impact upon adopted and previously looked-after children. The report draws upon a survey of “more than 2,000 adoptive parents, and nearly 2,000 adopted young people, to explore how effectively their social and emotional wellbeing was supported in school”.

The report outlines that schools and policy makers need to focus on four “gaps” which adopted and previously looked-after children often face. These are:

  • The “Understanding gap”: The report reveals that roughly three-quarters of adopted children have received some form of neglect or abuse throughout their lives. Through professional development, schools need to understand how a “history of abuse, neglect and trauma impacts a child”. The report suggests that this should be reflected in the behaviour policy, with “carrot and stick methods of behaviour management” only useful if “the child is capable of the required behaviour”. Furthermore, with adopted children “20 times more likely to be permanently excluded from school”, schools need to understand that “‘Zero Tolerance’ and ‘No Excuses’ behaviour management policies can be devastating” for adopted children.
  • The “Empathy gap”: Recognising how trauma can make young people “react to everyday events” differently is important. This research reveals that nearly eight in ten adopted young people believe that their peers enjoy school more than them and nearly three-quarters “feel confused and worried at school”. Furthermore, two-thirds have been “teased or bullied” by their peers for being adopted. The report stresses that adopted children sometimes struggle to make meaningful relationships and schools need to approach adopted children with empathy.
  • The “Resources gap”: The researchers stress that schools are facing significant financial pressures. The report calls on the government to “invest in the social and emotional wellbeing of adopted and previously looked-after children”.
  • The “attainment gap”: The report emphasises that data suggests that “adopted children achieve about half as well as their peers in statutory examinations”. However, more needs to be done to “collect and analyse educational outcomes data for previously looked-after” and adopted children to understand the barriers to educational achievement they face.

This report ties in with the aims of NGA’s Spotlight on Disadvantage campaign and a new report exploring how governing boards spend, monitor and evaluate the pupil premium. NGA’s research report will be published early next week and you can read an outline of the interim findings in the new edition of Governing Matters.


Is your school ‘off-rolling’ pupils?

Both Ofsted and the Education Datalab have published analyses of ‘off-rolling’, the practice of encouraging pupils to move before the end of key stage 4 in order to improve the school’s headline measures.

Ofsted found that 19,000 pupils who were in year 10 in 2016 did not appear on the same school’s roll in year 11 the following year. While half had moved to another school, the remainder could not be traced to another state-funded educational establishment. There are possible legitimate reasons for this, such as joining an independent school, being home schooled or moving abroad, but the analysis found that some groups of children were disproportionately likely to be affected: those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), those eligible for free school meals, looked after children, and some minority ethnic groups. Ofsted have identified 300 secondary schools from which an ‘exceptional’ level of pupils have moved in each of the last two years. This will inform their lines of inquiry during inspections.

Amongst the cohort that finished key stage 4 in 2017, Education Datalab found an increase in the number of pupils who left mainstream schools between years 7 and 11.  Again, it found that some pupil groups were more likely to go missing from school rolls than others and that outcomes for these pupils’ reinforced concerns that some schools may be off-rolling pupils.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee are currently holding an inquiry into Ofsted’s inspection of schools, to which NGA has submitted written evidence. Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman appeared before the committee on Monday 25 June and off-rolling was one of the topics discussed: “The more our inspectors are thinking clearly about the environment and the potential pressures that a school might be feeling, the better the conversation can be about how they are navigating this in the interests of children”.

The vast majority of schools will always prioritise the interests of pupils above the demands of performance measures and will not engage in ‘off-rolling’. There is, however, a clear role for the governing board in ensuring this never happens by asking questions about changes in the make-up of cohorts and setting an ethos and culture with ethical leadership at its core.


British Council Language Trends Survey 2018

The British Council’s Language Trends is an annual survey of primary and secondary schools in England to gather information about the current situation for language teaching and learning.

This year’s survey was carried out from January to March 2018 and collected responses from 692 primary schools and 785 secondary schools (of which 651 were state-funded and 134 were independent). The survey sample for primary and secondary is representative of schools with lower levels of free school meal eligibility which may positively skew the findings.

This year’s report focuses on the socio-economic and educational variables associated with language teaching and learning and finds that “only half the pupil population take a language to GCSE, and only a third (33%) obtain a grade C or above.” The key findings of the survey are: 

  • “Teachers report that the introduction of new, more rigorous GCSEs and A levels is depressing take up and the increase in GCSE numbers delivered by the English Baccalaureate policy is now in reverse”.
  • “Schools in more disadvantaged circumstances tend to dedicate a shorter time to languages in key stage 3, allow pupils to drop languages after only two years and have lower participation at GCSE”.

The report also covers changing attitudes to language learning (both positive and negative) and challenges of recruiting qualified teachers. While we are still analysing the results of our 2018 Annual Governance Survey the 2017 survey indicated that many schools struggled to recruit modern foreign language teachers.

You can read the full findings of the Language Trends survey findings here. The governing board has a key role in ensuring that the school’s curriculum offer is broad and balanced and as far as possible meets the needs of all the young people in the school. Governing boards must have a good understanding of the curriculum offer and should challenge decisions to reduce provision.  


Tes and teaching unions write to Secretary of State on visa rules for teachers

This week, Tes wrote a letter to Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary, and Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, urging them to give teachers higher priority for visas. The letter, which is counter-signed by the general secretaries of all of England’s major teaching unions, highlights a growing shortage in the supply of teachers at primary and secondary level. Tes requests that the teaching profession get similar visa exemptions that doctors and nurse receive. This would allow talent teachers from oversees to help to fill vacancies that exist in domestic recruitment. 


Breakfast club funding: expressions of interest sought

Following an announcement in the spring, schools are able to express interest in taking part in the National School Breakfast Programme. The programme is being run jointly by Family Action and Magic Breakfast and is funded by the Department for Education (DfE).

The aim of the programme is to ensure more children receive a healthy breakfast, improve educational outcomes of disadvantaged young people and share best practice and innovative approaches to school breakfast provision.

The programme is targeted at disadvantaged communities and particularly the DfE’s Opportunity Areas. Schools that are interested in taking part can register their interest with Family Action here.


ESFA releases survey on estate management

The Education, Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) recently published guidance for anyone who is responsible for the school estate, called Good Estate Management for Schools. ESFA are now looking to build on this by offering more focused support and guidance on managing and overseeing the school estate.

To help with this, ESFA has launched a survey on Estate management. The survey includes questions about the challenges schools face, what they would find beneficial and what would and would not work. The survey is open to governors/trustees but you might also want to forward it to whoever has day to day responsibility for estates management in your school/trust.

The survey closes on 23 July and can be found here.


Join Inspiring Governance’s Birmingham workshop to boost your recruitment potential

Discover how to connect with volunteers who want to become governors/ trustees and begin your recruitment journey by joining our new Inspiring Governance recruiter workshop. Whether you are new to the service or an existing user that wants to maximise your recruitment potential, this event is for you. As an attendee, you will have the opportunity to experience all the features of the recently upgraded platform, see live profiles of volunteers near you and receive advice on how best to secure the volunteers you want. 

 There will also be the opportunity to:

  • register on Inspiring Governance, create vacancies and begin your search for governors/ trustees immediately
  • discover all the benefits of the free training and support provided to new recruits by the NGA, designed to complement your local training offer
  • meet the Inspiring Governance team and discuss any queries that you may have

Join us on 17 July 2018 for lunch from 12pm and the workshop between 1pm and 3pm in Birmingham city centre (location details available upon booking). The workshop is open to all recruiters including non-members (schools, MATs, governor services) so please do share this with any chairs, governors, trustees, clerks or governance managers that may be interested.

Email judith.hicks@nga.org.uk to book your free place.


DfE - Opportunity to have your say about the Teacher Pay Framework – More governors needed

This is a repeat request from 15 June. The Department for Education (DfE) wants to thank those who have already put their names forward to be involved, but are hoping for another nine volunteers.

DfE has commissioned the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), an independent research charity, to collate and assess the views of teachers, leaders and those governing on the teacher pay framework. IES is looking for another nine governors/trustees to participate in this important research via two online focus group sessions at a time convenient to you. Your responses will be treated confidentially and anonymised at all times. The findings of the project, to be delivered to the DfE in September 2018, will help to inform any future proposed changes to optimise the existing teachers’ pay framework.

IES will be exploring views on how the pay framework, including features such as Teaching and Learning Responsibility allowances, currently operates in your school over the course of an hour long session. Descriptions on the various structures will be covered in the session. IES would like to offer you £25, to thank you for your time in taking part in the research.

Please contact Joanne.Doherty@employment-studies.co.uk or telephone 01273 763419 to speak to a researcher with any questions you may have and to arrange a convenient time for the online focus group.

If you would like to contact DfE about this research please email Nicola Mackenzie at jobshare.MACKENZIE-PEACHEY@education.gov.uk


Last few places available for NGA’s SEND Conference!

The conference will be held on Saturday 7 July 2018 in central Birmingham.

The event will be of particular interest to those governing in special schools, SEND governors in mainstream schools and for any member who has an interest in the governance of SEND.

Key speakers include Philippa Stobbs from the Council for Disabled Children and Christopher Rossiter of the Driver Youth Trust.

The sessions will focus on topics such as the importance of being inclusive, the SEND Governance Review Guide and funding.

This event will provide the unique opportunity to raise questions with the NGA and the guest speakers, as well as talk through the key issues involved in SEND governance.

More details on the venue and the programme are available upon registration through the website on the NGA Events Page.

There are only a few places left, so please secure your place now at this unique event.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 22/06/2018

How do ‘academy chains’ compare to local authorities?

A new report by the Education Policy Institute compares the performance of ‘academy chains’ and the collective performance of maintained schools under different local authorities.

Key findings include:

  • that “what matters most is being in a high performing school group, not being in an academy rather than a local authority maintained school or vice-versa”
  • local authorities in London outperform other areas of the country
  • there are cases of high performance and of sustained underperformance among both local authorities and academy chains

EPI makes a number of recommendations to the Department for Education (DfE) on the back of its findings:

  1. identify academy chains at risk of failure and build sponsor capacity in those areas
  2. allow high performing local authorities to take over schools from underperforming academy chains
  3. challenge poorly performing local authorities and intervene in struggling schools
  4. continue to publish information at academy chain level and consider similar measures for local authorities

The report uses the term ‘academy chains’ as their analysis groups together academies which share a sponsor, rather than only those in the same multi-academy trust (MAT). It is also important to note that the relationship between schools and local authorities on the one hand and MATs on the other is very different: a more accurate comparison would be between federations and MATs.

While NGA agrees that the DfE should build sponsor capacity and identify multi-academy trusts at risk of failure, we would like to see the DfE doing more to prevent failure by ensuring that MAT governance structures are fit for purpose; there are currently too many trusts operating with older articles and the DfE should be braver in bringing them in line with current recommendations. NGA has been promoting peer learning among MAT trustees and clerks through our Community MATs network and lessons learned case studies.

The key message, that no one school structure is intrinsically better than another in bringing about school improvement, has long been NGA’s position: any decision about changing school structure or joining a formal partnership should be made in the best interests of pupils and following full consideration of the options available.

Guidance Centre: School Structures.


LAs and unions call for more high needs funding

The School Cuts Coalition and 39 Local Authorities have written to the Education Secretary expressing their “deep concerns about the dangerously inadequate funding for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)”. The letter calls on the government to provide adequate funding as many local authorities and schools do not have the money needed to meet their statutory duties and “currently over 2,000 children and young people with SEND are sitting at home with no education provision at all.”

NGA supports the call for an increase to high needs funding so that pupils with special educational needs, who are often the most vulnerable in their schools, are supported to fulfil their potential. NGA has recently submitted evidence to the Education Select Committee on this issue and will continue to lobby the Department for Education (DfE) to prioritise high needs funding in the next Spending Review.


Governing board role in managing staff workload

The Department for Education (DfE) has published a blog by Judith Rutherford, chair of governors at Hiltingbury Junior School, sharing her experience of putting in place new governance processes which have had a positive impact on staff workload.

Working from the principle that nothing should be done ‘just for the governors’, establishing the new processes included a range of steps, with Judith working with senior leaders to agree: what data would be reported to the board, a system of ‘cohort governors’ with clear objectives, a format for the headteacher report, an annual plan of work for the governing board, to update the vision and strategic plan, and to create a monitoring programme integrated with that of school leaders.

Reflecting on the process, Judith writes: “A key reason as to why we have been successful in making these changes is the high level of trust and respect between the leadership team and the governing body. We are all proud of this partnership, rooted in reducing workload, improving governance and putting our pupils at the heart of all that we do.”

Tackling staff workload is one of the most powerful things governing boards can do to improve staff wellbeing – and, consequently, retention. Read more in these Governing Matters articles Teacher Workload and the Workload challenge by NGA deputy chief executive Gillian Allcroft.


ESC evidence session hears from experts on school funding

This week, the Education Select Committee took evidence from policy experts and researcher organisations as part of its inquiry into school and college funding. The inquiry is examining what the Department for Education’s (DfE) priorities should be for the next Spending Review period, the implementation of the national funding formula and the effectiveness of targeted funding such as the pupil premium. Natalie Perera, Executive Director of the Education Policy Institute, Luke Sibieta, Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Angela Donkin, Chief Social Scientist at the National Foundation for Educational Research gave evidence.

The key points raised during the session included:

  • any efficiency savings earmarked by the DfE are cuts to spending
  • schools have taken on extra responsibilities but with no extra money - schools are expected to do more around behaviour and pastoral care than 15 years ago, an issue that has been exacerbated by cuts to local authority services
  • there is a need to improve data on the condition of the school estate and, at a local and national level, to target capital funding and better manage school places
  • on the effectiveness of the pupil premium, there was a call for schools to use more evidence when planning strategies and interventions using resources such as the Education Endowment Foundation Toolkit
  • there was a consensus that the current level of funding for post-16 education, which is at the same level in real-terms as in 1990, is inadequate and panellists questioned the decision to protect 5-16 education spending and cut post-16 funding given that the compulsory school age was raised to 18
  • on the effectiveness of the spending review cycle, there was a call for greater foresight about the cost of policy change during the spending cycle, with unfunded assessment and accountability reforms cited as creating additional pressures on school budgets and staff workload

You can watch the full evidence session here. NGA has recently submitted evidence to the inquiry into school funding which will be published in due course.


Report on mental health includes recommendations for governors and trustees

A new report by the education and youth ‘think and action-tank’ LKMco and the school mental health organisation Minds Ahead looks into the scale and causes of youth mental health issues. The report finds that “75% of mental health problems begin before the age of 18” and that “ONS data shows that suicide is the leading cause of death, for five-nineteen year olds”. Whilst there is increasing concern about youth mental health within the education and health sectors, the debate continues about how much of a role schools should play in tackling the issues.

The report highlights that “school leaders, including governors [and trustees] have the power to set the climate within their schools and to place pupil wellbeing at the heart of their decisions”. Recommendations for governors and trustees include:

  • “School leaders should be true to their moral purpose and prioritise pupil needs in the face of perceived accountability pressures, so that decisions are taken with due consideration for their impact on pupil and teacher wellbeing.”
  • “Schools should review potential risk factors for pupil wellbeing within their school community.”

For further support on how to support a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing, visit the NGA Guidance Centre.


Gender equality in education leadership may be hampered by language in adverts

“Gendered language” in adverts for “the top jobs in education” is explored in an article in The Guardian, which considers how “thrusting language” such as “not for the faint of heart” and “self-motivated natural leader” is a concern in headteacher recruitment.

The “combination and frequency” of these words may lead to inequality in who will be appointed to these roles because they are thought to be off-putting to women who are less likely to associate themselves with those words or would not carry out the role in that style. The article cites a number of instances where the use of particular language and imagery is seen to be more macho, leading women to think they are unsuitable for the role. This “unconscious gender bias” is an issue across recruitment, according to the article.

Semantics of job adverts may be one of the reasons for under-representation of women in senior education roles as well as women being paid less than men are. The article says “while female teachers make up 64% of the secondary teaching workforce, they represent just 38% of secondary heads.” In addition, “the recent publication of the gender pay gap in education shows there are far more men in higher paying senior positions in schools than there are women.” Those interviewed for the piece also referred to gender bias at interview stage, including an icebreaker question at an interview being “pick your favourite rugby or cricket team.”

The appointment of headteachers is a key part of the role of governors and trustees, however there is “no legal requirement for governors to undertake any kind of training in recruitment best practice, equality and discrimination law.” Quoted in the article, Emma Knights says that whilst these courses are offered by NGA, they do not receive “much take up”. Our Headteacher Recruitment Toolkit includes a section on equality and diversity, providing practical tips for governing boards.

The article concludes with advice to those recruiting, suggesting that adverts concentrate on “a need for inspirational leadership, which allows for people to bring their own individual style and approach,” and a focus “on children’s welfare and ability to progress, rather than simply the school’s results”. Vivienne Porritt, a former headteacher and co-founder of WomenED, adds that it is “important to highlight your commitment to diversity, inclusion and flexible working practices in your advert as this will encourage more women to apply.”


Rising number of child protection plans

The Local Government Association (LGA) has highlighted figures which show that across the country councils started 66,410 child protection plans in 2016/17, which is twice the number of 10 years ago. Child protection plans are started when the council believes that a child is at risk of significant harm and set out how the child can be kept safe and the support the family will require.

While it is not appropriate for those governing to be party to the individual circumstances of pupils’ lives, governing boards should ensure that robust safeguarding procedures are in place and being implemented, and that schools are working with other agencies to protect the welfare of pupils who have child protection plans. These pupils are likely to require additional support both in and outside of the classroom, something that can have implication for teachers’ and senior leaders’ time

The NGA guidance centre includes information on governing boards’ safeguarding responsibilities and the role of the safeguarding governor/trustee. NGA also offers both face-to-face training and Learning Link e-learning for governing boards on this topic.


Asbestos Management Assurance Process (AMAP)

Just a reminder that all responsible bodies of state-funded schools and academies are expected to complete the Asbestos Management Assurance Process (AMAP).

The deadline has now been extended to Monday 25 June 2018.

This is an opportunity for all Responsible Bodies to provide a written (electronic) assurance that their schools are compliant with legislation on the management of asbestos in their education estate.

Governing boards should ensure that their headteachers have arranged for the AMAP to be completed.


Digital minister calls for schools to ban mobiles

This week, writing in The Telegraph, Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport placed an emphasis on schools having a major role in protecting young pupils from the challenges the internet and technology may bring. He highlighted his admiration for headteachers “who take a firm approach and do not allow mobiles to be used during the school day”. In addition, he urges schools to look at the evidence that banning phones in schools can prove successful, as studies indicate that mobile phone use can impact on memory and fluid intelligence.

The article follows the Secretary of State’s recent speech at the NSPCC “how safe are our children” conference, where he mentioned that he shall work closely with the Education Secretary to make ‘“sure both schools and young people get the support they need to be properly equipped in the digital age’’. Read more about this in the Telegraph and Schools Week.

This stance was supported by Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector in her speech at the Wellington Festival of Education in talking about behaviour in schools. Many schools already restrict the use of mobile phones during the school day.

On the other hand, Samantha Price, head teacher of Benenden School in Kent, wrote to the Times that “outright ban on mobiles is unrealistic. Like it or not, phones and social media are an important part of children’s lives” and suggested that “the government should focus on supporting schools and parents to help young people to find the right balance”. BBC’s Newsround have also collected comments from children and young people on whether or not they agree with the call to ban mobile phones from schools, which can be read here.

Further information on pupil well-being and online safety is available in the Guidance Centre.


Survey on hygiene poverty among pupils

On Tuesday, charity In Kind Direct published the findings of a survey which involved a representative sample of 2,000 parents of primary school children and 100 teachers. The survey highlighted the prevalence of hygiene poverty across the UK.

Headline figures included the fact that 43% of parents said that they had to go without basic hygiene or cleaning products because they couldn’t afford them. As a result, 26% said that their child had to wear the same shirt or blouse for at least a week, while nearly one in five (18%) said that their child wears the same underwear for at least two days in a row. Among teachers, 63% said that they see children turning up for schools in dirty clothes. Nearly half (47%) said that children came to school without having cleaned their teeth, while 80% said that they had seen an increase in the number of pupils coming to school unwashed. Worryingly in light of these figures, 46% of teachers also said that they see children being bullied due to hygiene issues, while 54% had observed hygiene problems causing low self-esteem.

Some schools are having to take action to combat these problems. A primary school in Stoke provides toiletries, washing powder and toothpaste, and is considering installing a washing machine. According to the survey, some teachers put their hands into their own pockets too. 36% of respondents said that they had provided toothpaste to pupils, while 29% had bought soap.

Governing boards may want to consider the issue of hygiene poverty when discussing usages of pupil premium funds. The links of hygiene poverty to bullying also emphasise the importance of the governing board leading the way in establishing a whole school ethos of inclusiveness and kindness.


Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

NGA’s new Leading Governance programmes; Development for Chairs, Development for Clerks and Development for Boards are all now open for bookings.

DON’T MISS OUT! Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis.

New cohorts:

Development Programme
Area
Pre-work begins

Chairs

Bristol

16 July

Chairs

Oxfordshire

10 September


Upcoming cohorts:

Development Programme
Area
Pre-work begins

Clerks

Knowsley

2 July

Clerks

Oxfordshire

2 July

Clerks

Stoke

2 July

Chairs

Bolton

10 July


Development for Boards

Cost: Funding is available up to the value of £2,000 per board. Click here to secure your space.

This programme is designed for boards governing multi academy trusts or groups of schools, or boards of schools in opportunity areas where the school is judged to be requiring improvement.

This is a consultant-led bespoke programme that will be tailored to your board’s circumstances to improve practice and outcomes.

You can book your place on Development for Boards here.  

Development for Chairs

Cost: Funding is available up to the value of £500. Click here to secure your space.

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance.

You can check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

Development for Clerks

Cost: The course costs is £425. Funding is available up to the value of £350. Leaving only £75 to pay. Click here to secure your funding.

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking.

You can check the dates of available courses and book your place here.

DON’T MISS OUT!

Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis.

Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600


Last few places available for NGA’s SEND Conference!

The conference will be held on Saturday 7 July 2018 in central Birmingham.

The event will be of particular interest to those governing in special schools, SEND governors in mainstream schools and for any member who has an interest in the governance of SEND.

Key speakers include Philippa Stobbs from the Council for Disabled Children and Christopher Rossiter of the Driver Youth Trust.

The sessions will focus on SEND appropriate topics such as the importance of being inclusive, the SEND Governance Review Guide and funding.

This event will provide the unique opportunity to raise questions with the NGA and the guest speakers, as well as talk through the key issues involved in SEND governance.

More details on the venue and the programme are available upon registration through the website on the NGA Events Page.

There are only a few places left, so please secure your place now at this unique event.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 15/06/2018

NGA summer conference: report

With over 200 governors, trustees and clerks in attendance, our annual summer conference held on 9 June presented a valuable opportunity for governance development. We were pleased that both Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds and Shadow Secretary of State Angela Rayner were able to join us to engage with NGA members and to recognise the contribution made by governors and trustees.

In his keynote speech, the minister made a series of announcements:

  • Funding for governance training and support will be doubled to £6 million up to 2021 so that more of those governing can access popular courses that strengthen “the expertise within the systems that govern our schools”.
  • Academy trust accounts will be required to detail staff earning over £100,000 and the percentage of teaching time those individuals undertake.
  • A “more robust process” to manage related party transactions within which “from April 2019 trusts will have to seek approval from EFSA [Education and Skills Funding Agency] for related-party transaction payments of more than £20,000” whilst “transactions below £20,000 will need to be formally declared”.
  • Along with the Institute of Directors, the Secretary of State has called upon British businesses to “encourage their employees to lend their expertise and commitment in the running of schools”.

Read more about the announcements and our response to them here, and discover our choice of the speech highlights in this blog.

In her closing address, Angela Rayner set out her vision for education and called upon governors and trustees to respond to Labour’s consultation on the principles of the National Education Service. Delegates asked her questions on a range of topics, including Labour’s plans with regard to grammar schools, school funding, and the role of communities and parents in governance

A choice of ten workshops were on offer to members with topics ranging from vision, culture and strategy to engaging stakeholders, and safeguarding to staff workload. Feedback from the day was very positive with delegates particularly enjoying the opportunity to network and to discuss what they had learned around the table. Thank you to all who gave up their Saturday to come along to the conference to develop their governance knowledge in the interest of the children you support.

The presentations from the day are available here.


Campaign to increase number of ethnic minority and young people governing

Last year’s school governance survey told us that just 4% of school governors and trustees are from an ethnic minority and that 10% are aged under 40, with just 1% aged under 30 – though ethnic diversity does increase in younger age groups. This compares to around a third of pupils being from an ethnic minority, and 13.5% teachers being from an ethnic minority.

We pledged to take action on this and so, to increase the number of ethnic minority and young people on school governing boards, Inspiring Governance and NGA have launched a joint campaign, Everyone on Board. This features a film with six serving governors and trustees sharing their personal insight into why the volunteers governing schools need to be diverse in order to be successful for all pupils. This film will be used by Inspiring Governance to promote the opportunity to volunteer to people from ethnic minorities and young people.

In the film, the governors and trustees reflect that having volunteers that ‘come from different places and think different things’ can bring diverse perspectives and a balance of views to conversations. This will help to ensure that ‘barriers, biases and stereotypes do not go unchallenged’ and decisions will help children from all backgrounds to succeed and thrive. They also emphasise how having a diverse governing board will create ‘a culture of inclusion, starting at the top’ providing role models for pupils to ‘give them confidence in what they can achieve’ and demonstrate the school’s commitment to diversity at all levels.

NGA will support and encourage school governing boards to consider whether they reflect the community they serve and provide guidance and exemplars to help them address this. You can find information on this in the May/ June issue of Governing Matters [LINK] and will be able to find out more about the governors and trustees starring in the film in the July/August issue.

In his speech to NGA’s summer conference the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds MP welcomed the campaign saying: “Good governance needs a range of voices. And that was powerfully on display in the video we have just seen – and I champion the work NGA are doing, through your Everyone on Board campaign, to encourage more diversity ... Governing and trust boards should reflect the communities they serve”. The campaign has also received the support of the Association of School and College Leaders, National Association of Head Teachers and Academy Ambassadors.


New edition of the Academies Financial Handbook

The 2018 Academies Financial Handbook (AFH) has now been published and will come into effect from September 2018. The new edition carries an executive summary from Lord Agnew noting a “particular tribute to the chairs and non-executives of academy trusts who do this vital work unpaid”. Lord Agnew also specifies two areas strengthened in this edition: executive pay and related party transactions. This follows the Secretary of State for Education, Damien Hinds’ speech at the NGA conference last week emphasising plans to tackle “excessive” salaries and a “crack down” on academy trusts handling out contracts to family and friends.

Key updates include:

  • An overview of the Secretary of State’s role with regard to removing trustees and members – the Secretary of State may also prevent other individuals being involved in the management of academies on the basis of cautions, convictions and conduct.
  • The term “ex officio” is removed from the description of the senior executive leader, to show that he or she does not automatically become a trustee.
  • In 2.1.2, the AFH states the board must meet “regularly enough to discharge their responsibilities and ensure robust governance”. It specifically states that larger trusts should consider meeting more often than three times a year, and where a board meets less than six times a year, it must describe in its governance statement how effective oversight of funds is maintained.
  • In 2.3.3, the AFH now requires trusts to provide management accounts and share these with the chair of the trust board every month. The board then needs to consider these at each meeting. Trusts should already be producing these each month, but now, irrespective of the trusts size, there is a requirement to share these with the chair, with the board expected to use this reporting requirement to address concerns and variances between “budget and actual income and expenditure”.
  • The section on executive pay (2.4.3-2.4.5) receives significantly more emphasis following letters from both Lord Agnew and Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) CEO Eileen Miller which detailed new requirements for ensuring boards are rigorous in setting appropriate and justified pay levels. Specifically, the AFH now requires trust boards to ensure their approach is transparent, proportionate and justifiable, detailing the process used for setting pay, how this is scrutinised and decided, how defensible the pay level is, the need to record the documentation and evidence used, and making it clear the ESFA can challenge pay levels it deems inappropriate. This also includes the need to publish the gender pay gap.
  • Trusts must now report all Related Party Transactions to the ESFA ahead of the actual transaction taking place from April 2019, and must await the ESFA’s approval for transactions over £20k.


Children Commissioner’s report into public spending on children

A new report into public spending on children in England from 2000 to 2020, undertaken by the Institute for Fiscal Studies on behalf of the Children’s Commissioner, has measured total spending by the government on children in England. Public spending on children includes benefits for low-income families, education spending, services for vulnerable children and healthcare. The report highlights that in 2016–17 “around 30% of children in England were in poverty, compared with around 18% of working-age adults without children and about 16% of pensioners”.

The key trends identified in the report are:

  • Since 2010, real-terms cuts have reduced levels of benefit spending going to families with children and that when reforms made since 2015, such as the rollout of Universal Credit, will “further reduce the incomes of low-income families with children by between 10% and 15% relative to a situation where no reforms are made”.
  • In 2017-18, the total public spending on education for children under 18 in England “was around £54 billion, of which more than two-thirds represents expenditure on schooling”.
  • When compared to cuts in benefit spending for families with children, education spending has been “mostly protected from real-terms cuts since 2010” but the “important exception is further education and school sixth forms where spending per student is due to be about the same level in real terms in 2020 as it was in 1990”.
  • Pubic spending on children’s services “has been largely frozen in real terms since 2009–10” and there has been “a significant reorientation of spending” towards services that represent mostly statutory duties such as Safeguarding and Looked After Children.
  • In contrast, spending on preventative interventions, such as Sure Start and young people’s services “has been cut by around 60% in real terms between 2009–10 and 2016–17”.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield OBE said that “mainstream and acute services such as age 4-16 education and provision for children in care have been protected at the expense of targeted preventative services, removing vital safety nets for some very vulnerable children”.

NGA was encouraged by the remarks made by the Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds at the NGA Summer Conference last Saturday, on the need to persuade the Chancellor to fund schools adequately in the forthcoming comprehensive spending review. We are also aware that schools are affected by cute to other services which support vulnerable pupils. We will continue to make a strong case for the need to invest in children’s lives on behalf of our members. Visit the Funding the Future campaign page for more information on how you can get involved.


Exclusion rates of pupils with autism rise in England

Ambitious about Autism, a national charity for children and young people with autism, has obtained data that shows 4,485 pupils with autism were excluded in 2015/2016 compared to 2,831 in 2011/2012. 

The charity highlights that children with autism account for just over 1% of the school population but 2.5% of all exclusions. 

Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism, said: “The impact of these exclusions can’t be underestimated – not only do children fall behind academically, but the isolation from their peers creates deep unhappiness, social anxiety and mental health problems”. 

Governors and trustees are reminded that the statutory guidance on exclusions also places an emphasis on schools to engage proactively with parents in supporting the behaviour of pupils with additional needs. Governors and trustees should ensure that this approach is embedded in the culture of their school.

As well as our four stage guide to exclusions, NGA also offers a two hour training session on the principles of panel work and the practicalities of setting up a panel for reviewing exclusions.


Research on whole school approaches to tackling bullying

On Wednesday, the Department for Education published research into the practices used by schools to prevent and tackle bullying. The report contains seven thematic case studies, and a summary of common strategies and challenges. The schools providing the case studies were identified as displaying innovative and effective practice in tackling bullying. Shared themes in the strategies deployed by these schools included:

  • A whole school approach which involves both teaching and non-teaching members of staff, pupils, parents, carers and governors. This includes a highly visible, and inclusive, ethos which underpins everything that the school does; clear behaviour and anti-bullying policies which are regularly reviewed; and adequate training and support for staff.
  • A focus on preventative practice, e.g. tackling prejudice, increasing empathy and encouraging awareness.
  • An emphasis on keeping anti-bullying high profile throughout the year, rather than only during Anti-Bullying Week.
  • A strategy of engaging and empowering pupils, for example through buddy systems, delivering assemblies, and anti-bullying ambassadors.
  • Rapid responses to incidents to prevent escalation and build confidence that future concerns would be taken seriously.
  • An awareness of the impact of technology on bullying through a concerted effort to keep up to date with online trends, and updating cyberbullying policies accordingly.
  • Innovative methods of engaging with parents, such as termly parent forums and face-to-face meetings.

Governing boards play an important role in scrutinising and challenging senior leaders about the strategies they are employing and the board’s strategic role means that their contribution will be crucial in developing an effective whole school ethos.


Dominic Herrington confirmed as interim National Schools Commissioner

This week, Dominic Herrington has been confirmed as the interim National Schools Commissioner (NSC) following the retirement of Sir David Carter announced in April. Since 2014, Mr Herrington has been the regional schools commissioner for the East of England and South London and will continue overseeing this area of work. Discussing his appointment, Mr Herrington said that he was “looking forward to working with the regional schools commissioners in seven other areas of England to build on Sir David Carter’s achievements by continuing to challenge and support school leaders”.

The NSC leads the team of regional schools commissioners (RSCs) to:

  • support the creation of new academies and free schools and recruiting high quality academy sponsors
  • improve the performance of underperforming academies and free schools

NGA would like to congratulate Mr Herrington on his new role and we look forward to working with him in the future as the interim NSC. For more information on the role of the RSCs, and how they fit within the academies system, please visit the NGA guidance centre.


Opportunity to have your say about the Teacher Pay Framework

The Department for Education (DfE) has commissioned the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), an independent research charity, to collate and assess the views of teachers, leaders and those governing on the teacher pay framework. IES is currently looking for 16 governors and trustees to participate in this important research via two online focus group sessions at a time convenient to you. Your responses will be treated confidentially and anonymised at all times. The findings of the project, to be delivered to the DfE in September 2018, will help to inform any future proposed changes to optimise the existing teachers’ pay framework.

IES will be exploring views on how the pay framework, including features such as Teaching and Learning Responsibility allowances, currently operates in your school over the course of an hour long session. Descriptions on the various structures will be covered in the session. IES would like to offer you £25, to thank you for your time in taking part in the research.

Please contact Joanne.Doherty@employment-studies.co.uk or telephone 01273 763419 to speak to a researcher with any questions you may have and to arrange a convenient time for the online focus group.

If you would like to contact DfE about this research please email Nicola Mackenzie at jobshare.MACKENZIE-PEACHEY@education.gov.uk


Early years education debated

On Tuesday 12 June, the House of Commons Education Select Committee held an evidence session on the impact that early years education and social policy have on determining children’s life chances.

Among the topics discussed was the importance of having graduates with specialist early years qualifications in settings and providing meaningful career pathways for the early years workforce, as well as the related issue of sufficiency of funding.

Parental engagement was another prominent topic, with experts telling MPs that bringing parents in to the setting for ‘stay and play’ sessions could be a good way to help parents support their child’s development. Ensuring some continuity of approach between early years and the start of formal schooling was also discussed.

Governing boards of maintained nursery schools and primary schools with nursery provision will be familiar with many of these issues but those governing primary or infant schools will also need to consider their pupils’ starting points and how they are supported in the transition to key stage one.


Condition Data Collection programme

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is conducting a high-level assessment of condition for all government-funded schools in England to help target capital allocation, understand how the condition of the school estate is changing over time and to help evaluate the impact of policy interventions. The data collected will provide information on areas of condition need and drive the ESFA’s approach to targeting investment.

The ESFA is now over a year into the Condition Data Collection (CDC) programme. With the support of schools and responsible bodies, surveying organisations have, so far, visited over 9,000 schools across the country to collect the required data. The ESFA have been working with surveying organisations to ensure the data captured meets robust quality standards and have now released over 1,000 school condition reports to schools and responsible bodies on the CDC portal. The ESFA will be releasing more condition reports for those schools that have had a CDC visit over the coming months, and will be emailing schools and responsible bodies when their report is available.

Further information is available on the Condition Data Collection page of the ESFA website.



From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 08/06/2018

Last chance to take part in the biggest school governance survey of the year!

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Don’t miss out on the chance to make your voice heard: the NGA and Tes School Governance Survey closes on Monday 11 June.

Click here to take the survey

Add your voice to thousands of others on crucial issues such as school funding, teacher recruitment and assessment. The survey also provides the most comprehensive source of information about who is governing our schools and governance practice.

The survey is open to all governors, trustees and academy committee members in England and you do not have to be an NGA member to take part – please share the survey with others on your governing board and wider networks!

NGA chief executive Emma Knights recently wrote in Tes about the importance of valuing and listening to the views of those governing: “please don’t hide your light under a bushel. Our survey proves that your voice can be heard”.


Joint letter to school governors and trustees

In celebration of Volunteers' Week the NGA, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) have published a joint letter to thank school governors and trustees for their wonderful contribution to education.  

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DfE announces funding to improve facilities and create more good school places for children with SEND 

It has been announced that councils are set to receive an additional £50million funding to create additional school places and state-of-the-art facilities for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

This follows the £215million fund announced in March 2017 to ensure children with SEND had access to a good school place. It is anticipated that the funding could go on to help create “around 740 more special school places” and provide new equipment including playgrounds and sensory rooms.

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “This funding will help to create thousands more school places across the country, with a clear focus on transforming the experience of education for children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND)”.


DfE launches free teacher recruitment website

This week, the Department for Education (DfE) announced the launch of a teacher recruitment website allowing schools to advertise vacancies and recruit staff for free.  The website will include part-time and job share roles and it is intended that the new service will help schools save money by avoiding excessive advertising fees, which have cost schools up to £75 million a year. In addition, a nationwide deal for headteachers will commence in September 2018, which will give schools a list of supply agencies that do not charge fees when schools make supply staff permanent after 12 weeks.

Commenting on the new service, secretary of state Damian Hinds said: “Every pound that’s spent on excessive agency fees, or on advertising jobs, is a pound that I want to help schools spend on what really matters: making sure every child, whatever their background, is inspired to learn and to reach their potential.”

The DfE confirmed that the website will be piloted in Cambridgeshire and the North East and shall be rolled out nationally by the end of the year. 

For more details on the announcement, click here.


Report shows overwhelming support for compulsory PSHE

A new report from a coalition of organisations including the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), the National Education Union (NEU), NSPCC, Sex Education Forum, and PSHE Association, shows overwhelming support for making personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education a compulsory subject for all pupils in all schools.

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 put Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) on a statutory footing and created a power to make PSHE statutory in future following consultation which is yet to be opened.

Compulsory PSHE is also backed by strong public support; over 120 organisations, including NGA, have also called for changes and the PSHE Association has found statutory PSHE is supported by “85% of business leaders, 88% of teachers, 92% of parents and 92% of pupils”.

The new report outlines how making PSHE statutory would have a meaningful impact on children and young people’s lives, in return for only a modest impact on workload and timetabling. The report provides a case study of the steps undertaken by a successful school to develop a whole school approach with PSHE topics embedded across the curriculum.

It has long been NGA’s view that personal, social and health education (PSHE) should be made statutory in all schools to ensure it is priority subject and allocated the appropriate time and resources in the curriculum.


Free schools in the spotlight

New research from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and the Sutton Trust provides an overview of how the government’s free schools policy has played out since its introduction in 2010. Free schools are academies which are entirely new provision (as distinct from those that were previously maintained schools). Key findings include:

  • just one fifth of free schools have had parents involved in their inception but they are not any less popular with parents than other types of schools;
  • only one third of free schools have demonstrated an innovative approach to their curriculum or ethos;
  • there has been a substantial increase in schools with a religious character other than Christian as a result of the free school programme;
  • 59% of all free schools have been set up by multi-academy trusts;
  • while free schools have largely been set up in areas with a need for more places, some areas have ended up with a surplus while others have too few places;
  • ethnic minority pupils are over-represented in free schools, though for secondary schools this is only true in those with a religious character;
  • while it is too early to judge the academic performance of free schools at key stage 2, there is some suggestion that free schools achieve slightly better results at key stage 4 (though this is currently based on outcomes for a relatively small number of pupils).

Another finding was that, although they are often located in areas of disadvantage, free schools tend to have lower proportions of pupils eligible of free school meals than their catchment areas. Governing boards, especially those that are the admissions authority, should consider how representative their pupil intake is of the local community and potential underlying reasons for this.

Read the report in full: Free For All? Analysing free schools in England, 2018


Post-16 colleges across England named as T-level providers

This week, the secretary of state for education, Damian Hinds, has named 52 post-16 providers across England as the first institutions to teach the new T-level qualifications. A list of the institutions selected can be found here.

The T-levels are designed to offer ‘a choice between technical and academic education post 16’ and are designed by leading employers to offer young people the necessary skills to match the needs of the workforce. Each T-level includes a 3 month placement and is regulated by Ofqual and the Institute for Apprenticeships. More about T-levels can be found here.

Commenting on the announcement, Hinds outlined that: “For too long young people have not had a genuine choice about their future aged 16. Whilst A levels provide a world class academic qualification, many technical education courses are undervalued by employers and don’t always provide students with the skills they need to secure a good job - that has to change … naming the first 52 colleges and providers where young people will be able to study the first T Levels is an important step forward”.

Governors and trustees, particularly in secondary schools, may be interested in finding out more about the T-level providers in their area. They can use this information to question senior leaders as to whether T-levels are covered as part of impartial careers guidance and advice for students.


Ofsted chief indicates future direction

In a speech to the Bryanston Education Summit, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman set out three principles informing the development of the 2019 Ofsted framework:

  1. Giving schools more than a grade: inspection reports should give a clear assessment of strengths and weaknesses, with a focus on capacity, and insight into what is distinctive about a school;
  2. Using data appropriately: ensuring that there is “no reward for gaming” and “focusing on the key data that really matters” rather than scrutinising every sub-group of pupils at school level;
  3. Wider societal issues: avoiding a situation “where schools are expected to address every one of society’s ills and inspection is supposed to be the tool to ensure they do it”.

On improving the process of inspection for school leaders and staff, she said: “I want to make sure as much inspection resource as possible is on site engaging with leaders and teachers, having those professional conversations, not just polishing written reports.”

Spielman also emphasised the importance of ensuring inspection reports provide parents with useful information about schools, including information that is up to date. She related that Ofsted are currently in discussions with the Department for Education on reviewing ‘outstanding’ schools’ exemption from inspection. NGA welcomes this as we believe all schools should be subject to regular, proportionate inspection.

Spielman spoke about the role of Ofsted in providing information about school performance for those responsible for intervening in schools, such as regional schools commissioners and local authorities.

NGA will continue to engage with Ofsted to improve the level of knowledge about school governance among inspectors. We will also shortly be providing written evidence to the Public Accounts Committee in response to the National Audit Office’s recent report on Ofsted: if you would like to share your views with us, please email fay.holland@nga.org.uk.


Research on factors affecting school performance

This week, researchers at Lancaster University published findings which suggest that social class had a bigger impact on school performance than any government policy. This was based on an analysis of PISA data on mathematics attainment for fifteen year-olds across nine countries. In five of the nine countries, including the UK, the social class of students had the most bearing on performance. The next most important factors in student performance were anxiety towards tests and students’ own motivation.

The authors of the research argued that their findings showed that the UK’s most effective schools are defined by their “size and social class of their students”, rather than issues like teaching resources or management which often attract government attention. This led co-author and professor of economics Geraint Johnes to conclude “if any difference is to be made to school performance, it is clear that social policy rather than educational policy needs the most attention.”

Key findings in the research included that having students considered to be ‘disadvantaged’ (according to the PISA definition) in a school’s population led to a deterioration in performance across the entire school. In the UK, schools where over 20% of their pupils were from disadvantaged backgrounds saw lower attainment across the entire school. This was a stronger effect than in the US where the proportion of disadvantaged children needed to be 70%-80% be

Cohorts beginning soon: Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

NGA’s new Leading Governance programmes; Development for Chairs, Development for Clerks and Development for Boards are all now taking bookings.

Last chance to book:

  • Development for Chairs – Oxfordshire Cohort 1 (starts 11 June)
  • Development for Chairs – Solihull Cohort 1 (starts 11 June)
  • Development for Chairs – Suffolk Cohort 1 (starts 15 June)
  • Development for Clerks – Suffolk Cohort 1 (starts 18 June)
  • Development for Clerks – Knowsley Cohort 1 (starts 2 July)
  • Development for Clerks – Oxfordshire Cohort 1 (starts 2 July)
  • Development for Clerks – Stoke Cohort 1 (starts 2 July)

 

New cohorts available:

  • Development for Chairs – Kent Cohort 2 (starts February 2019)
  • Development for Chairs – Kent Cohort 3 (starts August 2019)

Please see below for more information about the programmes:

Development for Boards

This programme is designed for boards governing multi academy trusts or groups of schools, or boards of schools in opportunity areas where the school is judged to be requiring improvement. This is a consultant-led bespoke programme that will be tailored to your board’s circumstances to improve practice and outcomes. Funding is available up to the value of £2,000 per board.

You can book your place on Development for Boards here.  

Development for Chairs

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance. Funding for £500 is available.

You can check the dates of available cohorts and book your place here.

Development for Clerks

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking. Only £75 if you take up funding worth £350.

You can check the dates of available cohorts and book your place here.

DON’T MISS OUT!  
*Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600



From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 25/05/2018

Are you GDPR ready? New NGA guidance for clerks and questions for governing boards to be asking 

The governing board has overall responsibility for matters relating to data protection. From today, schools must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) when handling “any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person”; this includes personal information belonging to pupils, staff and parents.

The GDPR replaces the previous Data Protection Act, increasing possible sanctions for non-compliance while strengthening existing rights for individuals. Governing boards will need to ensure that suitable data protection policies and procedures are in place that have regard to obligations under the GDPR. Governing boards should already have sought assurances that relevant staff have received GDPR training and that the school policies and procedures which relate to the processing and record management of data have been reviewed and updated accordingly. NGA has produced a set of questions for governing boards to ask in relation to GDPR. This sits alongside the other guidance available on the NGA guidance centre including an overview of what GDPR is and how it impacts governing boards and guidance on the role of the Data Protection Officer. NGA Learning Link will be launching a new e-learning module, ‘An Introduction to GDPR’, in June.

Clerks will also need to have a good understanding of GDPR for two main reasons: firstly, they will need to advise governing boards on their responsibilities in relation to GDPR and secondly, as they will themselves be handling data, they will need to understand how they can comply with GDPR. The NGA Clerks and GDPR factsheet is designed to inform clerks about how GDPR affects their day to day role: access it here.


School governance survey: don’t miss the chance to have your say!

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NGA has once again joined forces with Tes magazine to survey the volunteers governing England’s state-funded schools.

Click here to have your say!

Closing date: Monday 11 June

The survey is open to all governors, trustees, and academy committee members in England and you do not have to be an NGA member to take part – please share the survey with others on your governing board and your wider networks!

Through taking part you will help to build a picture of who is governing our schools and of governance practice, and to shed light on the impact of government policies on schools.

A full report of the findings from last year’s survey is available here: School governance in 2017: an annual survey by NGA and Tes.

The more responses, the stronger the voice of governing boards in national education policy – don’t miss the chance to have your say!


How effective is Ofsted inspection?

The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a report on the value for money of Ofsted inspection of schools.

The NAO found that “as a result of decisions by the Department and Ofsted, the level of independent assurance about schools’ effectiveness has reduced”, pointing to ‘outstanding’ schools being exempt from inspection and the move to short inspections for ‘good’ schools.

84% of headteachers surveyed by the NAO said that the outcome of their school’s most recent inspection was fair. This finding is similar to that of NGA and Tes’ annual survey, which in 2017 found that 81% of responding governors and trustees thought their school’s most recent report gave a fair assessment.

The NAO found that assessing the impact of Ofsted inspection on standards of education is not straightforward. 44% of headteachers said that inspection had led to improvements in their school while 71% agreed that inspectors provided useful feedback. 99% of Ofsted inspectors who are also serving practitioners said that the knowledge and experience gained was valuable to their own school(s).

The report acknowledges the action that Ofsted has taken to prevent inspection creating unnecessary workload, for example its myth-busting campaign, but found that these messages have not reached all teachers.

The NAO concludes that “Ofsted provides valuable independent assurance about schools’ effectiveness and as such is a vital part of the school system” but makes a number of recommendations for improvement:

  • the DfE should work with Ofsted to review whether the inspection framework and resourcing provide enough independent assurance about the quality of schools;
  • the DfE should work with Ofsted to set out and communicate the different roles of those involved in school accountability;
  • Ofsted should set out a plan for recruiting and retaining inspectors;
  • Ofsted should review the effectiveness of its complaints process;
  • Ofsted should be transparent about how it is performing against its strategy;
  • Ofsted should take action to make reports more useful for parents.

NGA supports an independent inspection regime but has concerns about the variability of inspection outcomes, which can undermine the credibility of the system, and about the level of knowledge about school governance among inspectors. You can read the evidence NGA submitted to inform the NAO study here. Further information on Ofsted is available in the Guidance Centre.


Changes for assessment of pupils working below standard of national curriculum

The Department for Education (DfE) has published pre-key stage standards for pupils who are working below the overall standard of national curriculum assessments but are engaged in subject-specific study. The new standards have been published for key stage 1 and key stage 2.

These will be used for the small proportion of pupils who are unable to work to the standard of the national curriculum, many of whom have special educational needs. The DfE say that the change “will help ensure these pupils are better supported to transition onto the national curriculum, when and if they are ready to do so… [and] give schools the information they need to make sure these children are realising their full potential”.

The publication of the new standards follows a consultation on the recommendations of the Rochford Review, which recommended that the ‘P scales’ used to assess the attainment of pupils with special educational needs be replaced. Under the new system, schools will have more freedom to develop a curriculum and assessments tailored to the needs of their pupils. NGA’s response to the DfE consultation is available here.

Governing boards need to be confident in the information provided to them by executive leaders in order to effectively hold them to account for the progress and attainment of all pupils, including those with special educational needs. Those governing should ensure that they understand how the new standards will be used in their school and should work with school leaders to ensure that the appropriate level of information is provided to them.

NGA Guidance Centre: Monitoring Performance; Special Educational Needs and Disabilities


Minister for School Standards quizzed by MPs

On Tuesday 22 May, the House of Commons Education Select Committee held an accountability session with the minister for school standards, Nick Gibb.

Gibb was asked about the Department for Education (DfE)’s recent announcement on grammar and faith schools. He justified the decision to set up the Selective Schools Expansion Fund on the basis that it allows the DfE to make grammar schools’ access to capital funding for expansion dependent on them taking action to increase the proportion of disadvantaged pupils in their intake. Separately, research published this week has suggested that “attending a grammar school had no positive impact upon teenagers’ attitudes towards schools, self-esteem, future aspirations or their English vocabulary”.

Some Conservative MPs challenged Gibb on the decision not to remove the cap of faith based admissions in free schools’ oversubscription criteria, which has been a manifesto pledge. He said that the decision had been influenced by the Integrated Communities Strategy.

MPs were keen to hear about the DfE’s work on closing the attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils, particularly in the north of England. Gibb was keen to emphasise the progress that had been made since 2010 and that it takes time to see the effects of reforms.

Other issues raised included executive pay in academy trusts and teacher recruitment and retention, both of which Gibb said the DfE was taking seriously. He highlighted its commitment to tackle unnecessary teacher workload and said that the changes to school accountability had been prompted by school leaders’ concerns.

There was discussion about the English Baccalaureate, which Gibb argued provides a rounded core of subjects and has not affected entry rates for music and art GCSEs. The committee were particularly interested in the possibility of including design and technology in the science option, though Gibb said that he is resistant to changes in the composition.

The DfE have also published an updated version of their single departmental plan this week, which sets out their top level objectives.


Deadline for academy trusts to submit their budget forecast return

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has updated information to help academy trusts submit their budget forecast returns.

The deadline for academy trusts to submit their budget forecast return is Monday 30 July 2018. The online form will go live for users to complete on 21 June 2018. This year, trusts are required to provide three-year forecast data. Advice on compiling the data can be found here.

ESFA will also be publishing the budget forecast return Excel workbook by 1 June, which will outline what information is required.

Trustees should ensure that the budget forecast returns are prepared and submitted in time.


Entry rates for GCSES and AS/A levels released and letter from Ofqual’s chief executive

This week, Ofqual has released provisional figures outlining the entry rates for the Summer 2018 exam series. This release includes information on GCSE, AS and A level subjects. The number of students being entered for Ebacc subjects rose by 5%, whereas entry for non-Ebacc subjects decreased by 13%.  The number of students being entered for AS exams continues to decrease, falling by nearly 60% this year.

These trends reflect changes in the school accountability system at secondary level, which encourage schools to enter more pupils for Ebacc subjects, and the “decoupling” of A-levels from AS-levels. The NGA Guidance Centre provides more information about qualification reform and the EBacc. NGA has previously spoken out about these policy initiatives leading to pupils experiencing a narrower curriculum. Governors and trustees should continue to ensure that a broad and balanced range of subjects is available to all pupils in their school. 

Accompanying this data, the chief executive of Ofqual, Sally Collier, has also written to headteachers this week reminding them about key changes to qualifications. The letter, which is also of interest to governors and trustees, covers: reforms to GCSEs, AS and A levels; new technical qualifications; the “variability in results at school/college level”; and grade boundaries. 


Research finds ethnically mixed schools better for social cohesion

A new study has found that pupils who attend schools with greater ethnic diversity have warmer feelings towards other ethnicities, suggesting that ethnically mixed schools promote social cohesion. Nearly 4,000 year 10 pupils, across 96 English state schools, took part in the survey, which focused on three groups: White British, Asian British and Black British individuals.

The effect is so significant that, according to the researchers, “a hypothetical city with 20% Asian pupils and 80% White” pupils would see “44% of pupils being ill-disposed to the other group” in a segregated school system, compared to just 20% in a “fully integrated system”. This highlights the study’s other important finding, that school composition was more important than local area composition in promoting warmer attitudes.

The findings have appeared at an interesting moment, as the government are currently running a consultation on their Integrated Communities Strategy green paper. The green paper stated that “segregated schools reduce opportunities for children and young people to mix with others from different backgrounds in their formative years and it can restrict pupils’ outlook and education”, and acknowledged that there was a “relative high degree of separation” in many areas. However, the paper does not propose radical changes to the status quo, with only a commitment to “support” schools in increasing diversity in admissions. Individuals, communities and organisations can respond to the consultation here, the deadline for submissions is 5 June. NGA will be submitting a response and anyone who wishes to input to this should contact Gillian Allcroft: gillian.allcroft@nga.org.uk.


Getting more children walking to school

To mark national walk to school week the charity Living Streets, which supports and promotes all forms of walking in the UK, has produced a report outlining the barriers which commonly stop children and parents from walking to school. With only 53% of children currently walking to school, the report provides practical ways in which schools can encourage more children and parents to stop using the car for short journeys. The reports outlines that parents and children often avoid walking to school because of the time it takes, safety concerns and the distance from school to home.

To encourage more children to walk to school, the report outlines that schools should:

  • have a travel plan in place “which includes an assessment of the surrounding area, community consultation and promotes behaviour change through active travel initiatives”;
  • in primary schools, consider using the PE and Sports premium to encourage children to walk to school;
  • consider a range of initiatives, including taking “advantage of available accreditation and behaviour change schemes to support more children to walk and recognise and share”, encouraging staff to walk, and organising regular “walking into the school days”;
  • engage with other stakeholders in the area, including the local authority and parents.

Many of these initiatives come under the strategic remit of the governing board, particularly in terms of spending the primary PE and sports premium and putting in place a travel plan. Visit the NGA Guidance Centre for more information on promoting pupil wellbeing and spending the PE and sports premium.


Getting Ahead London scheme reopens

In March 2018, delegates at the London Spring Regional Conference heard about the programme Getting Ahead London from Dame Sue John, executive leader at Challenge Partners and a Director of the London Leadership Strategy.

Getting Ahead aims to improve the recruitment and development of heads in London. Further information about the impact of the scheme can be found in the presentation from Dame Sue which can be downloaded here. The scheme has now re-opened and NGA encourages governors and trustees serving in the London area to pass on the guide to the programme to any senior leaders who may be interested in progressing to headship.


Community MATs network for trustees and clerks

Following a successful event in London last week, the next Community MATs network meeting will be in Manchester on Friday 8 June. These events provide an invaluable opportunity for MAT trustees and clerks to share experiences and discuss the challenges and opportunities they have encountered.

Manchester, Friday 8 June, 12.00-16.00 - click here to book. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Topics of discussion will include findings from NGA’s MAT case studies, external reviews of MAT governance, the role of members and trustee recruitment.

As well as learning from peers in other MATs, attendees will have the chance to feed into NGA’s policy and representation work.

If you have any questions about arrangements for the event, please contact events@nga.org.uk. If you have questions about the Community MATs network in general, please contact fay.holland@nga.org.uk.


Join Inspiring Governance’s first workshop to boost your recruitment potential

Discover how to connect with volunteers who want to become governors/ trustees and begin your recruitment journey by joining our inaugural ‘Inspiring Governance recruiters’ workshop. Whether you are new to the service or an existing user that wants to maximise your recruitment potential, this event is for you. Attendees will have the opportunity to experience all the features of the recently upgraded platform, see live profiles of volunteers near them and receive advice on how best to secure the volunteers you want. 

 There will also be the opportunity to:

  • register on Inspiring Governance, create vacancies and begin your search for governors/ trustees immediately
  • discover all the benefits of the free training and support provided to new recruits by the NGA, designed to complement your local training offer
  • meet the Inspiring Governance team and discuss any queries that you may have

The event is being held on 8 June 2018 between 10.30am and 12pm (followed by lunch and networking), in Manchester city centre (location details available upon booking). The workshop takes place immediately prior to the Community MATs network, and is open to all recruiters including non-members (schools, MATs, governor services) so please do share this with any chairs, governors, trustees, clerks or governance managers that may be interested. Email judith.hicks@nga.org.uk to book your free place.


New Training and Consultancy enquiry form

As part of our aim to promote effective governance, NGA offers a range of training programmes and a comprehensive consultancy service. Whether you have new trustees, governors or clerks seeking induction training, need a full external review of governance of your MAT, academy trust or school governing board, or are interested in bespoke training for your school or trust – we can offer you support.

It is now easier than ever to enquire about the NGA training and consultancy offer with the NGA online enquiry form. You can find out more information of the sessions and services available and express your interest here.


Cohorts beginning soon: Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

NGA’s new Leading Governance programmes, Development for Chairs, Development for Clerks and Development for Boards are all now taking bookings.

Last chance to book:

  • Development for Chairs – Blackpool Cohort 1 (starts 4 June)
  • Development for Clerks – Cambridgeshire Cohort 1 (starts 5 June)
  • Development for Chairs – Stoke Cohort 1 (starts 5 June)
  • Development for Chairs – Oxfordshire Cohort 1 (starts 11 June)
  • Development for Chairs – Solihull Cohort 1 (starts 11 June)
  • Development for Chairs – Suffolk Cohort 1 (starts 15 June)
  • Development for Clerks – Suffolk Cohort 1 (starts 18 June)

New cohorts available:

  • Development for Chairs – Wigan Cohort 1 (starts 22 October)
  • Development for Clerks – Wigan Cohort 1 (starts 3 September)

Please see below for more information about the programmes:

Development for Boards

This programme is designed for boards governing multi academy trusts or groups of schools, or boards of schools in opportunity areas where the school is judged to be requiring improvement. This is a consultant-led bespoke programme that will be tailored to your board’s circumstances to improve practice and outcomes. Funding is available up to the value of £2,000 per board.

You can book your place on Development for Boards here.  

Development for Chairs

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance. Funding for £500 is available.

You can check the dates of available cohorts and book your place here.

Development for Clerks

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking. Only £75 if you take up funding worth £350.

You can check the dates of available cohorts and book your place here.

DON’T MISS OUT!  
*Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600


NGA Summer Conference: last chance to book

NGA’s Summer Conference will take place on Saturday 9 June in Manchester. We are pleased to announce that the Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education will deliver the keynote speech. Delegates will also hear from Angela Rayner MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education.

View the full programme here.

Please note that workshop places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Due to the popularity of this conference, only the following workshops are still available to book:

Morning Workshop:

Core function 2: Holding the lead executive to account – the latest on performance management

Afternoon Workshop:

Board dynamics: Relationships & behaviours

Places at the annual conference are limited and members are advised to book now to avoid disappointment.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 18/05/2018

Do you have a question for the Secretary of State for Education?

For the first time in three years, the Secretary of State for Education will address governors, trustees and clerks at NGA’s Summer Conference. This is an important opportunity for those governing schools to share their views and experiences directly to the government.

If you are unable to attend on the 9 June, there’s still an opportunity to have your say. If you have a question for Damian Hinds MP, get in touch with emma.knights@nga.org.uk with the subject line: Questions for the SOS

Due to popular demand, we have extended the number of places available at the Summer Conference but workshop choice is limited. Don’t miss out on your free place – book now through the NGA Events Page.


How has the government performed on education? Have your say!

NGA has once again joined forces with Tes Magazine to survey the volunteers governing England’s state-funded schools on key issues such as school funding, recruitment and retention, and priorities for improving the school system.

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Click here to have your say!

Closing date: Monday 11 June

The survey is open to all governors, trustees, and academy committee members in England and you do not have to be an NGA member to take part – please share the survey with others on your governing board and your wider networks!

Through taking part you will help to build a picture of who is governing our schools and of governance practice, and to shed light on the impact of government policies on schools.

A full report of the findings from last year’s survey is available here: School governance in 2017: an annual survey by NGA and Tes.

The more responses, the stronger the voice of governing boards in national education policy – don’t miss the chance to have your say!


NGA MAT case studies: third case published alongside blog

Last month, NGA launched a new set of case studies designed to showcase the lessons learned by multi-academy trusts (MATs) in their journey since creation. NGA is pleased to announce the third case in the series has now been published featuring the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust. 

All three case studies conducted so far explore the journey of an individual MAT and explain what this journey has involved. This includes what trustees and executive leaders have learned from any obstacles faced, the mistakes made along the way and how they have adapted over time in response to changing circumstances.

Accompanying the release of these case studies, Sam Henson, NGA’s Head of Information, has written a blog looking at the importance of the project, as well as the latest from our Community MAT network. This includes some key reoccurring lessons including the time it takes to govern in in a MAT, obstacles around MAT communication channels, school accountability and growth. You can read the blog here.

NGA will be planning a new set of case studies in the near future and welcome any feedback concerning the series so far: email tom.fellows@nga.org.uk


NGA gives evidence to Public Accounts Committee on converting schools to academies

This week, the Public Accounts Committee took evidence as part of their inquiry into the value for money delivered on converting schools to academies following a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) which found that by January 2018 “the Department had converted nearly 7,000 maintained schools to academies, at an estimated cost of £745 million since 2010-11”.

Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governance Association, gave evidence alongside Les Walton, chair of the Northern Education Trust and Paul Walker, chair of Devon Association of Primary Heads. You can read a full report of the session at the NGA News Page.


MPs debate key issues including grammar and faith schools

On Monday 14 May, ministers faced questions from MPs on education issues in the House of Commons.

MPs raised concerns about the adequacy of funding for sixth form colleges, outcomes for children in need, the inclusion of problem gambling in the PSHE curriculum, the role of early years in boosting social mobility, and mental health support for looked-after children.

Asked about whether Progress 8 provides a fair measure of progress pupils make in secondary school, Minister for School Standards Nick Gibb said: “We think it is a good measure. We are looking at some of the details of the outliers when we calculate Progress 8, and we will have more to say on that in due course.”

The minister also said that the government has “adopted a more flexible approach to public sector pay” and has asked the School Teachers’ Review Body to target the next pay award in order to promote teacher recruitment and retention.

Later that afternoon, MPs also debated the recently announced plans for grammar school expansion and new maintained faith schools following an Urgent Question from the Labour Party. The Secretary of State for Education acknowledged that “not enough children who are eligible for free school meals are able to attend” grammar schools at present and emphasised that in order to access the £50 million Selective Schools Expansion Fund “schools need to come forward with a proposal for how they are going to make their admissions broader and more accessible”.

On the topic of faith schools, some Conservative backbenchers were critical of the decision to drop the manifesto commitment to remove the 50% cap on faith based admissions from free schools’ oversubscription criteria.

To read the debate in full, click here.


Careers and Enterprise Company faces MPs questions

This week, the leaders of the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) faced questions from the Education Select Committee on the organisation’s role in coordinating careers and enterprise support and the delivery of the Government’s careers strategy. In 2015, the CEC was established as a social enterprise with the purpose of supporting schools and colleges in improving their careers guidance and receives an annual budget of £19 million from the Department of Education.

MPs questioned the organisation’s £2 million research budget, of which £900,000 has been spent, arguing that this is more than expected from an organisation set up to connect clusters of schools and colleges with employers and careers programmes. CEC chief executive Claudia Harris replied that research was essential in understanding need, identifying ‘cold spots’ and sharing effective practise.

MPs raised concerns over about the evidence the CEC had to prove its effectiveness and called for more hard data, while Lucy Powell MP criticised the “enormous” salaries on offer at CEC and highlighted an advertised salary of chief marketing officer for £100,000. MPs also questioned the transparency of decision making in the organisation as minutes of the board are not published and the annual report does not included a breakdown of spend. Harris said that they will “take this away and look at it”.


Exam season commences for thousands of pupils, including Muslim pupils observing Ramadan

Exam season began this week, with thousands of primary school pupils completing their SATs, and secondary school pupils beginning their GCSEs. This year, many GCSE subjects will be graded in the new 1 to 9 system, following the staged introduction of the system in English literature, English language and maths in 2017. Our guidance on understanding the new GCSE grading system can be found here.

Between 2016 and 2020, many exams have or will coincide with Ramadan – a 29-30 day period of prayer, fasting, self-control, charitable giving and goodwill to others observed by Muslims across the world. ASCL have produced this guidance for schools during fasting, highlighting that the way in which Ramadan is observed is a personal choice for pupils and their families, how to positively engage with pupils during Ramadan and how to consider and meet pupils’ needs.

Mahroof Mohammed, governor at High Storrs Schools in Sheffield, has written to pupils at the school in a letter posted on their website to share his own experiences of taking exams during Ramadan, emphasising the individual choice for pupils about fasting and the importance of pursuit of education in Islam.


Mounting concerns about insufficiency of high needs funding

The County Councils Network (CCN), a representative organisation for county councils in England, has written to the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, to express “growing concern” about the insufficiency of high needs funding for supporting children with special educational needs.

CCN report that 21 county councils have overspent on their high needs block over the last two years and 22 project a further overspend of 5.1% in 2018/19. Many counties have therefore made requests to move funds from the main schools block to the high needs block, a situation described as neither sustainable nor desirable.

CNN are calling on the government to “urgently inject resource into the high needs block this year” and work with them to “come up with a sustainable long-term solution to meeting the increasing demand in special educational needs services”.

The National Deaf Children’s Society has also expressed concern about the adequacy of high needs funding this week. 45 of 122 local authorities that responded to freedom of information requests were planning to cut spending on deaf children this year, representing a total loss of funding of £4 million. The charity are concerned that the loss of specialist teachers and support staff is already damaging pupils’ education.

NGA shares both organisations’ concerns about the adequacy of high needs funding. Increasingly, governors and trustees are raising concerns about the level of the high needs budget that funds support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities, who are among the most vulnerable children in our schools. Alongside partners across the education sector, NGA has long campaigned for an increase in both the overall amount of funding for schools and an increase in the high needs budget.

Your views and experiences are vital to making the case for increased funding: the joint NGA and Tes survey includes questions on funding and if you would like to feed into NGA’s response to the Education Select Committee’s inquiry on school and college funding please contact fay.holland@nga.org.uk.


Research into delayed admission for summer born pupils

The Department for Education has published new research on delayed school admissions for summer-born pupils. While pupils ordinarily start reception in the September following their fourth birthday, parents of children born between 1 April and 31 August can ask to delay entry into the reception year.

The report found that:

  • local authorities saw increases in the number of requests between 2015 and 2017;
  • there was a significant variation in the number of requests between local authority areas;
  • 75% of the 1,750 requests to delay admission from September 2016 to September 2017 were agreed;
  • parents with higher incomes may be more likely to make a request;
  • the majority of children whose admission were delayed were born in July (22%) or August (53%);
  • in some local authorities, white British pupils were more likely to have delayed admission than black pupils;
  • there was no statistically significant impact of delaying admission to reception on the performance of pupils in the phonics screening check.

The local authority is the admission authority for community and voluntary controlled schools. NGA encourages governing boards who are the admissions authority for their school to allow summer-born children to defer and begin reception a year later should parents wish for this to happen. More information on admissions is available in the NGA Guidance Centre.


Updated safeguarding guidance from September

The Department for Education (DfE) has published an updated versions of the statutory guidance, ‘Keeping children safe in education’ which will come into effect on 3 September 2018. Until that date, the current guidance (published in September 2016) is still in force.

‘Keeping children safe in education’ is the key document setting out schools’ safeguarding responsibilities and governing boards should ensure that it is reflected in the school or trust policies and understood by all staff.

The DfE has also published separate advice on sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges. This follows an inquiry by the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee which found that 59% of girls and young women aged 13-21 said in 2014 that they had faced some form of sexual harassment at school or college in the previous year. The advice covers schools’ legal responsibilities, a whole school approach to prevention, and responding to a report of sexual violence or harassment.

The DfE consulted prior to the update and NGA’s response can be read here. NGA will provide updated safeguarding guidance to reflect the new guidance.


NSPCC finds sharp rise under-11s referred for mental health help

The NSPCC has reported a significant increase in the number of children aged under 11 who schools have referred for mental health treatment in the last four years. In 2017-18, 18,870 under-11s were referred for specialist support compared to 13,687 in 2014-15. That is a rise of more than a third, amounting to over 5,000 children. Overall, the equivalent of 183 children are now being referred every school day.

There are concerns that the increased demand is putting the system under pressure, and potentially stopping children getting the help that they need. Over one third of the children referred to Child Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs) were declined help. While some have suggested that this could be a product of excessive thresholds set by Camhs, there is a shared concern about the help that exists for those who are refused Camhs support.

The government has pledged £1.7billion to help young people’s mental health and wellbeing. They claim that this money will go toward providing trained mental health workers to work closely with schools and so provide quicker support for children. They are also extending the schools and NHS link pilot to twenty more areas, with the intention of improving the links between schools and their local specialist mental health service.

NGA’s guidance for governing boards on supporting positive mental health is available in the pupil wellbeing section of our guidance centre.


Join Inspiring Governance’s first workshop to boost your recruitment potential

Discover how to connect with volunteers who want to become governors/ trustees and begin your recruitment journey by joining our inaugural ‘Inspiring Governance recruiters’ workshop. Whether you are new to the service or an existing user that wants to maximise your recruitment potential, this event is for you. Attendees will have the opportunity to experience all the features of the recently upgraded platform, see live profiles of volunteers near them and receive advice on how best to secure the volunteers you want. 

 There will also be the opportunity to:

  • register on Inspiring Governance, create vacancies and begin your search for governors/ trustees immediately
  • discover all the benefits of the free training and support provided to new recruits by the NGA, designed to complement your local training offer
  • meet the Inspiring Governance team and discuss any queries that you may have

The event is being held on 8 June 2018 between 10.30am and 12pm (followed by lunch and networking), in Manchester city centre (location details available upon booking). The workshop takes place immediately prior to the Community MATs network, and is open to all recruiters including non-members (schools, MATs, governor services) so please do share this with any chairs, governors, trustees, clerks or governance managers that may be interested. Email judith.hicks@nga.org.uk to book your free place.


Upcoming NGA events 2018

Don’t forget to hold the following dates in your diaries for NGA’s upcoming events and meetings:

Don’t miss out! Book your place today!


Cohorts beginning soon: Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

NGA’s new Leading Governance programmes; Development for Chairs, Development for Clerks and Development for Boards are all now taking bookings.

Last chance to book:

  • Development for Chairs – Blackpool Cohort 1 (starts 4 June)
  • Development for Clerks – Cambridgeshire Cohort 1 (starts 5 June)
  • Development for Chairs – Stoke Cohort 1 (starts 5 June)
  • Development for Chairs – Oxfordshire Cohort 1 (starts 11 June)
  • Development for Chairs – Solihull Cohort 1 (starts 11 June)

Please see below for more information about the programmes:

Development for Boards

This programme is designed for boards governing multi academy trusts or groups of schools, or boards of schools in opportunity areas where the school is judged to be requiring improvement. This is a consultant-led bespoke programme that will be tailored to your board’s circumstances to improve practice and outcomes. Funding is available up to the value of £2,000 per board.

You can book your place on Development for Boards here.  

Development for Chairs

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance. Funding for £500 is available.

You can check the dates of available cohorts and book your place here.

Development for Clerks

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking. Only £75 if you take up funding worth £350.

You can check the dates of available cohorts and book your place here.

DON’T MISS OUT!  
*Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 11/05/2018

Plans for grammar school expansion and new maintained faith schools

The Department for Education (DfE) has today announced that it will:

  • open a Selective Schools Expansion Fund of £50 million for existing selective (grammar) schools to expand their premises to create new places. To access the money, which is available in 2018-19, schools will have to submit a Fair Access and Partnership Plan setting out actions to increase admissions of disadvantaged pupils;
  • develop a scheme to help create new voluntary-aided schools to meet local demand. Schools that open under this route can open with up to 100% faith based admissions and providers will have to contribute 10% to capital costs. The DfE intend to work with local authorities to create schools in areas of need;
  • facilitate universities’ and independent schools’ partnerships with state schools. A dedicated unit has been established in the DfE for this purpose and a Joint Understanding with the Independent Schools Council has been made;
  • open the next wave of free school applications targeted at areas in which there is a demand for places and a need to raise standards.

These measures are a significantly watered down version of those put forward in the 2016 ‘Schools that work for everyone’ consultation. This proposed a change in legislation to allow new grammar schools to open and a change in the rules to allow new free schools to be selective on the basis of faith (currently there is a cap of 50% faith based admissions in the oversubscription criteria). The government’s response to the consultation has been published this morning.

NGA opposed the opening of new grammar schools (see our consultation response in full). We continue to be of the view that these are the wrong priorities for the DfE at this time, with school budgets at breaking point and many schools struggling to recruit and retain staff. Much of what has been announced today is not new; the £50 million for grammar school expansion was announced in the 2016 autumn statement and it was already possible to open new voluntary aided schools where need could not be met through the free schools programme.


School funding: have your say

School funding has once again been in the news this week, with a survey of 1,500 headteachers finding that 80% had to cut numbers of teaching assistants and support staff while 60% had removed teaching posts due to financial pressures.

The NGA and Tes’ annual school governance survey includes a section of questions on finances. The responses will be a crucial source of intelligence as we campaign for more funding for the core schools budget: click here to take the survey (open until Monday 11 June).

Last month the House of Commons Education Select Committee announced an inquiry into school funding, to which NGA will be providing written evidence (see our previous newsletter story for more details). If you have any comments and would like to feed into NGA’s response, please contact Fay Holland: fay.holland@nga.org.uk.


ESFA publishes information on enhanced DBS disclosure checks for chairs of academy trusts

The Education and Skills and Funding Agency has published information on the enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate that chairs of academy trusts must have. Chairs are also required to have their application countersigned by the secretary of state for Education.

The information is also a reminder that all new chairs require a new enhanced DBS certificate even if they were previously chair elsewhere; only those chairs that hold an enhanced DBS certificate from the same school prior to converting to an academy trust are exempt.

Clerks of trust boards should ensure that their Chairs have obtained an enhanced DBS certificate and that their application is countersigned by the secretary of state. Clerks may also want to use this as an opportunity to ensure that other trustees have an up-to-date enhanced DBS certificate although these do not need to be countersigned by the secretary of state.


Chair of Education Committee writes to Secretary of State for Education about disadvantage in the North of England

On the back of a public evidence session with the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, the chair of the education committee, Robert Halfon MP, has written to the secretary of state for education, Damian Hinds, concerning the “stark educational attainment gap between the North and other parts of England, particularly for disadvantaged pupils”. Mr Halfon quoted figures which show that “at the end of Key Stage 4, attainment 8 scores of northern pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds were 13 points behind those of their fellow pupils [and] Northern pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve lower attainment levels than disadvantaged pupils elsewhere in the country (1.3 points below the national average and 6.5 points below their peers in London)”.

Mr Halfon has requested that the government share with the committee what actions it is taking to address issues which contribute to this north/south divide. This includes clarity around pupil premium spending, career support and work placements opportunities, teacher recruitment and retention, multi-academy trust performance, provision of level four (or above) qualifications and the government’s strategy for narrowing the attainment gap in the North. Mr Halfon also wants the government to clarify how much of the Northern Powerhouse fund has been spent so far.

Regardless of where your school is located in the country, governing boards have a duty to ensure that disadvantaged pupils are receiving aspirational, high quality and impartial careers advise and that the pupil premium is being spent to narrow the attainment gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantage pupils. NGA is currently undertaking some research into the role of those governing in supporting disadvantaged pupils. This will further inform governors of how best to support these pupils. For more information, visit the NGA Guidance Centre.


Joint Select Committee report on green paper on child mental health

This week, MPs from the Education and Health and Social Care Committees' published a joint report which raises concerns that government plans to tackle the mental health crisis, as set out in a Green Paper in December 2017, will “fail a generation of young people”.

Current government proposals centre on three key elements: a teacher at every school and college becoming a Designated Lead for Mental Health; support for schools from new mental health support teams; and a four-week trial for access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

However, the report produced by the cross-party group of MPs outlines that plans “lack ambition” as they are too narrow in scope, fail to address root causes and may create further pressures on the workforce without the commitment of sufficient resources. The report criticised the restricted terms of evidence and limited “scope of the Green Paper”, noting that the levels of demand for services are expected to have been underestimated due to the “use of out of date prevalence data” which was last published in 2004.

On the prevention of mental ill health, the committee recommends that the Government seek independent evidence exploring the impact of exam pressure on mental health, while recommendations concerning the workforce include ensuring that the workforce is not “overburdened” and “an additional responsibility payment for teachers who take on the Designated Lead Role” is considered.

Finally, on the implementation of proposals, the committee outlines that the Government should “ensure that the implementation of the four-week waiting time target does not raise the threshold of access to CAMHS” and should seek to improve its timeframes as current proposals cover only “a fifth to quarter of the country by 2022/23”.

The Government will now be expected to respond to the findings and recommendation of the Select Committees’ report, usually within 60 days. NGA will keep members updated on this important topic. For more on mental health issues in schools, see the NGA Guidance Centre.


The future of small rural schools

The Church of England Education Office has published a report entitled ‘Embracing Change: Rural and Small Schools’ in which it re-emphasises the conclusion of its previous publications that “small rural schools could not continue to operate as stand-alone units” and highlights the need to come together in formal groupings such as federations or multi-academy trusts (MATs). It states that the key message for governing bodies of small local authority maintained schools primary schools is that “doing nothing is not an option”.

The report calls for further research into what ‘outstanding’ looks like in this context and also highlights a number of key challenges for small schools:

  • recruiting, supporting and retaining high quality staff
  • maximising available funding
  • working with available physical resources, such as older buildings

A set of self-review questions for governing bodies are included as an appendix to the report.

NGA would like to see more encouragement for small schools in close proximity to federate or join a MAT and is pleased that the Church of England shares that view. NGA has produced guidance for those considering forming or joining a group of schools. Information on federations is available through our Federation First campaign and our Lessons Learned case studies provide insight into the governance of MATs.


ESC launches ‘Life chances’ inquiry into impact of early years education and social policy

Last Friday, the House of Commons’ Education Select Committee announced that it was launching an inquiry into the impact of children’s early years on their life chances. The focus will be on education policy, but other relevant areas such as health and welfare policy will also be considered.

Robert Halfon MP, chair of the committee, cited research which suggests that children starting school with poor language skills were six times more likely to struggle with reading at age eleven, and 11 times more likely to struggle with maths. He claimed that “while home and family life are the biggest influence on a child’s language and skills development in their early years, high quality early years education can have a major impact in helping even the most disadvantaged children to compete with their better-off peers.” It was noted that access to these services currently rely on a “postcode lottery” and the committee will therefore aim to produce practical recommendations to give all children the opportunity to succeed.

Individuals and organisations are able to submit evidence, with the committee specifically seeking inputs on: the role of early years education in impacting life chances; the importance of parental support in preventing problems and intervening early; and the significance of communication skills development. The deadline for submissions is 1 June 2018 and these can be made here.


New NGA blog on accountability

Last week at the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) annual conference, Education Secretary Damian Hinds discussed the future of accountability measures and pledged to increase clarity in the system.

In a new blog, chief executive Emma Knights reflects on accountability and asks: 'How can we make our schools meaningfully accountable to the right people for the right things without swamping our school staff in additional work?'


Upcoming NGA events 2018

Don’t forget to hold the following dates in your diaries for NGA’s upcoming events and meetings:

Don’t miss out, book your place today!


Cohorts beginning soon: Governance training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

NGA’s new Leading Governance programmes; Development for Chairs, Development for Clerks and Development for Boards are all now taking bookings.

Last chance to book:

  • Development for Chairs – Newham Cohort 1 (starts 12 May)
  • Development for Chairs – Milton Keynes (starts 14 May)
  • Development for Chairs – Leeds (starts 16 May)
  • Development for Chairs – Blackpool (starts 4 June)
  • Development for Chairs – Stoke (starts 5 June)
  • Development for Clerks – Cambridge (starts 5 June)
  • Development for Chairs – Oxfordshire (starts 11 June)
  • Development for Chairs – Solihull (starts 11 June)
  • Development for Clerks – Oxfordshire (starts 2 July)

Please see below for more information about the programmes:

Development for Boards

This programme is designed for boards governing multi academy trusts or groups of schools, or boards of schools in opportunity areas where the school is judged to be requiring improvement. This is a consultant-led bespoke programme that will be tailored to your board’s circumstances to improve practice and outcomes. Funding is available up to the value of £2,000 per board.

You can book your place on Development for Boards here.  

Development for Chairs

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance. Funding for £500 is available.

You can check the dates of available cohorts and book your place here.

Development for Clerks

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking. Only £75 if you take up funding worth £350.

You can check the dates of available cohorts and book your place here.

DON’T MISS OUT!  
*Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 04/05/2018

Make your voice heard: the biggest school governance survey of the year

NGA has once again joined forces with Tes Magazine to survey the volunteers governing England’s state-funded schools.

Click here to have your say!

Closing date: Monday 11 June

The survey is open to all governors, trustees, and academy committee members in England and you do not have to be an NGA member to take part – please share the survey with others on your governing board and your wider networks!

Through taking part you will help to build a picture of who is governing our schools and of governance practice, and to shed light on the impact of government policies on schools.

A full report of the findings from last year’s survey is available here: School governance in 2017: an annual survey by NGA and Tes.

The more responses, the stronger the voice of governing boards in national education policy – don’t miss the chance to have your say!


Secretary of State for Education pledges clarity on accountability measures

On Friday 4 May, the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, addressed the National Association of Headteachers annual conference in Liverpool. Here, he discussed the role of Ofsted, the future of accountability measures, academisation and improving career support for teachers.

As part of his speech, Mr Hinds looked to clarify the role of Ofsted as the main body to “provide an independent, rounded judgement of a school’s performance”. Amidst confusion in the sector concerning decisions in relation to directing an academy order, Mr Hinds outlined that “school leaders need complete clarity on how the accountability system will operate … this means we will not be forcibly turning schools into academies unless Ofsted has judged it to be Inadequate”.

Speaking out about accountability measures, Mr Hinds will also look to scrap the dual system of both “floor-standards” and “coasting” triggers dictating whether a school is in need of statutory intervention. He outlined that “there will be a single, transparent data trigger for schools to be offered support … I intend this to replace the current confusing system of having both below the floor and coasting standards for performance”. A consultation on accountability measures will be released in due course and NGA will be issuing a response.

Finally, Mr Hinds also introduced a number of initiatives to “make sure teaching remains an attractive, fulfilling profession”. This includes increasing the induction period from one to two years for newly qualified teachers, new “early career development opportunities” for those beginning their career and, for more established teachers, introducing opportunities for more flexible working patterns (including a new sabbatical programme funded by the DfE).

Commenting on Mr Hinds’ speech, Sam Henson, Head of Information at the NGA, said: “A clear accountability system is crucial for promoting pupils’ understanding across a broad curriculum, maximising progress and attainment and for helping governing boards carry out their own accountability role. Schools’ effectiveness should be judged on both progress and attainment measures to ensure the school’s impact can be properly assessed. NGA will be responding to the consultation in due course".

"Teacher supply remains a concern for governing boards - 46% of respondents to the NGA/TES 2017 annual governance survey said they find it difficult recruiting to teaching posts. We therefore welcome the commitment from the Education Secretary to ensuring teaching is an attractive profession as part of our ongoing call for the government to invest in teacher recruitment, retention and professional development."

NGA look forward to welcoming Mr Hinds to the NGA Summer Conference on 9 June in Manchester. If you would like to book your complimentary place at the NGA conference, details can be accessed here. Please note, places are filling up fast so please do not delay if you are planning on attending.


New £23 million fund to support the brightest pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds

Last Friday, the Department for Education (DfE) announced further details about its “future talent fund”.

The fund is intended to test new strategies for helping the most talented disadvantaged pupils maintain their high performance. It is a response to the significant disparity in outcomes between the most able students at the end of key stage two who are entitled to free school meals, and those who are not.

In the autumn, applications for the funding itself will open. State-funded schools, multi-academy trusts, independent schools, universities, charities and research organisations will all be eligible, although the projects themselves must be delivered in non-selective, state-funded secondary schools.

This is the latest addition in a series of schemes announced by the DfE intended to support disadvantaged pupils and raise standards, with this particular scheme looking to “encourage evidence-led interventions, including those that could be funded by schools using their Pupil Premium funding”.


Education Select Committee session on education in the north of England

This week, the House of Commons Education Select Committee (ESC) questioned George Osborne in his capacity as chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) on the state of education in the north of England. The ESC questioned the approaches that can be taken to help disadvantaged pupils, address significant levels of inequality and improve education in the north.

The session follows the publication of the ‘Educating the North’ report produced by the NPP. The report focuses on addressing the growing gap in educational attainment between pupils in the north of England and south. It further highlights the importance of quality education and skills in addressing the issue and outlines several recommendations necessary to close the gap. According to Tes, Mr Osborne stated “I’m calling on the government to commit to this bold objective: let’s make sure as many kids in the North attend 'good' and 'outstanding' schools as they do now in London”.

The committee heard that while the fund had been put in place, “not a great deal” had been done with it so far. The transcript from the session is available on the Select Committee web page here


Ongoing inquiry into Alternative Provision

Previous newsletters have referred to the Making the Difference report, an Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) report looking at breaking the link between school exclusion and social exclusion.

This week, the Minister of State for School Standards, Nick Gibb, gave evidence to the ongoing inquiry into Alternative Provision, and the Committee challenged the Minister on some of the report’s key findings:

  • each day 35 children are told to leave their school permanently
  • permanent exclusions have been rising year on year since 2013, representing a 40% increase over the past three years
  • official and unofficial exclusions are calculated at 48,000 pupils being educated outside of mainstream education or in special school at some point in the academic year
  • off-rolling and home elective home education is resulting in tens of thousands of children being lost to government oversight

In response, the Minister emphasised the importance of context, noting that exclusion rates were still much lower than their peak of 10 years ago. The Minister also emphasised the importance of leadership and the need to not restrain a headteacher’s ability to exclude as the ultimate deterrent and to maintain school discipline.

In determining what action might be required of Government to tackle the issue raised in this inquiry, the Minister turned to a number of ongoing initiatives:

Members wishing to respond to these calls for evidence can do so as follows:

  • Review of School Exclusions can be accessed here; the survey closes on 06 May 2018.
  • Elective Home Education can be accessed here; the survey closes on 02 July 2018. 


Government announces funding for early years to help boost language and communication skills

Earlier this week, Damian Hinds, Education Secretary, announced new support to help parents improve their children’s early language and literacy skills at home before they start school.

There will be two schemes that will aim to build the confidence of parents to support their children in language and reading at an early stage. The aim is to help close the so-called ‘word gap’ - the gap in communication skills between disadvantaged children and their peers when they start school.

One scheme run by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) will see £5 million spent on trialling projects with the aim of providing practical tools and advice to parents so they can help their children learn new words through simple steps like reading and singing nursery rhymes. EEF will run trial projects in the north of England. The projects will look at what works best in improving children’s communication skills at home before they begin school.

The second scheme will be an £8.5million programme for local authorities to fund projects to improve early language and literacy development for disadvantaged children.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:This new support will help parents with early language learning at home by giving them practical advice on activities like reading and learning the alphabet which are so important in making sure no child is left behind.”


National Secular Society report on relationship and sex education in schools

This week, the National Secular Society has released a report exploring relationship and sex education (RSE) in over 600 English secondary schools with a religious character. While the research is “qualitative in nature”, and it is therefore difficult to produce objective statistics from the data, the researchers suggest that over three-quarters of schools with an RSE policy “were found to deliver [RSE] according to the teachings of the school’s religious ethos, rather than in a secular, impartial manner”. The report found that many of the schools included in the study had “policies and practices” drawing upon intolerant views of same-sex relationships, sex outside of marriage, abortion, the use of contraceptives and menstruation.

Those governing are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure that their school’s policies conform to the Equalities Act 2010.


NAHT publish analysis of high needs funding pressures  

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has today published a new analysis of the key drivers of the crisis in high needs funding. In 2018/19 the revenue funding for core funding for schools and academies in England, the Designated Schools Grant, was £43.7 billion, of which £5.9 billion is allocated to the High Needs Block. The High Needs Block is paid to local authorities, before being allocated to mainstream and special schools. This is used to provide places for pupils with complex needs and to provide ‘top up funding’ to meet the individual needs of pupils with Special Education Needs or Disabilities (SEND) as set out in a Statement or Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

The report finds that real terms cuts to education funding since April 2015 caused by huge increases in costs is driving unsustainable pressure on the high needs budget. NAHT identify other key factors which include:

  • increases in the number of pupils with statements or Educational Health Care Plans (EHCP) totalling “an increase of over 50,000 (21%) between 2014 and 2017 – 31,000 between 2016 and 2017 alone”
  • “a shift from mainstream to specialist provision of 5% of pupils between 2010 and 2017”
  • “a significant 19% increase in the number of pupils with SEND attending independent schools between 2010 and 2017 which support pupils with the most complex needs; the cost of pupils in those settings is often much higher”
  • “a slight but significant increase in the number of pupils educated in alternative provision or PRUs
  • “an increase in the number of children and young people being home educated or educated outside a school setting, from 3,305 in 2010 to 8,304 in 2017, with half of those, 4,050, now pupils awaiting provision”

The report outlines that the cost pressures facing local authorities are illustrated in the number of appeals to SEND tribunals over ECHPs with “an 81% increase in the number of appeals decided by the Tribunal; in 2016/17 almost four fifths of outcomes were in favour of the appellant”.

In response to the findings of the report, general secretary of NAHT, Paul Whiteman said “the Chancellor must recognise the growing shortfall if we are to avoid our most vulnerable pupils missing out on the education that can allow them to realise their potential.”

The Education Select Committee has launched an inquiry into how support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) has been implemented since the 2014 government reforms. NGA will be submitting evidence before the 14 June deadline; if you have any comments, please email rani.kaur@nga.org.uk.


Apprenticeship levy under scrutiny from the major manufacturing association

This week, the EEF (a manufacturers’ association – not to be confused with the Educational Endowment Foundation) has released a report entitled A Levy Price to Pay? The Apprenticeship Levy One Year On. Drawing upon the findings from its annual survey of “100 Levy paying Manufacturers”, the report highlights that “95% of [the] manufacturers [that responded] want changes to the Levy in some form”, with over one in ten of the companies surveyed citing some sort of problem with the apprenticeship programme and the levy. Amongst the findings, respondents noted problems with the apprenticeship standards not being available for use and an “unwillingness” from some post-16 providers to “provide Apprenticeships that manufacturers want”.

On the back of this report, the EEF is organising a summit with the government “to discuss fundamental reforms to make the Apprenticeship Levy work, and to ensure the creation of additional numbers of high value manufacturing and engineering Apprenticeships”. The EEF will focus their discussions around seven proposed reforms which are summarised on their website.

NGA will keep members up-to-date about any changes to the apprenticeship levy if and when they occur. For more on the apprenticeship levy, and how it impacts upon schools, please visit the NGA Guidance Centre.


Place2Be research on benefits of mental health counselling in primary schools

Place2Be, a children’s mental health charity in England, commissioned Pro Bono Economics (PBE) to conduct a study into the economic case of its one-to-one counselling service in primary schools. PBE matches professional economists who want to use their skills to volunteer with charities and have covered a range of issues including education, employment, mental health and poverty. The study examines the activities of Place2Be’s counselling service in 2016/17 during which 4,548 children in 251 primary schools in the UK accessed the service.

The key findings of the report show that:

  • counselling services in primary school could lead to improved outcomes including “reduced rates of truancy, exclusion, smoking, depression, and crime, and also higher rates of employment and wages”
  • “every £1 invested in the service in 2016/17 results in benefits of £6.20 in terms of improved long-term outcomes”
  • the estimated benefit of counselling is “£25.9m for all the children who received counselling in 2016/17 compared to a cost of £4.2m for the service”
  • the potential benefit per child from counselling is “just over £5,700 per child, including a saving of over £2,000 per child for government”

You can read the full findings of the PBE report here. For further guidance on the governing board’s role in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils, visit the NGA Guidance Centre.


NAHT releases findings of survey of early years childcare providers

NAHT has conducted a survey of early years providers delivering the 30 hours free childcare offer.

The survey received 425 responses and was open to NAHT’s school leadership members and leaders of early years provision outside NAHT membership.

Below are the key findings of the survey:

  • Almost four-fifths of respondents (77 per cent) said they were delivering the 30 hours offer
  • Almost four-fifths (78 per cent) said 10 per cent or fewer of the children accessing the 30 hours were low-income families entitled to free school meals
  • Less than a fifth (19 per cent) said the funding they received was sufficient to cover their costs
  • More than two-thirds (70 per cent) said they were cross-subsidising from another part of the school/setting to enable them to offer the additional hours

NAHT has also listed their recommendations which include a call for the government to review funding rates so the costs to providers are fully covered and that there is no delay in providers receiving the funding.

Governing boards are reminded that if their school is a provider of the childcare offer, they should ensure that the costs are carefully monitored.


Inspiring Governance’s new campaign encourages employers to support school governance

Having the right people around the table is one of the eight elements of effective governance. To get volunteers that bring a wide range of valuable professional skills and experience interested in becoming a governor/ trustee, Inspiring Governance has launched a new campaign asking employers to support their staff to govern in schools.

Many serving governors/ trustees tell us that having support from their employer to govern, including time off work, is really valuable in helping with the demands of school governance. In the 2017 NGA/Tes annual school governance survey, 56% of respondents in work reported that they receive time off to govern. This campaign seeks to educate employers about the benefits to them, their staff and young people of supporting school governance. By working with employers to get their staff involved in governance, and setting up governance schemes to support them, we aim to advance the recognition of these benefits and increase consideration for both existing and new volunteers from employers.

As part of the campaign, we’re sharing this short film with employers to highlight the benefits to organisations of getting involved in school governance and explaining why schools need to recruit skilled volunteers. If you, your employer or someone in your network would be interested in encouraging and supporting people to volunteer, we would appreciate it if you would share this information with them to start a relationship that benefits schools, business and the local community.


Attention all MAT trustees and clerks

Places for the Community MATs network meetings are filling up fast.

These events are an opportunity for trustees and clerks of multi-academy trusts (MATs) to come together, discuss their experiences and share best practice.

The meetings include a buffet lunch and will be structured informally with opportunities for everyone to speak and for lively discussion. Topics will include:

  • NGA Research: case studies of MAT governance
  • the role of members in a MAT
  • key themes from external reviews of MAT governance

The meetings will take place in:

Book now to secure your place at these key events.

If you have any questions about the event or network, please get in touch with Fay: fay.holland@nga.org.uk


Bookings for NGA’s SEND conference now open

We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for NGA’s SEND Conference.

The conference will be held on Saturday 7 July 2018 in central Birmingham.

The event will be of particular interest to those governing in special schools, SEND governors/trustees in mainstream schools and for any member who has an interest in the governance of SEND.

The sessions will focus on topics such as the importance of being inclusive and funding. This event will provide a unique opportunity to raise questions with NGA and guest speakers, as well as talk through the key issues in relation to SEND and governance.

More details on the venue and the programme are available upon registration through the website on the NGA Events Page.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 27/04/2018

New multi-academy trusts (MAT) case-studies series launched

This week, NGA has published two detailed case studies exploring the lessons learned by MATs in their journey since creation. The third case study in the series will be published in the coming days. NGA recognised a need in the MAT system for research that demonstrates the challenges experienced by MATs as they form and develop, including the lessons learned by executive leaders and those governing.

These rich case studies are not designed to focus on effectiveness or good practice, but simply serve as a platform for MATs to share their journeys with others and explain what these journeys have involved. This includes what trustees and executive leaders have learned from any obstacles faced, what they have found successful or less so, and how they have adapted over time in response to changing circumstances. The experience of NGA staff, as well as the feedback from NGA’s Community MATs network, suggest that these case studies will prove extremely valuable for new and developing MATs.

To read the case studies, click here. To read the corresponding press release, visit the NGA newspage.

Join us at one of our upcoming Community MATs network meetings where we will be discussing the case studies in further detail. These events provide an invaluable opportunity for MAT trustees and clerks to share experiences and discuss the challenges and opportunities they have encountered.

  • London, Wednesday 16 May, 12.00-16.00 - click here to book 

Topics of discussion will include findings from NGA’s MAT case studies, external reviews of MAT governance and the role of members, with attendees getting an exclusive first look at NGA’s new guidance.

  • Manchester, Friday 8 June, 12.00-16.00 - click here to book 

Topics of discussion will include findings from NGA’s MAT case studies, external reviews of MAT governance, trustee recruitment and succession planning.

Please contact events@nga.org.uk.


Recap: London Regional Conference hears from National Schools Commissioner

Last Saturday 21 April, NGA was pleased to welcome the National Schools Commissioner, Sir David Carter, to the London Regional Conference. Sir David spoke about the crucial role of governance in ensuring schools are the best they can be.

Acknowledging that sustainable school improvement cannot happen overnight, Sir David said that governing boards and school leaders need to be “clinical and crisp” when identifying what actions to prioritise. He also said that, in his view, it is not good practice for the lead executive in an academy trust to also be a trustee; this agrees with NGA’s long-held position that the lead executive of a school or group of schools should not be a member of its governing board.

Delegates also heard from: Paul Charman of FFT on understanding your school’s data; Dame Sue John of Challenge Partners on recruiting and developing headteachers; and Christina Birt of Arts Council England on school improvement and the arts. The presentations from the conference are available here.


Sir David Carter announces resignation

The National Schools Commissioner, Sir David Carter, has announced that he will be stepping down from his current role at the end of the academic year. Sir David issued a recorded message to announce his news, saying that he had felt “incredibly privileged” to have undertaken the role. The Department for Education confirmed the news stating a “new National Schools Commissioner is to be appointed following the excellent work of Sir David Carter, who is retiring from the civil service after four years at the department”.

NGA would like to thank Sir David for continuing to engage with us to help raise the profile of governance.


Funding the Future: MPs debate school funding

This week, school funding was discussed by MPs during an opposition day debate in the House of Commons. The debate centred on the Conservative Party manifesto pledge to “make sure that no school has its budget cut as a result of the new national funding formula”. In January, the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, told parliament that “each school will see at least a small cash terms increase in their budgets”. However, the UK Statistics Authority has since said that it is not possible to say that all schools will see a small cash gain, because the amounts allocated to schools for the next two years will be decided by local authorities during transition to the National Funding Formula.

Shadow Secretary of State for Education Angela Rayner outlined the effects of funding pressures across every phase of education and, in particular, that high-needs funding is insufficient for schools to meet the needs of pupils with special educational needs.

In response, the Secretary of State said that he “recognises that schools have faced significant cost pressures” and outlined efforts by the Department for Education (DfE) to help schools secure efficiencies, stating that “it is not just the amount of funding that matters it is how far it can go in achieving the objectives that we all have.”

Chair of the Education Select Committee, Robert Halfon, called on the government to consider a long-term approach to school funding with “a 10 year starting point” arguing that “3-4 years is not strategic enough.” Last week, the Education Select Committee announced an inquiry into the level of school and college funding which asks whether the “spending review cycle is the best mechanism” for deciding expenditure on schools.

Gillian Allcroft, deputy chief executive of the NGA, said: “NGA urges governing boards to respond to the inquiry, share their experiences and build the evidence base for the need for a long-term investment in education funding”. The deadline for evidence is 30 May and NGA will be responding in due course. If you have any comments or would like to share your experiences balancing your budget in confidence, please email fay.holland@nga.org.uk.


Conversion of schools to academy status under scrutiny

Last week’s Schools Week highlighted delays in the conversion of underperforming schools to academy status. Freedom of Information requests by the paper found that no school judged ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted had been converted to academy status within nine months after their inspection in at least 26 local authorities and 35 schools took longer than two years to convert.

A number of causes for delays were identified, including a lack of academy trusts suitable to sponsor schools and complications relating to the school premises (including where private finance initiative (PFI) contracts were in place). Schools with a religious character were particularly likely to take longer to convert. The paper also suggested that there had sometimes been a wait of up to a year after the inspection for regional schools commissioners (RSCs) to issue academy orders.

The Education and Adoption Act 2016 introduced a duty for the Secretary of State to issue academy orders to any maintained school judged ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted and discretionary powers to rebroker academies in the same circumstances. In practice, the responsibility for issuing academy orders is delegated to RSCs. As of 1 April 2018 there were 231 schools in the process of becoming a sponsored academy.

NGA does not agree that conversion to academy status is the only way to secure improvement in underperforming schools and has previously expressed concern about the availability of high quality sponsors to support these schools; however, an extended period of uncertainty after academy orders has been issued is unlikely to benefit staff or pupils.

Following a NAO report published in February, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee is holding an inquiry into converting maintained schools to academies. NGA has been invited to give oral evidence to this inquiry and will also be submitting written evidence. If you would like to share your school’s experience of the conversion process, particularly following academy orders, please get in touch by emailing fay.holland@nga.org.uk. All correspondence will be treated in confidence.

More information on powers of intervention in underperforming schools is available in the NGA Guidance Centre.


Alternative Provision inquiry

The Education Committee heard more evidence this week as part of its ongoing inquiry into Alternative Provision. The inquiry, which was launched in September 2017, is considering the following issues:

  • Routes into alternative provision;
  • The quality of teaching in alternative provision (including pupil referral units);
  • Educational outcomes and destinations of students;
  • Safety, accommodation, and provision of resources for students; 
  • In-school alternatives to external alternative provision;
  • Regulation of independent providers.

This week’s evidence session explored recurring themes from previous sessions, such as early identification and ongoing assessment of need, the importance of speech and language therapy, the effect of zero tolerance behaviour policies and the link between exclusions and SEND children.

The committee heard evidence of the different policy context in Scotland, including the “Getting it right for every child” national policy in place for over a decade. In Scotland local authorities are held to account in relation to the attendance of young people in local authority schools and the rates of exclusion, and the presumption is that children will stay in school. The witness, Dr Gillooly, Head of Strategic Development and Innovation, Includem, spoke of the essential nature of support outside of school for children and parents as well as the successful partnerships between local authorities and third sector organisations in provisions of this kind.

As part of its Spotlight on Disadvantage campaign NGA recently ran a survey of those governing to assess their role in ensuring that disadvantaged young people leave school with the best possible life chances. The survey findings are due to be published in May and reported on in the summer issue of Governing Matters.

Governors can find Department for Education statutory guidance on exclusions here and NGA’s four stage guide to exclusions on our website.

The committee’s next evidence session will take place on 1 May.


Good Estate Management for Schools guidance released

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and Department for Education (DfE) has published the Good Estate Management for Schools (GEMS) guidance and tools.

GEMS is a new online resource and brings together new and existing guidance on school estate management, and sets out:

  • the fundamental policies and procedures needed to manage the school estate effectively;
  • guidance on strategic estate management, organisational oversight, understanding your land and buildings, energy and water management and managing projects;
  • updated guidance on health and safety, compliance and maintenance (replacing existing guidance in Essential Schools Maintenance);
  • the skills organisations need access to, links to tools and resources that can help.

The guidance is for anyone with responsibility for overseeing or managing the estate. This includes: leaders and governors of schools, trustees of academy trusts, school business professionals, those with responsibility for day to day running of the school estate, local authorities, Diocesan authorities and other religious authorities and bodies.

Governors and trustees are reminded that their role in estate management should be strategic and so boards should ensure that relevant polices are up to date and they are holding their senior leaders to account.


Ofqual survey exploring the perception of qualifications in England

This week, the office for qualifications (Ofqual) has released the results of its annual survey exploring the “perceptions of A levels, GCSEs and other qualifications in England”. Conducted between October and December 2017, the survey was aimed at teachers and school leaders as well as members of the general public, employers, parents, students and higher education institutions. The headline findings, which mainly revolve around GCSEs and AS/A levels, are summarised below.

In terms of GCSEs, the number of respondents who saw the GCSE as a ‘trusted’ qualification remain unchanged compared to previous years at 72%. However, although over three quarters of respondents were aware of changes to GCSE grading, only 62% reported that they understood the new system. Furthermore, although broadly consistent with previous years’ results, only 38% of respondents believed that GCSEs are a good preparation for work and 57% believed that GCSEs develop a broad range of skills for students.

In terms of AS/A levels, respondents had the highest confidence in AS/A levels compared to any other qualification. However, only 49% believed that “AS/A level standards are maintained year-on-year”, only 37% saw “AS/A levels [as] good preparation for work” and less than half believed that “AS/A levels develop a broad range of skills for students”.

For more information on examinations and assessment, including a summary of changes to GCSEs, please visit the NGA Guidance Centre.


NASWUT survey on support for pupils with SEN

Earlier this month, NASUWT published the results of a survey which asked teachers and school leaders a series of questions about their experiences of educating children with special educational needs (SEN).

The results painted a concerning picture for the state of SEN education in the UK. 41% of respondents stated that they were not aware of the specific support which each of their SEN pupils were entitled to, while only 4% said that they always received the support they needed to teach SEN pupils effectively. Many respondents tied these problems to wider pressures on teachers, and inconsistencies in practice between different subjects and pupils.

Respondents also suggested that providing for SEN pupils was becoming increasingly difficult. 62% claimed that support for SEN had decreased in the last five years. Reasons cited included cuts to LA or specialist services (83%) and the new need to engage parents in decisions about SEN support (77%.) .

NGA’s Guidance Centre includes guidance for governing boards about their role in their school’s approach to SEN pupils.


New information sheds light on diversity in the third sector

Looking across the wider charity and voluntary sector, two organisations have released information this week on diversity, painting a similar picture to what we know about diversity in school governance.

Inclusive Boards’ research examines ‘the diversity data of the top 500 charities in the UK by income’ with regard to ethnicity and gender. It found that of these charities 6.6% of board members are from ethnic minorities and highlights a ‘double barrier’ where ‘only 2.9% of trustees are women of colour’. It also found that 62% of the top 500 charities have ‘all white’ boards, with just four all BAME. The report calls for the charity sector to recognise ‘the importance of having voices from different walks of life involved where vital decisions are made’. It cites one of the main challenges in increasing diversity of charity leadership as ‘a lack of awareness of the benefits diverse leadership brings … [with] no real evidence of either the Charity Commission or the Office for Civil Society investing in making the case for greater diversity’.

Meanwhile, a new blog from NCVO on diversity in volunteering echoes these findings. NCVO’s blog highlights a ‘civic core’ of volunteers formed of ‘very specific types of people’, which contribute the majority of volunteering hours – these people tend to be middle aged, well-educated and with higher than average paid jobs. The blog concludes that formal volunteering (including trusteeship) is more exclusive – and the majority of trustees are male (64%), white (92%) over the age of 55 (65%) and retired (51%). A number of recommendations are made on how to increase diversity in volunteering including ‘making diversity a top priority for your organisation’, ‘removing barriers’ to participation and ‘changing the way [you] communicate’ about the volunteering opportunity.

Our Everyone on Board campaign seeks to increase the participation of under-represented groups in school governance – from our annual school governance survey, we know that just 4% governors/ trustees are from ethnic minorities whilst just 10% are under the age of 40. The campaign will launch at our annual conference on 9 June where we are also running a workshop on why diversity is important and how to get diverse volunteers. This subject is explored further on pages 20-21 of the May/June 2018 issue of Governing Matters.


Analysis of the teacher labour market

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has published analysis of the pressures in the teacher labour market. It identifies the key challenges as being the expected 11% increase in the overall number of pupils between 2016 and 2026; and the government’s ambition for 90% of GCSE pupils taking the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) by 2025 which will inevitably require more teachers to teach the relevant subjects.

The analysis considers these challenges in light of exit and entrant rates of the profession and the impact this has had on schools and pupils. It suggests that the government should introduce more incentives for retaining good quality teachers - rather than just recruitment - such as ‘salary supplements’ for those teaching in subjects where there are shortages in specialists. Although, it does recognise the government’s pilot of a student loan reimbursement programme but brands the scheme as “complicated”.

Governing boards will either be the employer of staff (voluntary aided schools, foundation schools, academy trusts) or will be exercising employer responsibility (community and voluntary controlled schools). As such, it is useful to keep up-to-date with the state of the teacher labour market and consider the possible ways of retaining good quality teaching staff. The government have sought to take steps towards improving teacher workload, for example, and NGA has vpreviously reported on this. This article looks at some of the steps governing boards can take. Emma Knights has previously written a blog questioning whether governing boards are doing enough to keep their staff, a piece adapted from her chapter in the publication Managing Teacher Workload.


Inspiring Governance Future Chairs

Future Chairs, part of the Inspiring Governance programme, supports school governing boards with the vital task of succession planning by linking them with skilled volunteers who have leadership experience in other sectors and are willing to take on a chairing role in the future. Boards retain ownership of the appointment process and we continue to work with our partners until a well-matched candidate is found. But our support does not stop there – once appointed we continue to support future chairs through their first 12 months with mentoring and training.

So far, Future Chairs has facilitated over 30 successful appointments to governing boards, MAT boards and academy committees across England and a further ten candidates are in active discussions with schools.

We have also started work on phase 3 of the project, adding Bradford, Derby & Derbyshire, Hastings, Ipswich and South Yorkshire (Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham & Sheffield) to our list of priority areas. If you are interested in working with us or just want to find out more, please get in touch. Have a look at the article on page 32 of the latest edition of Governing Matters for further details.

Finally, if any of our members in these areas are interested in chairing in an additional school or moving to a different school, we’d love to hear from you.

Contact Simon Richards, Chairs Development Manager at simon.richards@nga.org.uk.


Share your governance experiences of engaging with parents

Engaging with stakeholders – including parents – is vital part of governance, so much so that we are asking the DfE to include a new fourth core function in the next edition of the Governance Handbook. Our proposed wording for this is “ensuring decisions take in to account the views and experiences of stakeholders (pupils, parents, staff and the community)”, as NGA believes this is an important part of governance which is in danger of being overlooked. Governing boards have a responsibility to engage with and respond to their local community.

In partnership with Parentkind, we are updating our guidance for governing boards on parental engagement and we would really value your input. You can get involved by:

  • Sharing examples of how you’ve engaged with parents, what worked well and the impact it had
  • Telling us about any challenges you’ve faced in engaging with parents, how you approached these and what you’ve learnt from the experience
  • Letting us know what advice or information you would find useful, including any questions we can answer for you

Please email kirstie.ebbs@nga.org.uk to share your experiences. The updated guidance will be launched at our summer conference on 9 June, which will include a workshop on parental engagement.


Data Protection Toolkit for Schools

This week, the Department for Education (DfE) released a data protection toolkit for schools. The new toolkit has been developed to support and guide schools in their efforts to prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force next month. The toolkit provides guidance to both senior leader and those governing. The guidance particularly focuses on providing assistance with developing adequate data protection policies and procedures, as well as processes for managing information and other data related activities.


Department for Transport consultation on community transport

The Department for Transport are currently consulting on changes to the use of permits for community transport operators.

The changes will amend legislation and guidance about who can operate public service vehicles without a commercial operator’s licence. Currently organisations can obtain a not-for-profit licence whereas the proposed changes will mean that they will need to obtain a commercial operator’s licence which will bring with it increased costs. As some Community Transport organisations also provide school transport for pupils with SEND, an increase in their costs may result in higher costs for the schools they currently service. Governing boards may therefore want to make their Headteacher and School Business Manager aware of the potential changes.


Asbestos Management Assurance Process

All responsible bodies of state-funded schools and academies are expected to complete an Asbestos Management Assurance Process (AMAP) by midday on 31 May 2018, to provide a written (electronic) assurance that their schools are compliant with legislation on the management of asbestos in their education estate.

Why is this important?

Asbestos tends to be more easily disturbed in schools than in other buildings through the day-to-day activities of children moving around a building; by boisterous behaviour; through inadvertent exposure caused by maintenance; by poor building design; ageing buildings; or due to the failure to recognise asbestos which is in a poor condition resulting in the release of fibres.

The inhalation of asbestos fibres can lead to the development of Mesothelioma, a fatal cancer of the stomach and lung lining. The disease can take decades to develop but the lifetime risk of developing mesothelioma for a five year old exposed to asbestos is around five times greater than the risk for a thirty year old. There is no known threshold for asbestos exposure - just one fibre could lead to the development of disease in later life.

Governing boards should ensure that their headteachers have completed the AMAP by 12:00 midday 31 May 2018.


NGA’s Consultancy & Training Service: recruiting to the team

We are looking to increase our team of consultant trainers and are looking for people able to undertake work in the near North West region shown below: 

Depending on your experience and interests, the role could include carrying out training, mentoring, external reviews of governance and other governance development work using NGA’s frameworks, programmes and courses supported by its quality assurance arrangements. It may also include helping NGA deliver its new Leading Governance programmes recently awarded to the NGA by the DfE.

Applicants should be willing to travel throughout the region they express an interest in. More details of the role and the recruitment process can be found on our recruitment page.

If you would like an informal chat about the work NGA consultant trainers are doing please contact the Head of Consultancy Clare Collins or the Head of Training Development, Paul Aber.

Please note that the application deadline is the 14th of May and that interviews will take place in Birmingham on the 31st of May.

Top of page

Secretary of State for Education to address NGA Summer Conference

NGA is pleased to announce that Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education, will deliver the keynote speech at the Summer Conference on Saturday 9 June 2018.

Angela Rayner, Shadow Secretary of State for Education, will also address delegates.

Places are now filling up fast. Governors, trustees and clerks can claim free places: one for standard and individual, with three for GOLD membership.

NGA will also be officially launching its new campaign Everyone on Board at the conference, which aims to increase diversity within governing boards.

Our Summer Conference provides a unique opportunity to hear eminent speakers, engage in informative workshops, network with delegates and share best practice. Delegates will also be able to meet our partners and exhibitors during the day.

The day will include the following series of workshops, which will focus on current issues affecting school governance:

  • Core function 1: Vision culture & strategy
  • Core function 2: Holding the lead executive to account – the latest on performance management
  • Core function 3: Financial oversight – getting best value
  • Core function 4: Engaging with stakeholders – involving parents
  • Staff recruitment and retention: Flexible employment practices
  • Board dynamics: Relationships & behaviours
  • Getting everyone on board – why diverse governing boards matter and how to find diverse volunteers
  • Staff Workload: The governing board's role
  • Safeguarding: The governing board's role
  • Spotlight on disadvantage: Making the most of pupil premium

More details on the venue and the programme are available after registration on the website. Book your place now.


Learning Link one year anniversary

NGA Learning Link is now one year old! To celebrate, we have given the platform and branding a make-over.

This has been a successful first year for the platform. There has been a 45% increase of new registrations and a 75% increase of completed modules by our users. We have also added 8 new induction modules to the suite, with more to be added over the course of the next year.

Here’s what some of our users have said about the service:

“The training modules that I have completed so far are of outstanding quality, and very useful in enhancing my knowledge… all in all, the training available has been valuable, for which I can only thank you.”

“Very comprehensive, excellent that it links to relevant resources.”

“The content was informative and the questions were challenging. It made me think more deeply about the subject”

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our users for learning with us over this past year. We are committed to making the service and the learning experience even better over the coming year and hope that you continue to enjoy using Learning Link.

If you are unsure whether your school has access to Learning Link, we would recommend that you check with your clerk or with your LA, MAT or academy to ensure that you can access this valuable resource.

If you would like to find out more about taking up a Learning Link subscription, please contact Bill.Kiely@nga.org.uk to discuss your requirements. For further information, please visit www.nga.org.uk/learninglink


Cohorts beginning soon: Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

NGA’s new Leading Governance programmes; Development for Chairs, Development for Clerks and Development for Boards are all now taking bookings.

Last chance to book:

  • Development for Clerks – Sheffield Cohort 1 (starts 30 April)
  • Development for Chairs – Windsor and Maidenhead Cohort 1 (starts 1 May)
  • Development for Chairs – Cambridgeshire Cohort 1 (starts 2 May)
  • Development for Chairs – Sheffield Cohort 1 (starts 7 May)
  • Development for Chairs – Kent Cohort 1 (starts 11 May)
  • Development for Chairs – Newham Cohort 1 (starts 12 May)

Please see below for more information about the programmes:

Development for Boards

This programme is designed for boards governing multi academy trusts or groups of schools, or boards of schools in opportunity areas where the school is judged to be requiring improvement. This is a consultant-led bespoke programme that will be tailored to your board’s circumstances to improve practice and outcomes. Funding is available up to the value of £2,000 per board.

You can book your place on Development for Boards here.  

Development for Chairs

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance. Funding for £500 is available.

You can check the dates of available cohorts and book your place here.

Development for Clerks

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking. Only £75 if you take up funding worth £350.

You can check the dates of available cohorts and book your place here.

DON’T MISS OUT!  
*Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600


Governing Matters: May/June edition

A new Governing Matters, NGA’s bi-monthly magazine, is out this week.

Cover stories include:

  • The impact of policy reforms – Do schools make a difference?

Tom Fellows, NGA’s research and information officer, analyses lessons from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

  • Measuring what we value – Looking at the whole child

Caroline Hiorns, chair of curriculum at Sheldon School, Wiltshire, explains how the whole-child report helps to achieve the school’s vision.

  • New campaign launched – Everyone on Board

Kirstie Ebbs, NGA’s public relations officer, explains the importance of recruiting governors and trustees who reflect the diversity of the school’s community. NGA and Inspiring Governance have jointly established Everyone on Board, the campaign aims to diversify governing boards.

  • Guidance centre – Supporting young carers

Tom Fellows, NGA’s research and information officer, shares good practise from an award-winning pupil referral unit.

  • Clerking Matters – Clerks get together

Michael Barton, NGA’s information officer, reports from NGA’s second successful clerks conference.

The magazine is available as a pdf for STANDARD governing board members who do not get a printed copy. Alternatively if the membership is upgraded to GOLD, all members of the board will be posted a copy to their home address. Please make sure we have your home addresses: email membership@nga.org.uk

 




From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 20/04/2018

Changes to Ofsted inspection timeframes

Ofsted has announced changes to its inspection timeframe:

  • schools previously judged ‘good’ will now receive a short inspection approximately every four years rather than every three years
  • schools judged ‘requires improvement’, ‘serious weaknesses’ or ‘special measures’ will be re-inspected within 30 months (previously the timeframes were 30, 18 and 24 months respectively) while monitoring inspections will continue as before

Ofsted has also published the 2017 results of their annual survey of parents, which showed a slight decrease in the proportion of parents agreeing that Ofsted provides a reliable measure of a school’s quality: 59% of respondents agreed this was the case compared to 66% in the previous year. 74% of parents agreed that the information Ofsted provides is reliable. Almost half (47%) of parents of school age children say that they use Ofsted reports when choosing a provider.

A separate survey of school leaders conducted by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has suggested that inspectors are sometimes asking for evidence that they should not be under Ofsted policy. 62% of respondents said that inspectors had asked them to predict the attainment of pupils and 47% had been asked to predict progress scores. Around a third (34%) said inspectors had asked to see evidence of the frequency or quantity of work in pupils’ books.

Commenting on the findings, ASCL’s General Secretary Geoff Barton said: “We support Ofsted’s work in dispelling the myths about what it expects to see, but we have to make sure that this is reflected in practice on the ground.

NGA supports an independent inspection regime and believes it is vital that inspection outcomes are as consistent as possible in order to provide parents and other stakeholders with transparent, reliable information about the performance of schools. As ASCL’s survey shows, there is currently too much variability which undermines the credibility of the system.

NGA’s guidance on Ofsted inspections has been updated to reflect the changes to inspection timeframes.


Funding the Future: Education Select Committee announces school funding inquiry

The Education Select Committee has announced an inquiry into the level of school and college funding. The scope of the inquiry includes:

  • what the Department for Education priorities for the next Spending Review period should be
  • whether the “spending review cycle is the best mechanism” for deciding expenditure on schools
  • the effectiveness of targeted funding such as the pupil premium 
  • the implementation of the national funding formula

You can read the full announcement here. Commenting on the announcement, Gillian Allcroft, deputy chief executive of the National Governance Association, said: “NGA welcomes the inquiry into education funding as a positive step in addressing funding concerns and urges governing boards to respond to the inquiry, share their experiences and build the evidence base for the need for a long-term investment in education funding”.

The deadline for evidence is 30 May 2018 and NGA will be responding in due course. If you have any comments, please email fay.holland@nga.org.uk.


Education Select Committee inquiry on SEND

The Education Select Committee has also launched an inquiry into support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Following changes to the SEND system in 2014, the committee intends to review the success of these reforms. The inquiry will examine how the reforms have been implemented and the impact they have had in meeting the challenges faced by children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The committee is therefore seeking written evidence on the following areas:

  • assessment of and support for children and young people with SEND
  • the transition from statements of special educational needs and Learning Disability Assessments to Education, Health and Care Plans
  • the level and distribution of funding for SEND provision
  • the roles of and co-operation between education, health and social care sectors
  • provision for 19-25 year olds including: support for independent living; transition to adult services; and access to education, apprenticeships and work

NGA will be submitting evidence before the 14 June deadline; if you have any comments, please email rani.kaur@nga.org.uk.


The Academies Show London, Wednesday 25 April 2018, Excel London

The NGA is once again attending the Academies Show on 25 April at ExCel in London. This free event attracts delegates from all types of schools, including maintained schools, providing a platform to address the major challenges facing the sector.

As well as hosting a dedicated hub space (stand 771) at the event, the NGA team will be taking part in sessions including:

How do you Guarantee Moral Leadership in Such a Complex System?

Hot Seat | 10:00 am - 11:00 pm

  • Emma Knights, Chief Executive, NGA
  • The Rt Hon. David Laws, Former Minister of State for Schools and Executive Chairman, Education Policy Institute
  • Lucy Heller, CEO, ARK

Unlocking talent, fulfilling potential: understanding the government’s social mobility action plan

Main Stage | 11:30 am - 12:10 pm

  • Emma Knights, Chief Executive, NGA
  • Geoff Barton, General Secretary, ASCL
  • Hannah Wilson, Executive Headteacher, Aureus School & Aureus Primary School

Governance in MATs – lessons learnt from NGA’s MAT case studies

Learning Theatre 2 | 11:40 am - 12:40 pm

  • Sam Henson, Head of Information, NGA
  • Clare Collins, Head of Consultancy, NGA

The Right People Around the Table: How to Build a Board

Recruitment and Skills Open Theatre | 14:40 am - 15:40 pm

  • Judith Hicks, Head of Inspiring Governance, NGA
  • Kirsty Watt, Head of Academy Ambassadors, Academy Ambassadors

Come and visit us at NGA’s hub space at stand 771!

Join other school leaders and register for your FREE PASS HERE. This pass includes access to all the content at the show, the exhibition, a free lunch and free parking. 

We hope you can join us at the show on Wednesday 25 April and look forward to seeing you there.


EPI report: ‘Educational disadvantage: how does England compare?’

On Thursday, the Education Policy Institute published a report which compared educational disadvantage in England against that in other ‘high income’ countries.

The gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers in maths in England is equivalent to one whole GCSE grade. This puts England in 27th position compared to 44 similar jurisdictions (meaning that its gap is higher than the average.) In reading, England do slightly better and have a gap of three-quarters of a GCSE grade which is around the average of the other countries in the report.

The report included recommendations for changes to English policy and practice in order to share the features of high performing and high equity nations:

  • Avoid segregation, selection and setting as schools which serve disproportionate numbers of disadvantaged pupils are less able to counter the effects of that disadvantage than schools with more balanced and comprehensive intakes.
  • Attract, support and retain high quality teachers. 45% of English headteachers identify teacher shortages as the biggest obstacle to improving outcomes. The “situation in disadvantaged schools is more acute - since these schools generally face greater recruitment challenges and have higher levels of turnover than other schools”.
  • Funding needs to be responsive to levels of disadvantage. England fares relatively well compared to other countries through measures such as the pupil premium, but vigilance is needed as the new national funding formula will redistribute some funding away from disadvantaged pupils.

Earlier this year NGA launched the Spotlight on Disadvantage project. As part of this, NGA collected survey data around the governance role in supporting disadvantaged pupils. To complement this data, NGA has also analysed over 30 pupil premium statements published on schools’ websites. With little research on the role of governance in helping disadvantaged pupils, this project will allow the NGA to better support schools that are looking to use their pupil premium effectively. We will be reporting further on the findings of our research in the near future.


DfE publish analysis of trends in school leadership 2010-16

A new report from the DfE, School leadership in England 2010-2016: characteristics and trends, provides a detailed analysis of the data available in the School Workforce Census, covering:

  • the size and structure of the teaching and leadership population
  • characteristics of teachers in leadership roles
  • progression to and retention in leadership roles

The report found that the largest growth proportionately since 2010 was in assistant heads, which “increased from 3.5% of teachers in primary schools and 5.6% in secondary schools in 2010, to 5.2% and 6.5% respectively in 2016”.

While there has been an increase in younger teachers taking on leadership roles, the report found that despite women making up a higher proportion of the teaching workforce, they are under-represented at leadership positions.

Governors and trustees are reminded that recruitment and performance management policies and procedures should promote equality and diversity at all times, with every member of staff being proactively supported in their career development. Governing boards should therefore be seeking assurances from their senior leaders that fair practices are used throughout the school.


Research on operational models of multi-academy trusts

Ambition School Leadership and LKMco have published research “into the leadership, vision, strategy and operations of multi-academy trusts (MATs)”. The study was conducted through surveys and interviews with MAT chief executives, central staff and academy senior leaders.

Five models of school improvement within MATs were identified, which trusts may move through as they grow:

  1. Hub model: A “high performing school or leader” drives improvement and supports others
  2. Centralised consultants: the MAT employs consultants, often ex-headteachers, to support schools
  3. In-house central expertise: dedicated school improvement staff employed by the MAT
  4. Cluster-based model: school improvement activity arranged around geographic hubs
  5. Self-improving network: expertise and peer-to-peer support shared across the trust

The study looks at how the strategy is shaped in a MAT through its vision as well as areas of compromise dictated by geography or limited resources. No clear link was found between MAT strategy and performance but higher-performing trusts tended to cite standards and outcomes in their vision while lower-performing trusts used vaguer terms to describe their vision.

The findings also suggested that higher-performing trusts operated more centralised approaches to leadership and management. The report’s authors emphasise that these findings are tentative and that “the same strategy can be executed well or poorly in different instances… it is the extent to which a strategy suits a MAT’s context, and the extent to which the strategy and capabilities of the MAT align, which will likely determine performance”.

NGA will publish its own research on the governance of MATs next Wednesday, with the first in a series of case studies based on interviews with MAT trustees and executive leaders.


NGA Guidance on changing Articles of Association published

NGA’s advice team receive a lot of queries from trustees and clerks who are interested in changing their articles of association. Our new short piece of guidance sets out the reasons why trusts change their articles and the process which needs to be followed. This practical step by step guide is available in our Guidance Centre.


School leaders’ views on academy freedom

New research has found that nearly half of academy leaders “believe that the autonomy associated with their status has either had no effect or a negative impact in the classroom”. The survey of 1,246 teachers and school leaders was conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research on behalf of the Sutton Trust. NGA’s joint survey with Tes in 2016 found that few academy trusts were using the freedoms that their status afforded them: just 16% had utilised freedom from following the National Curriculum, 20% had used the ability to set their own pay and conditions, 9% had changed the length of school terms and 18% had changed the length of school days.

The word autonomy is often used incorrectly in relation to academies, with the emphasis wrongly placed on the individual academies rather than on the academy trust itself. While single academy trusts will have a degree of autonomy in relation to the points addressed above, academies within multi-academy trusts are subject to the ultimate control of the trust board. It is the trust board, rather than an individual academy within a trust, that is the accountable body and can therefore decide which (if any) functions it delegates locally. For more on the different freedoms afforded to academies and maintained schools, please visit the NGA guidance centre.


New blog from Education Datalab explores the effect of anomalously high KS2 scores on Progress 8 scores

This week, Education Datalab has produced a blog showing the impact of “anonymously high” key stage 2 results on progress 8 outcomes.

The blog presents a real-world anonymised example of a secondary school which has eight “feeder” primary schools. In one of these “feeder” primaries, which is rated outstanding, pupils achieve high grades at key stage 2 but then underperform at key stage 4. Looking at this data in more detail, even when other factors are taken into account (such as socio-economic status or background) the pupils who came from that specific feeder primary make significantly less progress than their peers with little explanation as to why.

According to the Education Datalab, this should raise questions around the reliability of the key stage 2 results coming from that specific primary school and, potentially, whether any malpractice took place in the administration of the primary SATs. Overall, the blog concludes that “both DfE and Ofsted … [should] … consider making adjustments for pupils who attended primary schools with anomalously high KS2 results”.

This blog is of particular interest for anyone governing in a secondary schools that has a proportion of students with high KS2 outcomes but consistently poor progress 8 scores. For more information on knowing your school and exploring data visit the Guidance Centre.


Lords Select Committee report on citizenship education

The House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement has called on the Government to “rethink its commitment to citizenship”. The Committee was appointed in June 2017 with the broad remit “to consider citizenship and civic engagement”. The findings, published this week in the report The Ties that Bind, argues that the Government’s promotion of Fundamental British Values through its counter-extremism policy Prevent is too narrow.

The committee recommends that the Government amends its guidance to schools to make it clear that the key objective of promoting what it terms “Shared Values of British Citizenship” is to encourage positive, active citizenship and democratic participation, arguing that “these values need to be promoted in their own right rather than simply as an adjunct of counter-extremism policy”.

The committee judged the current state of citizenship education as “poor”, citing the views of the Citizenship Foundation which says citizenship education is “withering on the vine”, suggesting that the subject is being pushed aside when it “is needed more than ever”.

Citizenship education was formally introduced into the national curriculum in England in 2002 but the quality of provision is highly variable, despite evidence of clear positive outcomes on democratic engagement and civic life.

The report underlines the importance of extra-curricular activities such as school councils, mock elections and debating clubs that help pupils exercise agency and acquire politically-relevant skills, which have been found to have a positive, lasting effect on political engagement.

NGA reminds members that the governing board has a key role in ensuring that the school’s curriculum offer is broad and balanced to enable young people to fully participate in life after school.


New cohorts available: Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

NGA’s new Leading Governance programmes; Development for Chairs, Development for Clerks and Development for Boards are all now taking bookings.

Last chance to book:

  • Development for Clerks – Sheffield Cohort 1 (starts 30 April)
  • Development for Chairs – Windsor and Maidenhead Cohort 1 (starts 1 May)
  • Development for Chairs – Cambridgeshire Cohort 1 (starts 2 May)
  • Development for Chairs – Sheffield Cohort 1 (starts 7 May)

New cohorts:

  • Development for Chairs – Stoke Cohort 1 (starting June 2018)
  • Development for Chairs – Blackpool Cohort 1 (starting June 2018)
  • Development for Chairs – Kent Cohort 2 (starting September 2018)
  • Development for Chairs – Knowsley Cohort 1 (starting September 2018)

 

  • Development for Clerks – Stoke Cohort 1 (starting July 2018)
  • Development for Clerks – Knowsley Cohort 1 (starting July 2018)


Please see below for more information about the programmes:

Development for Boards

This programme is designed for boards governing multi academy trusts or groups of schools, or boards of schools in opportunity areas where the school is judged to be requiring improvement. This is a consultant-led bespoke programme that will be tailored to your board’s circumstances to improve practice and outcomes. Funding is available up to the value of £2,000 per board.

You can book your place on Development for Boards here.  

Development for Chairs

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance. Funding of £500 is available.

You can check the dates of available cohorts and book your place here.

Development for Clerks

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking. Only £75 if you take up funding worth £350.

You can check the dates of available cohorts and book your place here.

DON’T MISS OUT!  
*Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600


Community MATs network for trustees and clerks

Join us at one of our upcoming Community MATs network meetings! These events provide an invaluable opportunity for MAT trustees and clerks to share experiences and discuss the challenges and opportunities they have encountered.

  • London, Wednesday 16 May, 12.00-16.00 - click here to book 

Topics of discussion will include findings from NGA’s MAT case studies, external reviews of MAT governance and the role of members, with attendees getting an exclusive first look at NGA’s new guidance.

  • Manchester, Friday 8 June, 12.00-16.00 - click here to book 

Topics of discussion will include findings from NGA’s MAT case studies, external reviews of MAT governance, trustee recruitment and succession planning.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided at both meetings.

As well as learning from peers in other MATs, attendees will have the chance to feed into NGA’s policy and representation work.

If you have any questions about arrangements for the events, please contact events@nga.org.uk. If you have questions about the Community MATs network in general, please contact fay.holland@nga.org.uk.



From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 13/04/2018

ESFA chief asks trusts to justify paying two or more salaries of between £100k and £150k

The chief executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency, Eileen Milner, has written to the chairs of all academy trusts in England that pay two or more salaries between £100k and £150k, asking them to justify these salaries with a clear rationale. The letter stresses that in paying multiple salaries at that level, they are stepping outside of the approach taken by the majority of trusts.

Chairs of trustee boards were reminded of their responsibility for ensuring that these salaries represent value for money, and that the salaries are “proportionate, reasonable and justifiable”.

The further information requested from trusts in order to justify these salaries includes an overview of the roles in question, length of contract and information within the trusts' pay policy which shows a clear commitment to transparency and value for money.

The letter also reinforces the requirement set out in the Academies Financial Handbook that “the board of trustees must ensure that their decisions about levels of executive pay follow a robust evidence-based process and are reflective of the individual’s role and responsibilities”.

NGA has been highlighting the need for governing boards to look carefully at lead executive pay for several years: click here to read a blog by deputy chief executive Gillian Allcroft.


Teaching unions’ conferences highlight workload and other issues

Over Easter, three conferences were held by various teaching unions; NASUWT and each of the sections of the National Education Union (NEU).

The NEU formed last September as an amalgamation of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL). This spring marks the last time that the two predecessor unions will hold separate conferences.

A wide range of issues were raised at the events, reflecting the wide variety of concerns among teachers across the country. However, a number of the points raised will be of interest to those governing:

  • workload: this was a major area of concern at each of the conferences, with 81% of respondents for an NEU survey saying that they have considered leaving the teaching profession in the past year due to workload pressures and 65% saying the same to a similar question in a NASUWT survey
  • curriculum and assessment: concerns about narrowing of the curriculum due to the requirements of accountability measures, including reduced access to creative arts subjects
  • rural schools: delegates at the NUT section conference expressed concern that rural schools are “under threat” from funding cuts
  • academy chief executive pay: delegates at the ATL section conference discussed lack of transparency around the roles, appointment and pay of the lead executives in some academy trusts and called on the government to produce guidance for chief executive salaries (something NGA has been calling for several years and which we will be producing ourselves shortly)

More information on proceedings at the conferences is available on the respective websites of NASUWT, the NUT section and the ATL section.

While governing boards do not have the power to make change on all of these issues, engaging with staff and understanding their concerns is a vital part of good governance. Particularly on workload, those governing should work with headteachers or chief executives to identify and address drivers of unnecessary workload: click here to read a recent Governing Matters article on the topic.


Update on forthcoming Reception Baseline Assessment

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that the new Reception Baseline Assessment, designed to allow for a progress measure from the start to the end of primary school, will be designed and delivered by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).

The new baseline assessment, which will be implemented in all primary schools by the end of 2020, is described as “a twenty minute, teacher-recorded assessment of children’s communication, language, literacy and early mathematics skills”. There will be no requirement to prepare for the test and in time it will replace the statutory tests that pupils currently sit at the end of key stage 1.

The new progress measures will not apply to first, infant, middle or junior schools, all of which will be responsible for evidencing progress based on their own assessment information. More details about these arrangements are available here.

This change was one of those proposed in the DfE’s primary assessment consultation last year; NGA supported the introduction of a baseline assessment to measure progress across the whole time a child is in primary school (you can read NGA’s response in full here). However, it is important that those governing remember that the test is designed for this purpose and only gives a snapshot of children’s abilities at a certain point; the governing board will be able to draw on a wider range of information about the progress made by pupils throughout their time at school.


Praise for governors and trustees from the National Association of Headteachers

This week, a senior director at the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), James Bowen, has written in the TES about the important role played by governors and trustees in schools.

Mr Bowen lamented the fact that “few ministerial speeches or announcements make reference to the important role governors are playing” and stated that, with the personal sacrifices, lack of recognition and absence of material reward, “it is easy to understand why schools don’t always find it particularly easy to fill their governing vacancies”.

However, Mr Bowen outlined that many governors and trustees went into governance because they cared and wanted to give something back to the local community. In terms of their contribution to the system, Mr Bowen focused on the role governing boards play in retaining links with the local community. He particularly emphasised the importance of local academy committees in MATs, especially when “the ultimate decision-makers can appear somewhat removed from the schools they oversee”.

Finally, Mr Bowen emphasised the importance of doing more to support those governing, including “improved access to high-quality training, especially for new governors” as well as “a greater emphasis on mentoring and support”.

Governors and trustees are reminded that the NGA provide training and consultancy services for governing boards as well as online training through our Learning Link platform. In addition, schools looking to recruit governors or trustees can sign up to Inspiring Governance to search for volunteers in their local area.


New analysis reveals England’s need for 47,000 extra secondary teachers

Calculations carried out by TES has shown that England needs 47,000 more secondary school teachers by 2024 if it is to meet the challenge of rising pupil numbers and stay in line with average pupil-teacher ratios.

TES noted that the fact that a rise in the overall number of teachers has masked a significant impending shortage at secondary level.

In primary schools, the number of teachers has risen considerably from a low of 196,400 in 2010 to 222,300 in 2016, with this increase in numbers being in line with an increase in primary pupil numbers over this period.

The picture in secondary schools is very different, with the number of teachers falling from 222,400 in 2009 to 208,100 in 2016. However, despite a recruitment crisis already being felt, its effect has been softened by a decline in secondary pupil numbers, falling from 3.3 million in 2005 to 3.1 million in 2014. But now, the demographic tables are turning, as the bulge in primary numbers moves on, the number of secondary pupils is expected to climb steeply to 3.8 million by 2024.

To stay in line with the average secondary pupil-teacher ratio, TES has calculated that an additional 47,000 secondary teachers will be needed by 2024; this represents a 22.5% increase on the number of secondary teachers already in the system.

The number of applications to train as a secondary teacher has fallen 16% year on year, which is set to result in a smaller pool of potential new teachers from which to draw. There are significant challenges in meeting targets for teacher enrolment in some key subjects, such as modern foreign languages and maths, and the 47,000 calculation does not take into account of teachers already in the system leaving and needing to be replaced. Teacher recruitment was one of the top issues members wished NGA to lobby government on in our annual membership survey.


IFS Analysis of Free School Meals under Universal Credit

Last week, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) published a briefing note which analysed the government’s changes to free school meal eligibility in the wake of universal credit’s rollout.

The briefing note agreed with the government’s estimate that around 50,000 more children would be eligible under the new system compared to the one it replaced. This equates to around 1.3 million children by 2022. However, the IFS analysis revealed that the changes will produce winners and losers, with 160,000 of those children eligible under the old system being ineligible under the new one, while 210,000 children gain entitlement. The IFS’s analysis showed that ‘winners’ would disproportionately come from families working morehours, while ‘losers’ were disproportionately from non-working households.

The analysis also recognised that the eligibility system creates a ‘cliff-edge’ which would lead to families earning just below £7,400 being worse off if their annual earnings increased to just over £7,400. However, the briefing note did recognise that avoiding such a cliff-edge was not ‘straightforward’ with a benefit of this kind.

The briefing note’s conclusion recognised the importance of the government’s policy regarding changes to the threshold after 2021-22, which is currently undecided. An increase with inflation would help to protect or even increase entitlements, whereas no uprating would likely lead to a fall in free school meal entitlements.


DfE to continue funding to support talented music, drama and dance pupils

This week, minster for school standards Nick Gibb announced £96 million to continue funds to support talented music, drama and dance pupils to kick-start their career in the arts.

£87 million of combined funding will go to the Music and Dance Scheme (MDS) and the Dance and Drama Awards (DaDa). Funding for these programmes was due to run out in 2018 but will now be extended until 2020 and maintained close to current funding levels. These funds support talented pupils to attend prestigious arts institutions, such as the Royal Ballet School in London and Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester.

£8 million has been announced to continue funding for ‘cultural education programmes’ such as film making with British Film Institute and visits to historical sites with Historic England. £1 million will maintain funding for In Harmony orchestral programmes which provide music education for disadvantaged pupils across seven areas. The funding is expected to come from within the existing Department for Education budget. You can read the announcement in full here.

NGA welcomes the continuation of government funding for arts programmes but is concerned that changes to performance measures are forcing schools to enter students for a narrower selection of GCSEs. NGA will continue to campaign for a broad and balanced curriculum in schools at a national level and we encourage those governing to do so in their individual organisations.


Share your experiences of engaging with parents as a governing board

Engaging with stakeholders – including parents – is a vital part of governance, so much so that we are asking the DfE to include a new fourth core function in the next edition of the Governance Handbook. Our proposed wording for this is “ensuring decisions take in to account the views and experiences of stakeholders (pupils, parents, staff and the community)”, as NGA thinks this is an important part of governance which is in danger of being overlooked. Governing boards have a responsibility to engage with and respond to their local community.

In partnership with Parentkind, we are updating our guidance for governing boards on parental engagement and we would really value your input. You can get involved by:

  • sharing examples of how you’ve engaged with parents, what worked well and the impact it had
  • telling us about any challenges you’ve faced in engaging with parents, how you approached these and what you’ve learnt from the experience
  • letting us know what advice or information you would find useful, including any questions we can answer for you

Please email kirstie.ebbs@nga.org.uk to share your experiences. The updated guidance will be launched at our summer conference on 9 June, which will include a workshop on engagement.


Schools will no longer be required to report pupil nationality data – probably!

Schools Week has reported that the Department for Education (DfE) is expected to announce plans to remove a controversial requirement placed on schools to collect data on their pupils’ nationality and country of birth.

The requirement, which was introduced in September 2016, means that schools are currently obligated to ask parents and pupils for this information as part of their termly census. The impending revision has been welcomed by privacy campaigners, who were concerned that the information would be used to carry out checks on the immigration status of pupils.

The DfE has not yet officially confirmed the report. NGA will keep members informed of announcements.


Are you a trustee or clerk of a multi-academy trust?

Join us at one of our upcoming Community Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) network meetings! These events provide an invaluable opportunity for MAT trustees and clerks to share experiences and discuss the challenges and opportunities they have encountered.

  • London, Wednesday 16 May, 12.00-16.00 - click here to book 

Topics of discussion will include findings from NGA’s MAT case studies, external reviews of MAT governance and the role of members, with attendees getting an exclusive first look at NGA’s new guidance.

  • Manchester, Friday 8 June, 12.00-16.00 - click here to book 

Topics of discussion will include findings from NGA’s MAT case studies, external reviews of MAT governance, trustee recruitment and succession planning.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided at both meetings.

As well as learning from peers in other MATs, attendees will have the chance to feed into NGA’s policy and representation work, including an upcoming roundtable on MAT governance with key figures from the Department of Education and beyond.

If you have any questions about arrangements for the events, please contact events@nga.org.uk. If you have questions about the Community MATs network in general, please contact fay.holland@nga.org.uk.


NGA Clerks’ Advisory Group

NGA is pleased to announce that bookings are now open for our next two Clerks’ Advisory Group meetings which will be held in Sheffield and London.

The meetings are an opportunity for clerks to share best practice and raise issues they are encountering within their role with other clerks and NGA.

Topics of discussion will include GDPR in relation to clerks and a table discussion on clerking exclusion panels which will also cover common issues that arise in panels generally.

The meetings will start at 12:30 with a buffet lunch at 12:00 and should finish no later than 15:00.

  • Sheffield, 17 May 2018 - click here to book
  • London,  23 May 2018 - click here to book

If anyone has any topics they would like to be discussed, please email clerkingmatters@nga.org.uk


NGA Summer Conference

NGA’s Summer Conference on Saturday 9 June 2018 is filling up fast. Governors, trustees and clerks can claim free places: one for standard and individual, with three for GOLD membership.

Our Summer Conference provides a unique opportunity to hear eminent speakers, engage in informative workshops, network with delegates and share best practice. Delegates will also be able to meet our partners and exhibitors during the day.

Angela Rayner MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education, has agreed to attend and give a presentation. The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education has been invited to deliver the Keynote address.

The day will include workshops, which will focus on current issues affecting school governance.

NGA will also be officially launching its new campaign ‘Everyone on Board’ at the conference, which aims to increase diversity within governing boards.

More details on the venue and the workshops are available through registration on the website. Book your place now.


New cohorts available: Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

NGA’s new Leading Governance programmes - Development for Chairs, Development for Clerks and Development for Boards - are all now taking bookings.

Last chance to book:

  • Development for Chairs – Cambridgeshire Cohort 1 (starts 18 April)
  • Development for Clerks – Suffolk Cohort 1 (starts 23 April)
  • Development for Chairs – Suffolk Cohort 1 (starts 27 April)

New cohorts:

  • Development for Chairs – Kent Cohort 1 (starting May 2018)
  • Development for Clerks – Lancashire Cohort 1 (starting June 2018)

Please see below for more information about the programmes:

This programme is designed for boards governing multi academy trusts or groups of schools, or boards of schools in opportunity areas where the school is judged to be requiring improvement. This is a consultant-led bespoke programme that will be tailored to your board’s circumstances to improve practice and outcomes. Funding is available up to the value of £2,000 per board.

You can book your place on Development for Boards here.  

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance. Funding for £500 is available.

You can check the dates of available cohorts and book your place here.

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking. Only £75 if you take up funding worth £350.

You can check the dates of available cohorts and book your place here.

DON’T MISS OUT!  
*Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600



From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 23/03/2018

NEW RELEASE: Welcome to Governance 10th edition

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Welcome to Governance contains key information new governors, trustees and academy committee members need to know about their roles and covers both LA maintained schools and academies.The new 2018-2019 edition of our best-selling guide Welcome to Governance - a guide for new governors and trustees of single schools, is now available to purchase

This new edition of Welcome to Governance has been updated to include the most recent changes impacting the work of governing boards including:

  • Education overview – we bring you the latest developments from across the education sector 
  • Role and composition of the governing board – updates on governing board best practice and changes to legislation and central guidance  
  • Data – In July 2017, the Department for Education (DfE) replaced its longstanding data service, RAISEonline, with Analyse School Performance (ASP). This edition gives those governing key information on the new service
  • Assessment and curriculum – the most recent changes in both primary and secondary curriculum, assessment and statutory testing
  • Coasting schools – an updated overview of what it means to be coasting
  • School finance – a detailed and refreshed overview of school funding including the types and levels of funding and school financial management   
  • Data protection – this edition covers the role of governing boards in relation to the new General Data Protection Regulation
  • Ofsted – A refreshed section on Ofsted incorporating changes to short inspections for good schools
  • Pupils and parents – following changes to the government’s exclusion guidance
  • An updated model governor role description
  • An updated Glossary    
  • Plus much more!

50% discount for members! Only £6 per copy.

GOLD governing boards receive complimentary copies of Welcome to Governance for all new governors.


New NGA research exploring headteacher appraisal

This week, the National Governance Association (NGA) has launched a report exploring headteacher performance management practice in England. This report draws upon research conducted between June and September 2017 consisting of a survey of 1,164 chairs of governing boards of state-schools in England and interviews with 10 individuals (headteachers, chairs of governors and external advisors) involved in the appraisal process.

The findings and recommendations from this research provide insights into how school governors and trustees can improve their practice.

To access the report, and for a summary of the main findings and recommendations, please click here. If you have any feedback, please email report author, Tom Fellows, at tom.fellows@nga.org.uk.  

NGA Consultancy and Training Service offers a focussed two hour development session for those who need a clear understanding of expectations for effective appraisal and performance management and the confidence to carry out this out effectively.

 If your board does need support, and you would like to find out more about how we can help, then please contact our head of training development, Paul Aber on paul.aber@nga.org.uk.


GDPR appointment of DPO - key questions answered!

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on 25 May 2018, replacing the current Data Protection Act 1998. Under the GDPR, public authorities, including all state schools, must appoint a designated data protection officer (DPO). The Department for Education (DfE) has released a 6 minute video emphasising the main points schools need to consider when appointing a data protection officer. You can access the video here; essential information regarding the appointment of the DPO can be found 4 minutes and 17 seconds in, but here we summarise the key points raised:

  • The DPO needs to be “highly knowledgeable about data protection and GDPR”, understanding the schools operations and policies.
  • Their job includes promoting a “strong culture about protection of data and they need to be aware of compliance, obligations, promote the training, and processing and conducting of internal audits”.
  • In order to do this the DPO must be able to “report directly to the board and conduct data protection impact assessments”.
  • The DPO should be separate to those responsible for data processing decisions or the technology which protects it; the head of IT or the headteacher “probably has a slight conflict of interests”.

So who can you appoint?

The video lists a number of helpful solutions your board may want to consider if you haven’t already confirmed your DPO appointment:

  1. You could realign responsibilities within your current team, appointing someone “sufficiently removed from those making technology or processing decisions”.
  2. You could collaborate – share the DPO function between a group of schools.
  3. You could share expertise by having someone from your schools as the DPO for another school, with someone from that school appointed as your DPO.
  4. Contract – you can buy in a DPO.
  5. Finally the video suggests that while it is possible to seek volunteers from “experts that may exist in wider school community”. They will have the same statutory responsibilities as a paid DPO, meaning a big commitment in a volunteering context. It should also be noted that the DfE refer to volunteer in a generic sense, not governors specifically.          

NGA is concerned that in some cases the DPO role is being seen as something which can be tacked onto an existing governing or clerking role, without proper consideration for what this distinct role entails.  

The role of the governing board is strategic, whereas the role of the DPO is very much operational; even if a member of the board possessed the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise required, this would need to be seen as being an entirely separate role, conducted not as a governor but on a pro bono basis.

In respect to the position of the clerk, again it is important that the role is seen as one that is distinct to the role of clerk; anyone appointed as DPO must ensure that they fulfil the role requirements detailed above.


Funding the future: update

Last week, NGA reported on the Education Policy Institute’s research into School Funding Pressures in England which assessed the financial sustainability of local authority maintained schools. This week, the Academies Benchmarking Report 2018 was published by the Kreston UK Charities and Education Group, a network of independent accounting and business advisory firms. The report analyses the findings of a survey of over 600 academies in England and reveals “worrying trends” in the financial health of the academy sector. The key findings include:

  • “A staggering 55% of trusts show an in-year deficit before depreciation for year ended 31 August 2017”, doubling from 21% the year before to 42%.”
  • “Trusts within our survey … have a combined net deficit for the year of over £100m, however their combined reserves only total £240m. Therefore it would only take two more years like the one that they have just had to leave the entire sector on the verge of insolvency.”
  • “Staff costs have remained steady at 72% of total costs, but there is increasing cost pressure due to the shortage of teachers and increasing pensions and benefits.”
  • The extra £1.3bn announced by the government in July 2017 to ensure that there would be “a per pupil cash increase in respect of every school and every local area” will simply maintain funding per pupil in real-terms.
  • “Trusts need to continue to plan for, at best, flat funding levels, but more likely a reduction in real terms.”

The report finds that school leaders have already taken many difficult decisions in order to balance their budgets, but these steps have not reversed the trend of financial decline across the sector. The report concludes that: “our clients are telling us that there is no evidence that the [funding] situation has improved. Therefore it is hard to draw any other conclusion than the sector will run out of money fairly quickly and will need further support from the Government." You can read the full findings of the report, including benchmarking information here.

NGA continues its Funding the Future campaign to call for an increase to per pupil funding (in real-terms) to keep up with increasing cost pressures on schools. As part of the campaign, NGA is collecting testimonies about school funding for the purpose of lobbying – get in touch with shelby.roberts@nga.org.uk if you have a story to share. Members who would like to coordinate or support a local campaign can access a free resource pack, produced by the Schools Cuts Coalition, here

If you think that your board is in need of a refresher in terms of the financial oversight expectations placed on trust boards and how to fulfil these, then you may want to find out more about our “Financial oversight for academy trusts” workshop.

If your board does need support and you would like to find out more about how we can help then please contact our head of training development, Paul Aber on paul.aber@nga.org.uk.


Schools release information on their gender pay-gap

All UK organisations with over 250 employees are required to publish details of their gender pay gap online by 4 April. With the deadline looming, the BBC has focused on the 181 gender pay gap reports released by schools and multi-academy trusts (MATs) so far.

Overall, data analysis conducted by the BBC shows that only 11 of these schools pay women a better median hourly rate than men. The BBC report focuses on one MAT with a pay gap of 59.8%, with men paid nearly 60% more than women.

This data, according to the BBC, “provides an insight into how many women get into senior, well paid positions”. According to data from the National Education Union, one reason why the gender pay gap is so high in some schools and MATs is that, despite “36% of teachers [being] men … 62% of headteachers are men”.

Governing boards must ensure that no group is being treated more, or less generously than others. It is essential that governing boards ensure equality in decision making. If not done so already, those governing in organisations with over 250 staff should publish the details of their gender pay gap online. Details of how to report this information can be found here.


Damian Hinds faces MPs’ questions

Speaking to the Education Select Committee on 21 March 2018, the secretary of state for education, Damian Hinds, acknowledged the significant cost pressures that schools are experiencing but suggested there would be no additional funding ahead of the comprehensive spending review in 2019.

Hinds said that school leaders were in the best position to decide how pupil premium funding should be spent to improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. Fellow Conservative MP Michelle Donelan suggested that a full scale review of the funding would be timely in order to maximise its impact and consider auto-enrolment of eligible pupils; while Hinds said such issues should continually be considered, he did not commit to a full review.

Asked whether he plans to give Ofsted the power to formally inspect multi-academy trusts, Hinds declined to address the question directly and spoke about the different responsibilities of the inspectorate and regional schools commissioners (RSCs).

Hinds also acknowledged that teacher workload is a significant problem in schools and reiterated his commitment to continue the DfE’s work on this topic, as well as to tackle misunderstandings about what Ofsted expect to see during inspections.

Other topics covered in the session include admissions of looked after children, the recently announced review of exclusions, whether there is sufficient children’s services funding for early intervention, the DfE’s apprenticeships policies and funding for further education.

Similar topics were covered in the House of Commons Education Questions on Monday. In this session Nick Gibb, minister of state for the school system, told MPs that the DfE is not struggling to find sponsors for schools across the country as a whole and that, in his view, the system is working.


DfE announce investment in breakfast clubs

The Department for Education has announced that it will spend up to £26million on running breakfast clubs in disadvantaged areas, including the DfE’s opportunity areas. Over 1,770 schools are expected to benefit, with the funds being provided by the government’s soft drinks industry levy.

Family Action and Magic Breakfast are the two charities which will be running the clubs. The DfE have said that they will be running before the end of spring 2018.

Governing boards have a duty to ensure that their school is using pupil premium funding effectively to raise the educational attainment of certain disadvantaged pupils; breakfast clubs are one potential use of pupil premium funds that governing boards should consider if they haven’t already done so.     


Separation, separation, separation – MAT governance

This week, Education Uncovered (subscription service) released an exclusive story emphasising the need for separation of layers within multi-academy trust governance structures. This separation is needed in order to ensure robust and transparent decision making with clear lines of accountability. The piece focuses on a number of high profile MAT executives that sit on multiple academy committees within their own trusts. It leads with the revelation that Sir Dan Moynihan, chief executive of Harris Federation “sits on 35 of it’s school’s local governing bodies”, raising important questions about “the level of involvement communities can have in the oversight of academies, and the notion of checks and balances with academy chains”.

NGA has for a long time advocated the need for separation across different tiers of governance within MATs. The intertwining of these distinct layers through a lack of separation can potentially create unhealthy cultures and dangerous conflicts of interest. While the Department for Education has conceded that there should be a “significant degree of distinction” between the members and the trustees in a MAT, less has been said about a lack of separation with local level academy committees.

Emma Knights, chief executive of the NGA raises one of the key issues this situation can present as she is quoted in the piece saying “the whole point of what you are doing as a board of trustees or a local academy committee is to be providing both support and challenge to the executives. You cannot do that if there are a lot of executives on that body: it is a huge conflict of interest.” 

For more on MAT governance structures, see the Academies, MATs and free schools section of the NGA Guidance Centre.     


NFER conducts study comparing the teaching profession to nurses and police officers

A study carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has looked at how working hours and earnings in the teaching profession compare to nursing and policing.

The study compared the characteristics of each profession’s workforce, the earnings, job satisfaction and hours worked.

The key findings were:

  • “Teachers work as many hours as police officers each year, but in fewer weeks. Teachers work the longest hours at 50 hours per week during term time, followed by police officers (44) and nurses (39). Even after taking account of school holidays, full-time teachers still work the equivalent of 45 hours per week.
  • Teachers’ average hourly pay has decreased most since 2009-10. Each profession has seen a reduction in real-terms earnings between 2009-10 and 2015-16. However, teachers’ average hourly pay (in real terms, after adjusting for inflation) has decreased by 15 per cent since 2009/10. Over the same period, average hourly pay has fallen by 4 and 11 per cent for nurses and police officers.
  • Teachers are satisfied with their jobs and income, but not with their leisure time. Nearly four in five teachers say they are satisfied with their jobs and income levels, which is mostly higher than the other professions. However, only 47 per cent of teachers say they are satisfied with their leisure time, the lowest of the three professions.”

Commenting on the study’s findings, NFER chief executive, Carole Willis, said that the NFER “recommend that further work to reduce the working hours of teachers should be a priority for school leaders and the Government". 

Governors are reminded that the work life balance of all staff should be monitored to ensure that staff are not working excessive hours.


Under-representation of ethnic minorities in teaching and diversity in school governance explored in BAMEed network article

Writing for The Guardian, deputy headteacher and co-founder of the BAMEed network Allana Gay highlights the continuing disproportionate under-representation of ethnic minorities in the teaching profession and in school leadership. Citing research from 1985, which presented evidence on the under-representation and recommended “if schools are to reflect a multi-ethnic society then the … staff should be consciously multicultural too”, Allana Gay discusses the lack of progress in addressing this issue.

Charting her own journey in to senior leadership, and the creation of the BAMEed network, Ms Gay reveals that “[teaching is] a profession where white British teachers (86.7% of the sector) become 92.6% of headteachers” and that “only 16% of new teachers are from a BAME background”.

Ms Gay highlights school governance as an area in which diversity can be improved, describing governance as the “ideal place to begin challenging negative stereotypes and restrictive career paths for the BAME community” and notes the support from NGA in approaching this issue. NGA’s Everyone on Board campaign, which launches this summer, will seek to address the lack of diversity at a governance level; our annual school governance survey 2017 found that just 4% respondents came from non-white backgrounds. Anyone interested in the campaign should contact kirstie.ebbs@nga.org.uk.

Summing up her article, Ms Gay says: “When our students look back on their education, how wonderful it would be if they could say it was a true reflection of society; if regulators and governors of many backgrounds oversaw senior leaders whose understanding of cultural difference was reflected in the decisions made about school policy, staffing, curricula and provision. There is a lot of work to be done, but luckily the will to change is there.”


Co-option to the NGA’s Board of Trustees – Improving our diversity

Governing NGA as a trustee is engaging, challenging, and enjoyable. We have seen a sustained period of rapid growth in an arena of constant and seemingly endless change: our board comprises a talented mix of experienced school governors/trustees who bring to the table a wide range of valued business, education and charitable sector skills and knowledge.

But in common with many governing boards in schools and across the wider charity sector, NGA’s Board currently lacks diversity. NGA recognises that a more diverse range of trustees can help to: ensure a charity is fair and open in all its dealing, increase public confidence and accountability and can help strengthen decision-making by boards considering issues from more perspectives.

Consequently, to increase the diversity of our trustee board, NGA is particularly seeking candidates from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

The role description, code of conduct, declaration of interests and eligibility to be a trustee can be found on the Trustee appointment and election section of the website here

If you have any questions in the first instance please get in touch with gillian.allcroft@nga.org.uk.


Are you a MAT trustee or clerk?

Save the date for the next Community MATs network meetings. These will take place in

  • London on Wednesday 16 May 2018
  • Manchester on Friday 8 June 2018

Registration on the website opens early next week.

The Community MATs network is an opportunity for trustees and clerks of multi-academy trusts (MATs) to come together, discuss their experiences and share best practice.

Following a successful event in the autumn of 2017, the upcoming event in London will touch on vital topics including:

  • NGA Research: case studies of MAT governance
  • the role of members in a MAT
  • key themes from external reviews of MAT governance

Previous meetings have provoked lively discussion and the day will be structured informally with opportunities for everyone to speak.

If you have any questions about the event or network, please get in touch with Fay Holland at fay.holland@nga.org.uk


NGA Annual Summer Conference

The Summer Conference on Saturday 9 June 2018 is open for registration. It is proving to be very popular and governors, trustees and clerks can claim free places, 1 for standard and individual, with three for Gold membership.

The annual summer conference provides a unique opportunity to hear eminent speakers, engage in informative workshops, network with delegates and share best practice. Delegates will also be able to meet our partners and exhibitors during the day.

The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education has been invited to present the Keynote address.

The workshops will focus on current issues affecting school governance at local and national levels to include topics such as:

  • Vision, culture and strategy
  • Performance management
  • Financial oversight
  • Engaging with stakeholders
  • Staff recruitment & retention
  • Board dynamics and relationships
  • Diversity and right people round the table
  • Staff workload
  • Safeguarding
  • Disadvantage and pupil premium

More details on the venue and the workshops are available through registration on the website. Book your place at the most important event in the NGA annual calendar.


Clerks’ Advisory Group Meetings

Save the date for the Clerks’ Advisory Group Meetings. These will take place in:

  • Sheffield on Thursday 17 May 2018
  • London on Wednesday 23 May 2018

These meetings give clerks an opportunity to share good practice and highlight issues they have encountered in their role as clerk. The meeting will also help to inform the work of NGA going forwards in relation to our Clerking Matters campaign

Registration opens on the website early next week.

Top of page

First cohorts begin: Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

This week we saw the first cohorts of Development for Clerks begin in Durham and Lincolnshire; with a number of other cohorts of Development for Chairs and Development for Clerks due to start over the next few weeks.

Bookings for future cohorts of all programmes are open on our website so check availability in your area now to ensure you don’t miss out! More cohorts are being added to the website regularly; to receive updates about new cohorts in your area please register your interest.

Development for Boards

This programme is designed for boards governing multi academy trusts or groups of schools, or boards of schools in opportunity areas where the school is judged to be requiring improvement. This is a consultant-led bespoke programme that will be tailored to your board’s circumstances to improve practice and outcomes. Funding is available up to the value of £2,000 per board.

You can book your place on Development for Boards here.  

Development for Chairs

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance. Funding for £500 is available.

If there is a cohort in your area you can check the dates and book your place here.

If there is not yet a cohort in your area you can register your interest and we will get in touch when one becomes available.

Development for Clerks

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking. Only £75 if you take up funding worth £350.

If there is a cohort in your area you can check the dates and book your place here.

If there is not yet a cohort in your area you can register your interest and we will get in touch when one becomes available.

DON’T MISS OUT!  
*Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 16/03/2018

NGA Annual Summer Conference open for registration

NGA is pleased to announce that the Summer Conference will take place in Manchester on Saturday 9 June 2018 and is now open for registration. The annual summer conference provides an opportunity to hear eminent speakers, engage in informative workshops, network with other delegates and share best practice.

The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education has been invited to present the keynote address.

We will also be holding a series of workshops focusing on current issues affecting school governance at local and national levels. Delegates will be able to meet our partners and exhibitors during the day.

The full programme of speakers will be confirmed soon.

More details on the venue and the workshops are available through registration on the website. Book your place at the most important event in the NGA annual calendar.

If more than two members of an organisation would like to attend, we will try to accommodate wherever possible. Please email: events@nga.org.uk


NGA Yorkshire & Humber Spring Regional Conference 2018

Last chance to book your place at NGA’s Spring Regional Conference for Yorkshire & Humber in Bradford on Saturday 24 March 2018.

The keynote speaker is Duncan Jacques, Member of the Headteachers Board for Lancashire and West Yorkshire and CEO of Exceed Academies Trust, who will be presenting on school improvement, accountability, and oversight.

More details on the venue and the programme are available upon registration through the website on the NGA Events Page.

If more than two members of an organisation would like to attend, we will try to accommodate wherever possible. Please email: events@nga.org.uk


Damian Hinds speech to the ASCL conference

Last week, the secretary of state for education Damian Hinds MP delivered a speech to school leaders at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) conference in Birmingham. Mr Hinds announced his commitment to develop an overall strategy to tackle teacher recruitment and retention, acknowledging that “employment and retention are difficult for schools – and it is not getting easier”.

The strategy will focus on teacher workload, professional development, career progression and flexible working. On reducing workload, a key aim will be to “strip away the workload that doesn’t add value and give teachers the time and the space to focus on what actually matters”. Citing the pace of policy change, Mr Hinds accepted the government’s role in increasing workload and announced that leaders can expect “no new additional statutory tests or assessment for primary schools, no further changes to the national curriculum and no more reform of GCSEs and A levels”.

Mr Hinds will also look at the accountability system, how it can drive unnecessary workload and will work to clarify the roles of the different actors in the system. The top concern of NGA members as shown through the 2017 annual NGA/Tes Survey, school funding, was touched on in the question and answer session following the speech. Mr Hinds said that “funding is tight, I don’t deny that at all, and I know there have been particular cost pressures as well over the last couple of years”. One of these cost pressures, he said, was the result of staff turnover which he hopes to address in his newly announced recruitment and retention strategy. You can read the full speech here.

NGA welcomes the secretary of state’s commitment to work with the sector to tackle teacher recruitment and retention and to increase transparency in the accountability system.


Chief inspector on Ofsted’s expectations of schools

Speaking to the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) conference on Saturday 10 March, Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman covered a wide range of issues relating to inspection and Ofsted’s role in tackling unnecessary teacher workload. 

Since taking up the post early last year, the Chief Inspector has placed increased emphasis on the substance of what is taught in schools. In her speech, she acknowledged that Ofsted has not put enough emphasis on curriculum in the past and argued that “success in [accountability] measures should flow from a rich curriculum, rather than tests of all kinds and performance tables dictating the curriculum itself”.

Other key points raised in the speech included:

  • Ofsted do not expect schools to undertake any special preparation, such as “Ofsted-ready files” or “mocksteds”
  • based on initial feedback, Ofsted feel that recent changes to short inspection are working well
  • schools will no longer be automatically judged ‘inadequate’ if inspectors find that they ‘require improvement’ for the third inspection in a row
  • inspectors “have moved away from a compliance approach” to safeguarding, for example commenting on the height of fences, and towards emphasis on “a good safeguarding culture… throughout the school”
  • inspectors are no longer requesting anonymised reports on the number of teachers achieving pay progression
  • Ofsted have redesigned inspection data reports, trained inspectors and put in place a new support desk to ensure that data is not misused
  • a new question has been added to Ofsted’s staff questionnaire on whether school leaders take workload into account when setting policies
  • Ofsted are developing a new inspection framework for 2019 which, in order to tackle workload, will be “as sharply focused as possible on the things that matter most”

To read the speech in full, click here.

NGA has a wide range of guidance relating to Ofsted inspection of schools: click here. The NGA advice team can also answer Gold members’ specific questions relating to inspection.


DfE announces a review into school exclusions

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced a review to better understand the inequalities surrounding the school exclusion system. The review will look at challenges faced by the children most likely to be excluded from school including those with special educational needs, as well as building on evidence showing children who receive an education in alternative provision settings, are “less likely to be in education, employment or training post 16”. 

The review, led by Edward Timpson MP, former education minister, will explore school approaches to exclusions, seeking views from parents, teachers, school leaders and children.

The Secretary of State for Education, Damien Hinds commenting on the announcement stated that, "Children only get one chance at their education and they deserve the best. But for too many children – and often those who are most vulnerable – there are inconsistencies… that’s not good enough which is why we are going to improve our understanding of these important issues and tackle them head on". 

It is hoped that the measures announced will address existing inequalities and help aid the improvement of educational outcomes for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils.

The DfE have now published a link to an open consultation on the review which is available to access here.


EPI report into School Funding Pressures in England

The Education Policy Institute has today published a new report into School Funding Pressures in England examining the latest trends in local authority maintained school balances, and assessing whether all schools will be able to meet cost pressures over the next two years, following recent government reforms to funding.

On trends in school balances, the report finds that:

  • over four years, the overall proportion of local authority maintained secondary schools in deficit “nearly trebled from 8.8 per cent in 2013-14 to 26.1 per cent in 2016-17”
  • the South West region has the highest percentage of local authority maintained secondary schools in deficit; in 2016-17, 34.9 per cent of schools were in deficit
  • the East of England region has the lowest percentage of local maintained secondary schools in deficit; in 2016-17, 17.5 per cent of schools were in deficit

While schools may look to absorb additional costs through any reserves the school has built, the report finds a sharp increase in the number of schools with a falling balance for more than two years with:

  • “the proportion of local authority maintained primary schools spending more than their income rising significantly in 2016-17 to over 60 per cent. A quarter had a falling balance for two years or more”
  • “in 2016-17, over two-thirds of local authority maintained secondary schools spent more than their income, while 40 per cent had done so for at least two years”

The report notes that pay progression represents a significant pressure on school budgets as two-thirds of all school funding is spent on education staff costs which includes teachers, support and supply staff. Despite the announcement of £1.3 billion extra funding in July 2017, in 2018-19:

  • “around 2 in 5 state-funded mainstream schools (around 7,500 schools) are unlikely to receive sufficient additional funding to meet the single cost pressure of a 1 per cent pay settlement”
  • “In 2019-20 this number increased to nearly half (close to 9,000 schools)”

To read the report in full, click here

NGA continues its Funding the Future campaign to represent the concerns of governors and trustees on school funding; more information is available at www.nga.org.uk/fundthefuture.


Findings from the DfE/NFER teacher voice omnibus survey released

This week, findings from the annual teacher voice omnibus survey have been released. The NFER sampled 1962 teachers across 1619 schools, equal to roughly 8% of the total teaching population in England. With 34 questions submitted by the Department for Education (DfE) to be included in the survey, this year’s survey focused on “teacher workload, poor behaviour and attendance, alternative provision, mental health, pupil premium and the new GCSEs”.

Some of the key highlights from the survey are:

  • although the government are keen for a “‘strong, consistent supply’ of school leaders”, only 9% of teachers and 45% of senior leaders aspired to be headteachers at some point in the future
  • when asked about external support for school improvement, senior leaders said that “the most frequently used sources of support were local authorities (68 per cent), teaching schools (52 per cent) and an education consultancy (52 per cent)”
  • on behaviour and exclusions, 73% said that behaviour was good or very good in their school, however, as picked up in the Independent, 22% of respondents wrongly believed they were able to “encourage parents to withdraw their child and apply to another school”
  • on support for disadvantaged pupils, the survey found that 26% of schools outlined a lack of time/resources as the main barrier to spending the pupil premium effectively, with a further 26% listing a lack of evidence of ‘what works’
  • although the majority of respondents felt comfortable identifying and supporting SEND pupils, only just over half of teachers felt there was ‘appropriate training’

These findings are particularly useful for governing boards thinking about growing senior leaders from within, exploring external school improvement provision and supporting disadvantaged/SEND pupils. In particular, those governing should remind senior leaders in their schools that, under the current statutory exclusion guidelines, it is not possible to “encourage parents to withdraw their child and apply to another school” – for more information, visit the NGA guidance centre.


NCVO ‘impact of volunteering on volunteers’ research offers useful insights for governor recruitment

New research from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) summarises the current understanding of the impact of volunteering on volunteers. The areas explored in the report include mental health and wellbeing, physical health, social connections, and employability and skills. Here are some of the areas that may be of particular interest to those governing:

  • research shows that volunteering over a sustained period is more likely to produce benefits for volunteers
  • research points to developing a connection with beneficiaries as an important factor in improving mental wellbeing
  • the way volunteers are recruited sometimes means having high social capital (a network of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society) is needed to get involved in the first place
  • volunteering for altruistic reasons is more likely to benefit volunteers than doing so for ‘self-orientated’ reasons
  • volunteering is more valuable for the individual if the skills and experiences it provides are better aligned with those needed by employers

Our new guide, The right people around the table, follows the recruitment cycle from evaluating the current board and attracting volunteers to making the appointment and induction training. This includes advice and ideas on where to look for volunteers, how to promote your vacancy and what to say to capture people's attention. It highlights how Inspiring Governance can support the recruitment process including the ability to search for volunteers based on their skills and the free training and support provided to new appointees by NGA.


Reducing teacher workload

The Department for Education (DfE) launched the workload challenge in October 2014, starting with a month long survey asking for teachers’ views on how to reduce unnecessary workload. GOV.UK lists the various actions and initiatives that have been undertaken since the workload challenge was launched. The list includes the following reports published this week:

Separately, Teach First has published a report this week which found that, despite half being interested in progressing to leadership, the majority of classroom teachers have spent no more than a few hours developing their leadership skills in the past year. Teach First suggests that a whole-school approach to leadership development could improve staff retention.

NGA has previously considered the key issues coming out of that initial Workload Challenge survey; these being marking, planning, resources and data management, and this article looks at some of the steps governing boards can take. Emma Knights has previously written a blog questioning whether governing boards are doing enough to keep their staff, a piece adapted from her chapter in the publication Managing Teacher Workload.


ASCL commission on ethical leadership

In its report to the ASCL conference 2018, ASCL’s commission on ethical leadership set out the work of the commission during its first year, its plans for the continuance of its work, and launched a consultation on its draft Ethical Framework for Educational Leadership.

After considering the format any output of the commission should take, it has opted to design and develop “a set of principles and virtues against which we can test our decision-making in educational leadership”. The report sets out the commission’s draft Ethical Framework for Educational Leadership that “aims to give clear structure to what most teachers and headteachers know intuitively” and which “will help us make the right decisions for the good of our children and young people, and all of our futures”. The commission is now inviting feedback on the draft framework from stakeholders including school governors and trustees – please send your comments to commission chair Carolyn Roberts at codeofethics@ascl.org.uk.

To coincide with the launch of the report, the final session at ASCL’s annual conference 2018 considered ‘Public service in the Modern world: What does ethical leadership look like?’. NGA’s chief executive Emma Knights OBE, who sits on the commission, joined ASCL’s Carolyn Roberts, Nigel Genders (the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer) and Priya Lakhani OBE (founder of Century Tech) on the panel, chaired by Ian Bauckham CBE (CEO of Tenax Schools Trust). A range of ethical leadership in education issues were explored including the responsibility of governing boards in ensuring ethical behaviours, how schools can be encouraged to prioritise things they believe matter most for their pupils, and MAT CEO pay.


Parliamentary vote on free school meal eligibility under universal credit

On Tuesday afternoon, the government defeated an attempt to block proposed changes to free school meal eligibility under universal credit. 312 votes were cast against the motion by Conservative and DUP MPs, compared to 254 in favour by Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP representatives.

The vote means that new free school meal eligibility will come into force from 1 April this year. For more on this click here.


Integrated Communities Strategy green paper

The government has published a green paper outlining how it intends to deliver its vision for “building strong integrated communities”. The green paper proposes to support schools to improve educational outcomes and increase diversity and community cohesion in the following ways:

  • supporting schools to increase diversity by publishing a range of model admission arrangements which include criteria for wider catchment areas to capture more diverse communities
  • requiring all applicants looking to set up free schools to demonstrate how they will boost integration
  • continued funding for The Schools Linking programme which develops working relationships between demographically diverse schools
  • continued support for schools to promote British values, including further materials to help teachers promote these across the curriculum
  • guidance on the independent school standards and the Department for Education’s (DfE) policy on enforcement action where those standards have not been met
  • reviewing and strengthening the powers that Ofsted have in relation to unregistered schools

The green paper also outlines some case studies of schools and academy trusts which have successfully implemented initiatives to improve integration. Governing boards have legal obligations to promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of the pupils in their schools. Most commonly, SMSC will be encompassed in the school’s values, ethos and curriculum.

NGA will be responding to the proposals and will publish its response in due course. If you would like to share your views, please email shelby.roberts@nga.org.uk.


Mentally Healthy Schools website launched

‘Mentally Healthy Schools’ is a free and easy to use website which features evidence-based practical resources to “improve awareness, knowledge and confidence in promoting and supporting pupils’ mental health”.

The website is a legacy project of the Heads Together mental health campaign which brings together The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry with charity partners including the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Place2be and Young Minds.

The website is currently tailored to the curriculum of primary schools in England but most resources will be universal and available later this term. The website features a wealth of information to help tackle stigma, raise awareness, and provide help for children and young people with mental health challenges, covering four main areas: teaching resources, risks and protective factors, mental health needs, and a ‘whole school approach’ for school leaders.

The website features a section on the key role of those governing which is available to access here. NGA is very pleased that an article on the governing board’s role in promoting a healthy school culture, originally published in Governing Matters, has been chosen to feature on the new website.


Leading Governance - new cohorts available: Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

NGA’s new Leading Governance programmes; Development for Chairs, Development for Clerks, and Development for Boards are all now taking bookings.

New and updated Developments for Chairs cohorts this week:

  • East Sussex – Cohort 1 (now starting April 2018)
  • Leeds – Cohort 1 (now starting May 2018)
  • Milton Keynes – Cohort 1 (starting May 2018)
  • Sheffield – Cohort 1 (starting May 2018)

Development for Boards

This programme is designed for boards governing multi academy trusts or groups of schools, or boards of schools in opportunity areas where the school is judged to be requiring improvement. This is a consultant-led bespoke programme that will be tailored to your board’s circumstances to improve practice and outcomes. Funding is available up to the value of £2,000 per board.

You can book your place on Development for Boards here.  

Development for Chairs

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance. Funding for £500 is available.

If there is a cohort in your area you can check the dates and book your place here.

If there is not yet a cohort in your area you can register your interest and we will get in touch when one becomes available.

Development for Clerks

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking. Only £75 if you take up funding worth £350.

The cohorts we are currently taking bookings for are:

If there is a cohort in your area you can check the dates and book your place here.

If there is not yet a cohort in your area you can register your interest and we will get in touch when one becomes available.

DON’T MISS OUT!  
*Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 09/03/2018

NGA Yorkshire & Humber Regional Conference 2018

There’s still time to book your place at NGA’s Spring Regional Conference for Yorkshire & Humber in Bradford on Saturday 24 March 2018.

The Keynote Speaker is Duncan Jacques, CEO of Exceed Academies Trust, presenting on school improvement and accountability.

Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the NGA, will be presenting the new joint publication with Wellcome: 'Being Strategic: A guide for governing boards'.

The ARTS Council and the FFT Education Ltd will be presenting on key topics with up-to-date information, tips and advice.

More details on the venue and the programme are available on the NGA Events Page.


U-turn on mandatory reporting of child abuse

In July 2016, the government launched a consultation on proposed reforms on reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect. Earlier this week, it published its response to the consultation outcome, confirming that no further legal duties will be imposed on school staff (and other practitioners, groups and organisations) to:

  • report child abuse concerns
  • to take appropriate action where they know or suspect a child is at risk of or actually suffering from child abuse

The government reported that 760 responses were received from the police, social workers, educators, health professionals etc. with 70% disagreeing with the proposed mandatory reporting duty and 75% disagreeing with the proposed duty to act. Instead, the government will take steps to improve coordination between relevant agencies; publish the revised Working together to safeguard children statutory guidance; build on their existing campaign to tackle child abuse; improve the professional development of social workers; and consider whether the current legal framework concerning the concealment of child abuse and neglect is sufficient.

Governing boards continue to have overall accountability for safeguarding practices and procedures in their schools/trusts and, as such, must follow the provisions of Keeping Children Safe in Education and Working together to safeguard children – both of which the government has consulted on proposed reforms. NGA’s responses to these can be found here and here.


Faith-based admissions cap – open letter to the Education Secretary

A joint open letter by religious leaders, parliamentarians, education experts and public figures have sent an open letter to Damian Hinds, education secretary. The letter calls for a reconsideration of the Department for Education’s (DfE) proposals in 2016 to lift the current cap on the number of faith-based admissions to school’s with a religious character. Currently, all new religious free schools are required to allocate at least 50% of school places, without reference to faith.

NGA responded to the DfE’s proposals at the time which can be read in full here.


MAT accountability under the microscope

This week there were several developments relating to the way multi-academy trusts (MATs) are held to account for their performance.

Forum Education has published a new report on the role of Ofsted in the inspection of MATs, which focuses on the form this inspection could or should take. The report suggests that inspection of MATs should include consideration of:

  • the MAT’s documents detailing its structure, vision and strategy
  • governance as a “central pillar”, including consideration of the skills and knowledge of the board, its committees and the support and challenge provided
  • the sustainability of a MAT, including its leadership and financial management
  • the relationship between the MAT and individual schools

To read the report in full, click here.

Questioned on the same topic by MPs on the Education Select Committee on Wednesday, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman reiterated the inspectorate’s desire to gain formal powers to inspect MATs. She reflected that “accountability systems need to reflect the way that the system actually operates today” and, asked about resources, said that efficient inspection at MAT level would mean some aspects of inspection would not then need to be replicated in every school.

Separately, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Lord Agnew, wrote to the Education Select Committee to “reassure the committee that the [Department for Education (DfE)] takes MAT accountability and transparency of oversight very seriously”. He said that strengthening the links between the DfE’s work on educational standards and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) oversight of financial performance was one of his top priorities.

More information on governing a MAT is available in NGA’s guide Welcome to a Multi-Academy Trust and in our guidance centre. NGA is currently compiling case studies of a range of MATs: if your organisation would be interested in being featured, get in touch with our research and information officer, Tom Fellows (tom.fellows@nga.org.uk).


NAHT launches commission on accountability

NAHT has launched an independent commission into school accountability aimed at reforming England's "high-stakes, low-trust” system. The commission will canvass the views of leaders in the sector and will review all phases of education. Professor Becky Allen, Sir Robin Bosher, Sir Kevan Collins, Dame Professor Alison Peacock and NGA’s chief executive Emma Knights OBE are some of the names of the people on board.

Announcing the report, Nick Brook, Deputy General Secretary of NAHT, said:  “we need an accountability system that neither distorts teaching and learning nor weighs too heavily on the shoulders of the dedicated professionals working in our schools today. Test and exam data are only part of the picture when judging a school’s effectiveness or a pupil’s success. I have confidence that we can come up with an alternative vision for accountability that everyone – politicians, professionals, parents and pupils – can all have faith in.”

NAHT aim to have interim findings before the summer term with the full report due for publication in September. NGA will keep members up-to-date on the key findings of the commission. For more information on how to set a broad range of measures across several areas that impact school effectiveness beyond academic attainment, visit www.nga.org.uk/beingstrategic.


Campaign for British Sign Language GCSE

This week MPs have called for British Sign Language to be turned into a GCSE with more than 34,500 individuals also signing a petition calling for British Sign Language to become a part of the national curriculum.

The appeal comes as a response to the disparity in GCSE grades achieved by deaf children compared to children with no identified special needs. Research by the National Deaf Children’s Society found that 41.3% of deaf children achieved five GCSEs at A* to C grade in 2016, compared to 69.3% of children with no identified special needs.

In response to the petition, Nick Gibb stated that following the recent reforms to GCSEs, the national curriculum will experience a period of stability and there are no plans for new subjects to be introduced in the near future. For more details, click here.

In order to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum, the governing board should be questioning how well the curriculum provides for and stretches all pupils, how individual needs are identified and reviewed, and how resources are allocated to address these needs.


Eight out of 10 EHC plan investigations upheld by Ombudsman

Speaking at this week’s SEN Law Conference, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, Michael King, stated that the Ombudsman was now upholding 80% of complaints it investigates about Education and Health Care (EHC) plans. Following an investigation of nearly 140 cases, eight out of ten of these were upheld.

Mr King said: “in the cases that come to us, we are seeing worrying patterns of delay, inadequate evidence gathering and poor administration and this is having a significant impact on the children and families the new plans were designed to help.”

Other problems regularly seen by investigators include failing to involve parents and young people properly in the decision-making process, not gathering sufficient evidence to inform decisions, and a lack of proper forward planning when young people move between key educational stages. For more details, click here

Although the deadline for transferring all children with existing Statements of SEN to EHC plans is 1 April 2018, NGA wants to remind all governors that even if transfers to EHC Plans have not occurred before this deadline, the provision should remain in place.


British parents amongst most positive in the world about quality of teaching, and other highlights from the global parent survey

Varkey Foundation’s Global Parent Survey – a comprehensive analysis of parents’ hopes, fears and aspirations around the world – offers a number of insights into the views of parents on education in the UK. Over 27,000 parents from 29 countries were surveyed, including 1,000 parents in the UK with children between the ages of 4 and 18. The survey revealed:

  • British parents are among the most positive about the quality of teaching at their child’s school – 87% rate it as very good or fairly good.
  • On average, British parents say they spend 3.6 hours a week helping their children with their education.
  • If there were more funds for schools, 70% of British parents would spend the money on more teachers or better pay for existing teachers.
  • Children’s happiness is a high priority for British parents – 49% chose the school being a happy environment for children as among their key criteria when choosing schools, compared to a global average of 30%.
  • A third of British parents say it’s very important for their child to attend university to achieve the most in life – the joint lowest globally.
  • Only 28% of UK parents think that standards of education have improved over the last 10 years.

Access the full report and the results by country, including the UK, here.


Last chance to take part in NGA’s spotlight on disadvantage survey

Thank you to all those who have taken the time to complete our survey exploring the role of governors and trustees in spending, monitoring and evaluating the pupil premium.

If you have not yet taken the survey, please consider doing so - the deadline is Tuesday 13 March 2018 and it should take around 20 minutes to complete.

If you have started but not completed the survey, please consider revisiting it before it closes. Respondents will not necessarily have the answer to all the questions, so please feel free to use the ‘don’t know’ option wherever necessary – all answers are treated as confidential. If you are using the same device, the link below should take you to the point where you exited the survey.

As mentioned in previous communications, this survey is designed on a one response per school basis. As such, if you respond to this survey, we kindly ask that you do not forward the link to others on your governing board. However, please feel free to circulate to other governors and trustees if you have a wider network.

Click here to take the survey.


Book now: Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

NGA’s new Leading Governance programmes; Development for Chairs, Development for Clerks and Development for Boards are all now taking bookings.

Development for Boards

This programme is designed for boards governing multi academy trusts or groups of schools, or boards of schools in opportunity areas where the school is judged to be requiring improvement. This is a consultant-led bespoke programme that will be tailored to your board’s circumstances to improve practice and outcomes. Funding is available up to the value of £2,000 per board.

You can book your place on Development for Boards here.  

Development for Chairs

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance. Funding for £500 is available.

The cohorts we are currently taking bookings for are:

  • Cambridgeshire - Cohort 1
  • Durham - Cohort 1
  • East Sussex - Cohort 1
  • East Sussex - Cohort 2
  • Leeds - Cohort 1
  • Lincolnshire - Cohort 1
  • Newham - Cohort 1
  • Sheffield - Cohort 1
  • Suffolk (Stowmarket) - Cohort 1
  • Suffolk (Ipswich) - Cohort 2
  • Suffolk (Central) - Cohort 3
  • Warwickshire - Cohort 1
  • Windsor and Maidenhead - Cohort 1

If there is a cohort in your area you can check the dates and book your place here.

If there is not yet a cohort in your area you can register your interest and we will get in touch when one becomes available.

Development for Clerks

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking. Only £75 if you take up funding worth £350.

The cohorts we are currently taking bookings for are:

  • Bedford – Cohort 1
  • Cambridgeshire – Cohort 1
  • Durham – Cohort 1
  • Leeds - Cohort 1
  • Lincolnshire - Cohort 1
  • Newham - Cohort 1
  • Sheffield - Cohort 1
  • Suffolk (Stowmarket) - Cohort 1
  • Warwickshire - Cohort 1

If there is a cohort in your area you can check the dates and book your place here.

If there is not yet a cohort in your area you can register your interest and we will get in touch when one becomes available.

DON’T MISS OUT!  
*Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600


The Academies Show London, Wednesday 25 April 2018, Excel London

Academies-show.jpg

NGA are delighted to announce our Partnership with The Academies Show, taking place on Wednesday 25 April 2018 at the ExCel, London.

Amidst an educational climate where crucial challenges of funding, recruitment and assessment are more profound than ever, NGA will be on hand at the Show to offer guidance and expertise.

NGA members can register for free and gain access to 8 hours of CPD certified content and policy updates from the likes of DfE, ESFA and STA. The Academies Show 2018 is not to be missed.

As well as hosting a dedicated hub space (stand 771) at the event, the NGA team will be taking part in sessions including:

  • Unlocking talent, fulfilling potential: understanding the government’s social mobility action plan

With speakers: Emma Knights, Chief Executive, NGA; Rt Hon. David Laws, Former Minister of State for Schools and Executive Chairman, Education Policy Institute and Lucy Heller, CEO, ARK.

  • How do you guarantee moral leadership in such a complex system?

With speakers: Emma Knights, Chief Executive, NGA; Geoff Barton, General Secretary, ASCL and Hannah Wilson, Executive Headteacher, Aureus School & Aureus Primary School.

  • Governance in MATs – lessons learnt from NGA’s MAT case studies

With speakers: Clare Collins, Head of Consultancy, NGA and Sam Henson, Head of Information, NGA.

  • The right people around the table: how to build a board

With speaker Judith Hicks, Head of Inspiring Governance, NGA.

Come and visit us at NGA’s hub space at stand 771!

Join other school leaders and register for your FREE PASS HERE. This pass includes access to all the content at the show, the exhibition, a free lunch and free parking. 

We hope you can join us at the show on Wednesday 25 April and look forward to seeing you there.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 02/03/2018

New guidance – Being Strategic: A guide for governing boards

Ensuring clarity of vision and strategic direction is one of the three core functions of governing boards. To assist governors and trustees in their strategic role, NGA and Wellcome have published Being Strategic: a guide for governing boards, three years after the popular original guide – a Framework for Governance – was released.

Following extensive feedback and consultation with governors, trustees and senior leaders, drawing on practical experience and real life examples, Being Strategic offers a robust annual cycle for creating, monitoring and reviewing strategy. It provides advice, poses questions for governing boards on each stage of the cycle, and supports school leaders in taking a broad and long-term perspective.

Emma Knights OBE, chief executive said: “NGA is encouraging governing boards and their senior leaders to listen more carefully to staff, pupils, parents, the community and employers, to have the courage of their convictions and use imagination to set a path that truly provides the best education possible. Our message to governing boards is to not be limited by national performance measures, but create ones relevant to their own school or trust. We need leaders who are not only visionary but have a strategy to realise that vision.”

To access a pdf version of the new guidance, click here.

If you are running an event for governing boards or senior leaders (with more that 30+ delegates) and would like receive hard copies of the guide free of charge, contact shelby.roberts@nga.org.uk


NGA MAT case studies – do you have a story to tell?

As part of our ongoing work on governance in multi-academy trusts (MATs), NGA is developing a new series of MAT case studies, the first of which will be published in April. These will serve both to inform those looking to form/join a MAT and provide key learning points for those already governing and leading MATs.

The aim of this research is not about commenting on “good practice” or judging the effectiveness of a MAT. Instead, we are interested in the stories that MATs have to tell. This includes both their successes and mistakes, how they have learnt from these and what they have done to overcome barriers they have faced.

Not only will others benefit from these case studies but the process itself promises to be a journey of self-reflection for those taking part.

If you are interested in taking part, please read our project information sheet here.

To register interest, please email Tom Fellows, NGA’s research and information officer, at: tom.fellows@nga.org.uk.


Book now: Governance Development Programmes for Boards and Trusts funded by DfE

NGA's Development for Boards is a programme designed for boards governing multi academy trusts (MATs) or groups of schools, or boards of schools in opportunity areas where the school is judged to be requiring improvement. This is a consultant-led bespoke programme that will be tailored to your board’s circumstances to improve practice and outcomes.

The programme includes:

  • development for the chair
  • evaluation of the board’s strengths and weaknesses
  • engagement with the board and senior leaders
  • support with creating a board action plan
  • additional training, coaching and mentoring support as required

Full funding is available for eligible boards. Your board may be eligible for full funding if your board:

  • Governs two or more schools (MAT or Federation) or
  • Governs a school that is located in an Opportunity Area and that is either rated by Ofsted as 'requires improvement' or is rated as 'good' or 'outstanding' but has been identified as 'coasting'.

Find out more about the programme and book your place on our website here

You can check what information you need to have on hand to register, including your Governor ID, in our FAQs here.

DON’T MISS OUT!  
*Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600


Lord Agnew writes to chairs of academy trusts

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System, Lord Agnew, has written to the chairs of all academy trusts in England, recognising the important work that they do for young people’s education. He emphasised that trusts that are performing well should not see frequent interventions from the Department for Education (DfE).

Chairs of trusts were also urged to ensure that budgets are managed to deliver value for money, particularly when setting the pay of lead executives:

“I believe that not all boards are being rigorous enough on this issue. CEO and senior pay should reflect the improvements they make to schools’ performance and how effectively they run their trusts. I would not expect the pay of a CEO or other non-teaching staff to increase faster than the pay award for teachers. I intend to continue to challenge this area of governance. My view is that we should see a reduction in CEO pay where educational performance of the schools in the trust declines over several years.”

Other themes touched on included:

  • the role of chairs in reducing teacher workload by only collecting the necessary information and his commitment that the DfE only ask for “information that is necessary for public accountability”
  • regional schools commissioners (RSCs) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) are being encouraged to involve chairs and other trustees in discussions affecting their schools
  • ensuring that trust governance contacts are up to date in order to facilitate an open dialogue between the DfE and trust.

To read the letter in full, click here. NGA has been highlighting the need to look carefully at lead executive pay for several years: click here to read a blog by Deputy Chief Executive Gillian Allcroft.


NAO looks at value for money of academy conversions

The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a new report on the conversion of maintained schools into academies in England.

The report sets out a wide range of findings on the academy system to date, and estimates that the conversion of almost 7,000 schools has cost roughly £745 million since 2010-11. While most have been high performing schools that have converted straightforwardly, there have been delays in conversion of some underperforming schools. The NAO suggest that challenges around the conversion of schools into academies are likely to increase in future, with many small primary schools still in the maintained sector and variable capacity among trusts in different parts of the country.

The NAO recommend that:

  1. the Department for Education (DfE) should articulate its vision for the school system now that it is not expecting all schools to convert to academy status by 2022
  2. the DfE should apply stronger tests of financial risks and due diligence to all academies, ensuring that all trustees and senior leaders are “fit and proper persons”
  3. the DfE and Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) should improve sharing of information and expertise
  4. the DfE should speed up the conversion of ‘inadequate’ schools, which is taking more than nine months in two-thirds of cases
  5. the DfE should improve its understanding of why trusts might choose not to take on more schools and use this to develop capacity in areas of need

The NAO conclude that creating coherence in the school system “will be crucial to secure value for money and provide children with access to good end-to-end schooling”.

To read the NAO report in full, click here.


Ofqual publishes factsheet on new GCSE grading

This week, the office for qualifications and examinations regulation (Ofqual) has released an updated factsheet to help parents, employers, post-16 education providers and universities understand the new GCSE grading system.

Although not specifically aimed at those governing, it is a useful introduction to how the new 9 to 1 system will align with the old system and gives a breakdown of when each GCSE subject will be reformed.

For more information on the GCSE grading system, please see the NGA guidance centre.


Family & Childcare Trust Childcare Survey 2018

The Family and Childcare Trust published its report on their annual Childcare Survey this week. The report findings include:

  • parents with children under the age of two will face a rise of 7% in childcare costs
  • childcare costs vary significantly across the country, with the prices in inner London being the highest
  • only half of local authorities have enough childcare for parents working full-time

The report calls for a reform for all current spending on childcare. Ellen Broome, Chief Executive at the Family and Childcare Trust, commented, “new government investment is welcome, but this year’s childcare price surge shows that without root and branch reform, many families will be left just treading water.”

NGA will keep up members up to date on the implications of the current changes to early years funding.  

The full report can be found here.


Education DataLab analyses long-term disadvantage in the North

Education DataLab have produced three blogposts analysing the Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s report Educating the North. The report focuses on the sustained underperformance of the north’s disadvantaged children, with disadvantaged pupils having an average Attainment 8 score 6.5 points lower than those in London, equal to two thirds of a grade in each subject.

The blogposts highlight a number of factors which explain the problems:

  • London has a far better progress 8 score for long-term disadvantaged pupils than any other English region. However, its progress 8 score among white disadvantaged pupils is very similar to those of other regions. This suggests that the low attainment of white disadvantaged pupils is a systematic problem, not a geographic one;
  • accounting for differences in pupil and school characteristics (such as ethnicity, first language, and the proportion of the school population entitled to free school meals); key stage 2 attainment; and subject entries, explains 97% of the attainment gap between London and the north. This further suggests that school effectiveness is an insignificant factor in causing the differences between London and the north;
  • the gap between the north and London is predominantly caused by demographic differences. Education DataLab’s analysis suggests the greatest challenge in closing the attainment gap involves pupil premium-eligible pupils who are:
  1. long-term disadvantaged (eligible for free school meals for 90% of their school careers)
  2. in a group for whom the impact of disadvantage on attainment is higher than average (mainly white pupils)
  3. in schools where the proportion of ethnic minority pupils is under 50%

The blogs conclude that while the North might benefit from additional funding, this is not because school are generally less effective than in other parts of the country, but because the North has a more challenging demographic.


Next steps for implementing new safeguarding arrangements

In the autumn, the government consulted on its proposed revisions to statutory guidance, Working together to safeguard children. NGA submitted its response in December 2017, which can be accessed here.

The government has now published the outcome and its response to the consultation. Some key points relating specifically to our response are outlined below:

  • Safeguarding partners – further detail will be included in the guidance about who each partners’ representatives should be.
  • Relevant agencies – NGA felt that multi-academy trusts should also be explicitly referenced as relevant agencies; yet the government’s response does not indicate an intention to do this.
  • Independent scrutiny – the government will seek to provide further details about the independent scrutiny of safeguarding arrangements.
  • Funding – the government will seek to include a statement in the guidance which accounts for flexibility across local areas. For schools, however, it remains unclear whether a contribution to support new arrangements will also be reflective of school size. Further, multi-academy trusts are not accounted for despite the fact that they determine the level of funding for each of their academies.
  • Threshold document – the guidance will be revised to include a recommendation for safeguarding partners to develop and publish threshold documents, as part of their key responsibilities.

In terms of next steps, following the relevant provisions of the Children and Social Work Act 2017 coming into force, the updated guidance will be published. There will be a 12 month lead in time for local areas to develop their safeguarding arrangements accordingly, and an additional three months for full implementation of those arrangements.

The consultation outcome can be read in full here.


Education Policy Institute publishes report into access to Special Schools in England

Referring to the 2016 consultation, 'Schools that Work for Everyone', the Education Policy Institute (EPI) has looked into the government’s ambition for all children to have a good school nearby, specifically analysing any justification for the lack of reference to the 110,000 pupils in special schools.

The EPI’s analysis shows that “in cities, the average pupil at a special school is travelling nearly four miles while in rural areas it is ten. And a significant number are travelling much further still: a tenth of pupils at special schools in cities travel nearly nine miles and in rural areas it is over 20 miles”. These distances vary greatly when compared to the travelling distances of children attending a mainstream school.

While acknowledging the limitations that some areas of the country have in terms of pupils accessing a good primary or secondary school, the report also concludes that “if the government is serious about providing good and accessible schools for all pupils then they need to give greater attention to special schools”.

To read the report in full, click here


DfE announces Advanced Maths Premium for schools

This week, the Department for Education (DfE) revealed details of a new fund, the Advanced Maths Premium, devoted to helping schools increase the amount of pupils taking up mathematics beyond GCSEs. This initiative was first announced in last year's autumn budget. From autumn 2018, schools and colleges will receive an additional £600 premium for “each additional pupil taking the one-year AS maths or the Core Maths qualification”; this potentially brings a total amount of £1,200 for each pupil studying the subject across a two year A-level.

It is hoped that the new fund will help support schools to increase the number girls and pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds selecting A-level maths.

Elizabeth Trust, Chief Secretary to the Treasure, said: “for individual students, choosing maths could add around 10% to their future earnings … It is even more beneficial for women and I specifically want to encourage more girls to take maths and open up their future”.

For more details on the Advanced Maths Premium, click here.


Asbestos Management Assurance user-guide released

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has published the Asbestos Management Assurance Process (AMAP) online portal user-guide, available to read here.

Before completing the assurance process, local authorities, estate managers, schools leaders and governing boards of maintained schools and academy trusts should read the department’s guidance Asbestos Management in School, and review their asbestos management arrangements.

The deadline for completion of the assurance is 12:00 noon, on Thursday 31 May 2018.


The Academies Show London, Wednesday 25 April 2018, Excel London

Academies-show.jpg

NGA are delighted to announce our Partnership with The Academies Show, taking place on Wednesday 25 April 2018 at the ExCel, London.

Amidst an educational climate where crucial challenges of funding, recruitment and assessment are more profound than ever, NGA will be on hand at the Show to offer guidance and expertise.

NGA members can register for free and gain access to 8 hours of CPD certified content and policy updates from the likes of DfE, ESFA and STA. The Academies Show 2018 is not to be missed.

As well as hosting a dedicated hub space (stand 771) at the event, the NGA team will be taking part in sessions including:

  • Unlocking talent, fulfilling potential: understanding the government’s social mobility action plan

With speakers: Emma Knights, Chief Executive, NGA; Rt Hon. David Laws, Former Minister of State for Schools and Executive Chairman, Education Policy Institute and Lucy Heller, CEO, ARK.

  • How do you guarantee moral leadership in such a complex system?

With speakers:

Emma Knights, Chief Executive, NGA; Geoff Barton, General Secretary, ASCL and Hannah Wilson, Executive Headteacher, Aureus School & Aureus Primary School.

  • Governance in MATs – lessons learnt from NGA’s MAT case studies

With speakers: Sam Henson, Head of Information, NGA and Clare Collins, Head of Consultancy, NGA.

  • The right people around the table: how to build a board

With speaker Judith Hicks, Head of Inspiring Governance, NGA.

Come and visit us at NGA’s hub space at stand 771!

Join other school leaders and register for your FREE PASS HERE. This pass includes access to all the content at the show, the exhibition, a free lunch and free parking. 

We hope you can join us at the show on Wednesday 25 April and look forward to seeing you there.


For members in the North West and South west – DfE Regional Schools’ Buying hubs – helping schools buy goods and services

As part of its work to help schools use their resources as effectively as possible the Department for Education (DfE) is establishing Regional Schools’ Buying Hubs. An initial pilot will be run in schools in the North West and South West.

It will be your school business manager and headteacher who would interact directly with the buying hub, but the DfE is keen to ensure that their existence is communicated as widely as possible.

If you are in a school in the North West or South West please alert your headteachers/ school business managers to this opportunity.

The hubs are designed to help schools buy goods and services in the most efficient and effective way. The service commenced in February 2018 providing:

  • expert advice and guidance on buying
  • template/exemplar documentation for buying
  • help with complex contracts, in areas such as catering, cleaning, premises and technology services
  • promotion of local collaboration, where there is an opportunity to reduce costs on areas such as learning resources, ICT learning resources and administrative supplies
  • market intelligence
  • contract management support

The number of schools who can sign up for this free service is limited to 900 in each region, sign up early so as not to miss out.

To sign up or find out more please click here.

This work is part of the wider initiative on Financial Health and Efficiency the DfE has carried out Financial Health and Efficiency Guidance for Governors.


NGA Clerks’ Conference: presentations now available

NGA was delighted to hold its second Clerks’ conference, which was extremely well attended by clerks who work with boards in a variety of settings.

Charis Evans, Business Development Director, Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) was this year’s keynote speaker and spoke about the ways in which clerks make a crucial contribution to the governing board.

The presentation slides from the conference are now available to view online.

NGA also confirmed at the conference that in May we will be hosting two more meetings of the Clerks’ Advisory Group; one in the north of England and one in the south. Please send any suggestions you have on topics to be discussed at the meetings to clerkingmatters@nga.org.uk


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 16/02/2018

Book now: Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, the Department for Education (DfE) has appointed the NGA to deliver governance leadership development programmes. We are delighted to have the opportunity to provide this vital training, which will raise the standard of school governance to help ensure an excellent education for every pupil. 

Bookings are now open for all programmes:

For Development for Chairs and Development for Clerks you will need to select one of the cohorts available for booking. You can see the available cohorts for Development for Chairs here and Development for Clerks here. If there is not yet a cohort in your area you can register your interest and we will get in touch when once becomes available.

You can book your place on Development for Boards here.   

You can check what information you need to have on hand, including your Governor ID, to register in our FAQs here.

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance. Funding for £500 is available.

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking. Only £75 if you take up funding worth £350.

This programme is designed for boards governing multi academy trusts or groups of schools, or boards of schools in opportunity areas where the school is judged to be requiring improvement. This is a consultant-led bespoke programme that will be tailored to your board’s circumstances to improve practice and outcomes. Funding is available up to the value of £2,000 per board.

DON’T MISS OUT! 

*Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600


Guide to support recruitment of school governors and trustees launched

Getting the right people around the table is one of the eight elements of effective governance. To support governing boards in recruiting and retaining skilled governors or trustees, the National Governance Association (NGA) has updated and relaunched its well-received guide the right people around the table.

Five short chapters cover:

  • evaluating: skills, composition and current practice
  • recruiting: attracting good candidates
  • appointing: interviewing and references
  • inducting: training and support
  • succession planning: moving on and ensuring leadership      

This guide contains practical guidance and suggestions of good practice for the recruitment of governors and trustees. It signposts to further tools and resources provided by NGA and highlights how Inspiring Governance can support the recruitment process, including the ability to search for volunteers based on their skills and the free training and support provided to new appointees by NGA.

The right people around the table emphasises that governing boards should carry out a skills audit to identify its strengths and any gaps to fill, states the importance of providing high-quality induction training for new recruits, and highlights the need for governing boards to undertake succession planning. Ahead of the launch of Everyone on Board, a joint campaign from NGA and Inspiring Governance which seeks to increase diversity on governing boards, the guide also asks governing boards to consider whether they reflect the diversity of their local community.

Are you based in Greater London and have vacancies on your governing board? Inspiring Governance has over 2,500 volunteers interested in becoming governors/ trustees – sign in or register today to connect with these volunteers: www.inspiringgovernance.org/


Multiplication tables check trials to begin

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that trials of the new multiplication tables check will begin in a small number of schools from March. Participation in the trials is voluntary and the DfE will inform the schools involved of all necessary arrangements directly. The check consists of a five minute on-screen test which pupils will take in year 4. The DfE’s intention is that the check will be compulsory for all schools from the 2019-2020 academic year.

Like many of the teaching unions, NGA did not support the introduction of the multiplication check when it was consulted on last summer. While it is right that pupils learn multiplication tables as part of the national curriculum, it is not clear how an additional statutory test will benefit their learning. The DfE has said that the test will not be used as an accountability measure and results will be published at national and local authority level but not at school level.

NGA’s response to last year’s consultation on primary assessment is available to read here and our guidance will be updated as the new requirements come into force for all schools. Guidance on the current assessment system for primary schools is available here.


National Education Union (NEU) annual survey on teachers' pay

The UK’s largest education union, the NEU, surveyed its membership in November 2017, asking members about their own pay progression in September 2017 and seeking views on their school’s pay policy, its application and impact on appraisal.

The survey report raises some interesting findings in terms of equality, with higher proportions of women, part time workers, disabled, LGBT and non-White British teachers not receiving a pay increase in 2017.

Governors can look to the Department of Education’s guidance "Implementing your school’s approach to pay" for help in reviewing and revising their processes for decisions on teacher and leadership pay, including a model pay policy. This non statutory guidance, aimed at maintained schools and Local Authorities, is an accompaniment to the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD).

NGA guidance relating to appraisals can be found here. NGA will shortly be publishing new guidance and research relating to the appraisal of headteachers. Members will be notified of these publications via this newsletter.

Consultation about teachers’ pay awards for 2018 are in progress. NGA’s response to the School Teachers Review Body remit for 2018 can be found here.


Funding the Future: Snap poll 

Book now: Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, the Department for Education (DfE) has appointed the NGA to deliver governance leadership development programmes. We are delighted to have the opportunity to provide this vital training, which will raise the standard of school governance to help ensure an excellent education for every pupil. 

Bookings are now open for all programmes:

For Development for Chairs and Development for Clerks you will need to select one of the cohorts available for booking. You can see the available cohorts for Development for Chairs here and Development for Clerks here. If there is not yet a cohort in your area you can register your interest and we will get in touch when once becomes available.

You can book your place on Development for Boards here.   

You can check what information you need to have on hand, including your Governor ID, to register in our FAQs here.

This fully-funded programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs, provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance. Funding for £500 is available.

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings. It helps develop the knowledge and skills needed for high-quality clerking. Only £75 if you take up funding worth £350.

This programme is designed for boards governing multi academy trusts or groups of schools, or boards of schools in opportunity areas where the school is judged to be requiring improvement. This is a consultant-led bespoke programme that will be tailored to your board’s circumstances to improve practice and outcomes. Funding is available up to the value of £2,000 per board.

DON’T MISS OUT! 

*Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 4600


Guide to support recruitment of school governors and trustees launched

Getting the right people around the table is one of the eight elements of effective governance. To support governing boards in recruiting and retaining skilled governors or trustees, the National Governance Association (NGA) has updated and relaunched its well-received guide the right people around the table.

Five short chapters cover:

  • evaluating: skills, composition and current practice
  • recruiting: attracting good candidates
  • appointing: interviewing and references
  • inducting: training and support
  • succession planning: moving on and ensuring leadership      

This guide contains practical guidance and suggestions of good practice for the recruitment of governors and trustees. It signposts to further tools and resources provided by NGA and highlights how Inspiring Governance can support the recruitment process, including the ability to search for volunteers based on their skills and the free training and support provided to new appointees by NGA.

The right people around the table emphasises that governing boards should carry out a skills audit to identify its strengths and any gaps to fill, states the importance of providing high-quality induction training for new recruits, and highlights the need for governing boards to undertake succession planning. Ahead of the launch of Everyone on Board, a joint campaign from NGA and Inspiring Governance which seeks to increase diversity on governing boards, the guide also asks governing boards to consider whether they reflect the diversity of their local community.

Are you based in Greater London and have vacancies on your governing board? Inspiring Governance has over 2,500 volunteers interested in becoming governors/ trustees – sign in or register today to connect with these volunteers: www.inspiringgovernance.org/


Multiplication tables check trials to begin

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that trials of the new multiplication tables check will begin in a small number of schools from March. Participation in the trials is voluntary and the DfE will inform the schools involved of all necessary arrangements directly. The check consists of a five minute on-screen test which pupils will take in year 4. The DfE’s intention is that the check will be compulsory for all schools from the 2019-2020 academic year.

Like many of the teaching unions, NGA did not support the introduction of the multiplication check when it was consulted on last summer. While it is right that pupils learn multiplication tables as part of the national curriculum, it is not clear how an additional statutory test will benefit their learning. The DfE has said that the test will not be used as an accountability measure and results will be published at national and local authority level but not at school level.

NGA’s response to last year’s consultation on primary assessment is available to read here and our guidance will be updated as the new requirements come into force for all schools. Guidance on the current assessment system for primary schools is available here.


National Education Union (NEU) annual survey on teachers' pay

The UK’s largest education union, the NEU, surveyed its membership in November 2017, asking members about their own pay progression in September 2017 and seeking views on their school’s pay policy, its application and impact on appraisal.

The survey report raises some interesting findings in terms of equality, with higher proportions of women, part time workers, disabled, LGBT and non-White British teachers not receiving a pay increase in 2017.

Governors can look to the Department of Education’s guidance "Implementing your school’s approach to pay" for help in reviewing and revising their processes for decisions on teacher and leadership pay, including a model pay policy. This non statutory guidance, aimed at maintained schools and Local Authorities, is an accompaniment to the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD).

NGA guidance relating to appraisals can be found here. NGA will shortly be publishing new guidance and research relating to the appraisal of headteachers. Members will be notified of these publications via this newsletter.

Consultation about teachers’ pay awards for 2018 are in progress. NGA’s response to the School Teachers Review Body remit for 2018 can be found here.


Funding the Future: Snap poll 

The results of our unscientific poll will feature in the next newsletter in two weeks’ time following the half-term break.


Support our Sixth Formers campaign

The Support our Sixth Formers campaign seeks a review of sixth form funding and an uplift of £200 per pupil for sixth form budgets. As part of this campaign, the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA) has drafted a model letter for 16-19 providers to send to their MPs. The aim is for MPs to forward this letter to the new Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, on behalf of constituents.

The letter asks for the government to carry out a review of funding for sixth forms and colleges. In the 2015 Conservative Party Manifesto, the government pledged to “launch a major review of funding across tertiary education as a whole”. Although the government has repeated this pledge in its industrial strategy and social mobility action plan, it has shown no indication that it intends to include 16-19 providers in this review.

While funding across the schools sector has been under pressure over the last few years, it is generally recognised that post-16 funding has been particularly badly hit. As an advocate of the Support Our Sixth Formers campaign, NGA encourages governors and trustees in schools with sixth-forms to send this letter to their MP.

If you would like to find out more about the Support Our Sixth Formers please visit the campaign webpage.


HSE consultation on future of Adventure Activities Licensing Authority

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is consulting on the delivery and scope of the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA). The Adventure Activities Licensing scheme applies to the paid provision of four categories of adventure activities: caving, climbing, some water-sports and some trekking and covers young people under the age of 18.

“The scope of the review aims to ensure that the provision of licensing of adventure activities is delivered in a sensible, proportionate and cost-effective manner, and encourages the participation by young people in adventure activities.”

This discussion document seeks views on the future of AALA. It also seeks views on the initial assessment of the costs and benefits of the proposed changes as set out in the impact assessment. The feedback gathered will inform the HSE Board’s decision on the future of AALA.

Although governors will not be involved in the planning of activities, they must be satisfied that all the necessary steps have been taken to ensure that the activity is safe. The licensing scheme therefore helped to provide governors assurance that providers had met the prescribed standards. NGA would like to hear from any governors/trustees who have views on the future of the AALA; email rani.kaur@nga.org.uk


Update to Learning Link modules

As part of the ongoing development of the Learning Link platform, and our commitment to providing our Learning Link users with up-to-date content, some of the modules will be refreshed to include changes to policy and legislation. Each module has been updated to this academic year. This process will be happening over the next six weeks, users will receive notification of all updating changes in “notifications” and will see a pop-up announcement when logging in next week.  

For those of you who are not yet have a subscription to Learning Link, details can be found here.


Book your place at our Spring Regional Conferences

Our Spring Regional events are free for NGA members and provide a unique opportunity to network with fellow governors, trustees and clerks, hear the latest news and discuss a range of topics.

Our range of expert high-profile speakers provide practical advice and opportunities to stimulate lively debate and thought-provoking discussions.

NGA are pleased to confirm that Sue Baldwin, the Regional School Commissioner for the East of England and North East London, will be delivering the keynote address at the East of England Regional Conference in Stansted on Saturday 3 March 2018.

Duncan Jacques, member of the Lancashire and West Yorkshire Headteachers Board will be delivering the keynote presentation on school improvement, accountability and oversight at the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Conference in Bradford on Saturday 24 March 2018.

Sir David Carter, National Schools Commissioner, will be delivering the keynote speech on the governance of effective school improvement at our London Regional Conference on Saturday 21 April 2018.

Representatives from Arts Council England and Fischer Family Trust (FFT) will be speaking at all of NGA’s regional conferences to deliver exclusive and up-to-date information that will benefit you, your board and your school.

Don’t miss out on these regional events. Book your place now!


Spring Regional Meetings are open for registration

Our regional meetings are a great way to network closely with fellow governors, trustees and clerks. The key topic of discussion for spring 2018, at a regional meeting near you, will be Senior Leadership Teams.

Further items for discussion around Policy will include: disadvantaged children, pupil wellbeing, funding challenges and OFSTED short inspections.

Consideration around Practice will include GDPR, board diversity – Inspiring Governance and the updated NGA and Wellcome Trust Framework for Governance.

More details on the locations and venues for each regional meeting are available through registration on the website. Book your place at this important meeting in your region.


NGA membership portal update

Last week, we were aware that some members experienced technical issues with access to NGA’s membership portal. Our team have worked to resolve this as a matter of priority and we apologise for any inconvenience if were unable to log in at this time.

Please get in touch with: membership@nga.org.uk if you experience any further issues.


Support our Sixth Formers campaign

The Support our Sixth Formers campaign seeks a review of sixth form funding and an uplift of £200 per pupil for sixth form budgets. As part of this campaign, the Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA) has drafted a model letter for 16-19 providers to send to their MPs. The aim is for MPs to forward this letter to the new Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, on behalf of constituents.

The letter asks for the government to carry out a review of funding for sixth forms and colleges. In the 2015 Conservative Party Manifesto, the government pledged to “launch a major review of funding across tertiary education as a whole”. Although the government has repeated this pledge in its industrial strategy and social mobility action plan, it has shown no indication that it intends to include 16-19 providers in this review.

While funding across the schools sector has been under pressure over the last few years, it is generally recognised that post-16 funding has been particularly badly hit. As an advocate of the Support Our Sixth Formers campaign, NGA encourages governors and trustees in schools with sixth-forms to send this letter to their MP.

If you would like to find out more about the Support Our Sixth Formers please visit the campaign webpage.


HSE consultation on future of Adventure Activities Licensing Authority

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is consulting on the delivery and scope of the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA). The Adventure Activities Licensing scheme applies to the paid provision of four categories of adventure activities: caving, climbing, some water-sports and some trekking and covers young people under the age of 18.

“The scope of the review aims to ensure that the provision of licensing of adventure activities is delivered in a sensible, proportionate and cost-effective manner, and encourages the participation by young people in adventure activities.”

This discussion document seeks views on the future of AALA. It also seeks views on the initial assessment of the costs and benefits of the proposed changes as set out in the impact assessment. The feedback gathered will inform the HSE Board’s decision on the future of AALA.

Although governors will not be involved in the planning of activities, they must be satisfied that all the necessary steps have been taken to ensure that the activity is safe. The licensing scheme therefore helped to provide governors assurance that providers had met the prescribed standards. NGA would like to hear from any governors/trustees who have views on the future of the AALA; email rani.kaur@nga.org.uk


Update to Learning Link modules

As part of the ongoing development of the Learning Link platform, and our commitment to providing our Learning Link users with up-to-date content, some of the modules will be refreshed to include changes to policy and legislation. Each module has been updated to this academic year. This process will be happening over the next six weeks, users will receive notification of all updating changes in “notifications” and will see a pop-up announcement when logging in next week.  

For those of you who are not yet have a subscription to Learning Link, details can be found here.


Book your place at our Spring Regional Conferences

Our Spring Regional events are free for NGA members and provide a unique opportunity to network with fellow governors, trustees and clerks, hear the latest news and discuss a range of topics.

Our range of expert high-profile speakers provide practical advice and opportunities to stimulate lively debate and thought-provoking discussions.

NGA are pleased to confirm that Sue Baldwin, the Regional School Commissioner for the East of England and North East London, will be delivering the keynote address at the East of England Regional Conference in Stansted on Saturday 3 March 2018.

Duncan Jacques, member of the Lancashire and West Yorkshire Headteachers Board will be delivering the keynote presentation on school improvement, accountability and oversight at the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Conference in Bradford on Saturday 24 March 2018.

Sir David Carter, National Schools Commissioner, will be delivering the keynote speech on the governance of effective school improvement at our London Regional Conference on Saturday 21 April 2018.

Representatives from Arts Council England and Fischer Family Trust (FFT) will be speaking at all of NGA’s regional conferences to deliver exclusive and up-to-date information that will benefit you, your board and your school.

Don’t miss out on these regional events. Book your place now!


Spring Regional Meetings are open for registration

Our regional meetings are a great way to network closely with fellow governors, trustees and clerks. The key topic of discussion for spring 2018, at a regional meeting near you, will be Senior Leadership Teams.

Further items for discussion around Policy will include: disadvantaged children, pupil wellbeing, funding challenges and OFSTED short inspections.

Consideration around Practice will include GDPR, board diversity – Inspiring Governance and the updated NGA and Wellcome Trust Framework for Governance.

More details on the locations and venues for each regional meeting are available through registration on the website. Book your place at this important meeting in your region.


NGA membership portal update

Last week, we were aware that some members experienced technical issues with access to NGA’s membership portal. Our team have worked to resolve this as a matter of priority and we apologise for any inconvenience if were unable to log in at this time.

Please get in touch with: membership@nga.org.uk if you experience any further issues.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 09/02/2018

NGA’s ‘coasting’ schools guidance updated

We recently summarised the changes to the Department for Education’s Schools Causing Concern guidance affecting schools whose performance data identifies them as ‘coasting’. As promised, NGA’s guidance on what it means for a school to be identified as ‘coasting’ has now been updated to reflect these changes. To access the guidance, click here.


Book your place at our Spring Regional Conferences

Our Spring Regional events are free for NGA members and provide a unique opportunity to network with fellow governors, trustees and clerks, hear the latest news and discuss a range of topics.

Our range of expert high-profile speakers provide practical advice and opportunities to stimulate lively debate and thought-provoking discussions.

NGA are pleased to confirm that Sue Baldwin, the Regional School Commissioner for the East of England and North East London, will be delivering the keynote address at the East of England Regional Conference in Stansted on Saturday 3 March 2018.

Duncan Jacques, member of the Lancashire and West Yorkshire Headteachers Board will be delivering the keynote presentation on school improvement, accountability and oversight at the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Conference in Bradford on Saturday 24 March 2018.

Sir David Carter, National Schools Commissioner, will be delivering the keynote speech on the governance of effective school improvement at our London Regional Conference on Saturday 21 April 2018.

Representatives from Arts Council England and Fischer Family Trust (FFT) will be speaking at all of NGA’s regional conferences to deliver exclusive and up-to-date information that will benefit you, your board and your school.

Don’t miss out on these regional events. Book your place now!


Take NGA’s survey on disadvantage

As part of our mission, we want to help those governing to improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. To do this, NGA has launched a survey exploring the role of governors and trustees in spending, monitoring and evaluating the pupil premium.

Research shows that schools which spend the pupil premium effectively often have strong governance. However, we need to do more to understand the impact governance has on supporting disadvantaged pupils.

Governing boards have legal responsibility for the pupil premium and have ultimate accountability for how the money is spent. To help governing boards support disadvantaged pupils in their school, and to raise outcomes for these pupils, this survey will inform NGA guidance on how governing boards can maximise the impact they have on outcomes.

This survey can be completed by any school governor or trustee in England. However, it is designed on a one response per school basis and we kindly ask that you do not forward the link to others on your governing board after completion. However, please feel free to circulate to other governors and trustees if you have a wider network.

For those who govern in a group of schools, we recommend that you respond from the perspective of one school only.

Click here to full in the survey.


Government respond to consultation on support for disadvantaged pupils

The government has published its response to the consultation it carried out into proposals for changes to free school meals and early year pupil premium eligibility under universal credit.

The government has decided to press ahead with its plan to alter free school meal and early year pupil premium eligibility by introducing a £7,400 annual net earned income threshold, which will “typically equate to an overall household income of between £18,000 and £24,000 once benefits income is taken into account”. Families will need to earn below this in order to be eligible. This threshold will be fully introduced once universal credit’s roll out has been completed, currently estimated to occur in 2022. Until then, all existing claimants will be protected, with the new threshold being used to determine the eligibility of new claimants from April 2018. Following universal credit’s rollout, all existing free school meal recipients will retain eligibility until the end of their phase of schooling.

The changes have been justified as leading to an estimated 50,000 more children becoming eligible for free school meals. The changes will not alter the enrollment mechanisms for free school meals, so parents will still need to apply.

This is relevant for governing boards, as they have a duty to ensure that their school is using pupil premium funding to raise the educational attainment of disadvantaged pupils. Details of eligible pupils, and the role of those governing in monitoring the pupil premium, is available on the NGA Guidance Centre.


Changes in way RSCs approach school visits

The National Schools Commissioner, Sir David Carter, said during a debate on Tuesday 6 February that he planned to end the practice of visits being carried out on behalf of regional schools commissioners (RSCs) in close proximity to Ofsted inspections of the same school.

Acknowledging that this had previously been a problem, Sir David said that “my plan going forward is that we will now bring that to an end … there is no point in having two bodies both working at school level because the downward pressure that creates on the system is I think part of the workload challenge”.

He went on to say that visits to individual schools will only be carried out in two circumstances: either because RSCs want to learn about good practice, or because they question the validity of what they have been told about the school.  

Sir David said that both he and the Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, are aware of the risk of duplication and are working together to address it.

The debate can be watched in full on the Institute of Education website, accessed by clicking here - watch Sir David’s comments at 59 minutes in.


Headteachers demand pay code for academy counterparts

This week the BBC reported on calls from the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) for a “national framework for salaries within the state school system”. This follows the recent revelation that Sir Dan Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris Federation, will become the “first in the state sector to earn £500,000”.

NAHT is requesting further transparency over the spending of public money, with clear guidelines on what pay is deemed reasonable.

For guidance on setting pay for executive leaders and CEO’s visit NGA Guidance Centre.


Funding round up

This week Tes reported that as of 7 December 2017, the Department for Education had received 202 appeals from local authorities seeking to a deviate from the National Funding Formula next year, with a particular focus placed on the limitations on high needs funding.

In addition to this, research published this week by the School Cuts alliance of education unions reports that funding cuts since 2015 have resulted in a decline in both secondary teaching and support staff “at a time when pupil-to-classroom teacher ratios are rising”.

NGA continues to encourage governing boards across the country to make their voices heard about their financial situation by lobbying their MPs. You can read more on the Funding the Future campaign page.


Annual report on school admissions arrangements

The Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA), the agency responsible for clarifying the legal position on admissions policies in schools, has released its annual report which outlines the findings from the admissions cases received from September 2016 to August 2017.

Highlights from the report can be found in the press release here.


Home-schooling and exclusions

The Local Government Association (LGA) has recently submitted a briefing to the House of Lords regarding home education. The briefing largely focuses on the LGA’s concerns around councils having no power to enter homes or see children who are home educated. This, in turn, makes it difficult to carry out their safeguarding responsibilities. The briefing also raises concerns around illegal schools and calls for a clearer definition of ‘school’ to aid with classifying and closing down these schools.

The briefing draws on a report from the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) in November 2017, following a survey of all 152 local authorities in England to better understand the context surrounding home education.

Notable for governing boards is the perception of a link between changes in school structures and curriculum reforms, and the number of pupils being withdrawn or excluded from schools.

With this in mind, governing boards should refresh their knowledge and understanding of their legal duties and responsibilities with regard to school exclusions in accordance with the Department for Education’s guidance. Specifically, the guidance is clear that, although headteachers have powers to direct a pupil to be educated off-site to improve their behaviour, or to arrange a managed move with the agreement of all parties, “…the threat of exclusion must never be used to influence parents to remove their child from the school.”


“Late arrival premium” suggested for pupils with EAL

New research by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) found that “average attainment scores of [pupils with English as an additional language (EAL)] are deeply misleading and conceal considerable variation”, with some groups performing below national average and others exceeded it.

The analysis also found that pupils arriving later into the English school system have lower attainment than their peers who arrive earlier. The NFF “allocates funding to each EAL child in each of their first three years in school” but the EPI argue that pupil attainment figures suggest that it takes longer than three years for pupils with EAL to become fully proficient in English.

A lack of specialist expertise in the workforce was also identified, with EPI pointing to a significant decline in the supply of EAL expertise in schools and the absence of any mechanism to generate this expertise.

Based on these findings, EPI recommend that the Department for Education (DfE) introduce a “late arrival premium” to provide more intensive support for pupils arriving later in secondary school and develop new policies to create and maintain EAL expertise in schools.

To read the report in full, click here. Governing boards should monitor the performance of all groups of pupils in their school, including those with EAL. This report highlights the need to consider how performance varies within this group, particularly for those joining the school later in their education. For information on monitoring pupil performance, visit the NGA Guidance Centre.


Select committee inquiry into mental health green paper

Following the release of the green paper Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision, which is open for consultation until 3 March 2018, the Education and Health Select Committees have begun their joint inquiry into the proposed scope and implementation of the green paper. The government aims to improve access to child and adolescent mental health services (CAHMS), focusing on the creation of a designated ‘mental health lead’ within the school senior leadership team, supervised by clinicians to support pupils and to make referrals to CAHMS.

The committee heard oral evidence from a wide range of witnesses from education and health representative organisations, and ministers from the Departments of Education and Health and Social Care. Overall, witnesses were enthusiastic about joint working but raised concerns that plans will not go far enough to alleviate current pressures on mental health services, with some young people forced to wait up to 18 months for support.

Witnesses raised further concerns over the consistency of training and the capacity of senior leaders to fulfil the mental health lead role due to workload. Ministers were unable to confirm whether the new role would be an additional responsibility or a voluntary position. You can read the transcripts of the committee sessions here. NGA will be responding to the green paper in due course and if you have any comments, get in touch with shelby.roberts@nga.org.uk.


MPs debate autism in education

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday 6 February, the new Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi MP, responded to questions on educational outcomes of children with autism.

Key points included:

  • recognition that it is frequently taking too long for children to receive a diagnosis of autism and the frustration this brings to families
  • the disproportionate number of children with autism being excluded from school – governing boards must ensure that schools have an inclusive ethos
  • the DfE are continuing to fund the National Autistic Society’s work on providing advice and information on exclusions to parents and education professionals and the review of exclusions practice announced last October will look at the exclusion rates of pupils with autism

To read a transcript of the debate, click here. For information on supporting pupils with SEND, such as autism, visit the NGA Guidance Centre.


MPs debate status of PSHE in schools

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 created a power to make personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) statutory in future, following consultation.

This week, MPs debated the status of PSHE and found cross-party support in favour of putting PSHE on a statutory footing. Compulsory PSHE is backed by strong public support; over 120 organisations, including NGA, have also called for changes and the PSHE Association has found statutory PSHE is supported by 85% of business leaders, 88% of teachers, 92% of parents and 92% of pupils.

Arguments in favour of compulsory PSHE included promising evidence of its positive impact on young people’s attainment, as found by an evidence review by Pro Bono Economics, which revealed that the academic performance of the most disadvantaged children is improved by the greatest amount as a result of high quality PSHE.

MPs discussed the range of areas that should be included in PSHE including emergency first aid training, violent crime and weapons awareness, emotional, physical and mental health and online safety. In response to the debate, the minister for School Standards Nick Gibb MP said that “we are aware that there is a huge interest in this matter in all parts of this House… the regulations and guidance will be subject to a full public consultation later this year.” You can read debate in full here.


Inquiry into Alternative Provision

The Education Committee launched its inquiry into Alternative Provision (AP) in the autumn of last year, and took its second evidence session this week.

This latest session took evidence from a number of key witnesses, including Cath Kitchen, Chair of the National Association of Hospital and Home Teaching, Jane Pickthall, Chair of the National Association of Virtual School Heads and Drew Povey, Headteacher of Harrop Fold School.

The Committee heard a variety of evidence critical of the failures of the system as a whole:

  • for SEND pupils, expressing concern over the lack of assessment of needs,
  • the over representation of looked after children in AP
  • the differences of approaches for children with EHC plans and those without
  • the variety of provision and the differing regulatory frameworks of AP and a particular failure to adequately support children with mental health needs.

Witnesses were critical of rigid school behavioural and zero tolerance policies; evidence from Mr Povey was particularly interesting in this regard, since his school operated a policy of no permanent exclusions.

Witnesses emphasised the failure to recognise the impact of poverty and how, whatever the AP provision, a hungry child, a child carer, a child fearing gang violence, a child in poor housing or not knowing where it would be living next week, needed access to much more support.

NGA has recently launched a campaign, Spotlight on Disadvantage. To kick the campaign off we are conducting a survey to help assess the role of those governing in ensuring that disadvantaged young people leave school with the best possible life chances. You can complete the survey via this link.

Governors can find Department for Education statutory guidance on exclusions here and NGA’s four stage guide to exclusions on our website.


Spring Regional Meetings are open for registration

Our regional meetings are a great way to network closely with fellow governors, trustees and clerks. The key topic of discussion for spring 2018, at a regional meeting near you, will be Senior Leadership Teams.

Further items for discussion around Policy will include: disadvantaged children, pupil wellbeing, funding challenges and OFSTED short inspections.

Consideration around Practice will include GDPR, board diversity – Inspiring Governance and the updated NGA and Wellcome Trust Framework for Governance.

More details on the locations and venues for each regional meeting are available through registration on the website. Book your place at this important meeting in your region.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 02/02/2018

NGA Spotlight on Disadvantage – Survey Launched

This week, NGA launched a survey as part of its efforts to improve understanding of the governance role in supporting disadvantaged pupils. The survey is for those governing in schools across England, and asks governors and trustees about the principles underpinning their school’s use of pupil premium funding and their school’s success in helping disadvantaged pupils. The survey takes around fifteen minutes to complete.

Thank you to those who have already completed it, and if you have not already responded, please consider doing so. There is currently little research on the role of governance in helping disadvantaged pupils. Correcting this will allow the NGA to better support schools that are looking to use their pupil premium effectively.

The survey can be accessed here. If you have any questions or comments, please email NGA's Research and Information Officer, Tom Fellows, at tom.fellows@nga.org.uk


Funding round up

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee held a session on Monday 29 January 2018 in response to the consolidated annual report and accounts for the academy sector. The discussions highlighted various financial concerns, including that:

  • the number of academies in deficit is likely to increase
  • 39 academy trusts are subject to financial notices to improve

Click here to read the full committee transcript.

Also this week, headteachers in 32 counties have taken part in a campaign pressing for higher and more fairly distributed funding for schools. As part of the campaign, 5,500 headteachers signed a joint letter to Chancellor Phillip Hammond warning of chronic funding shortages and unequal funding. The letter argues that there is a correspondence between high levels of school funding and high levels of social mobility.

NGA continues to call for a real-terms increase in school funding to account for the increased cost pressures facing schools; you can read more on the Funding the Future campaign page.


Pay offer for council employees

On the 5 December 2017, the Employers’ Side of the National Joint Council set out their final offer for council employees’ pay. In schools, this may include staff such as teaching assistants.

The offer, which would include an uplift of 2% on 1 April 2018 and a further 2% on 1 April 2019 for some employees, has not yet been agreed. However, NGA would remind members to ensure that they keep in mind the potential changes as any increases will have an impact on school budgets.


DfE survey on pupil and parent views

The Department for Education (DfE) has published the latest research report from its omnibus survey of parents and carers. 1,504 paired interviews of pupils in years 7-13 and their parents and carers were undertaken between July and August 2017 as part of the third wave of interviews.

  • the majority (71%) of pupils said that they know how to look after their mental health, with a higher proportion of boys saying so than girls
  • just over half (55%) of parents/carers said that they feel most teachers at their child’s school know how to support their child and around a quarter (26%) feel fully involved in decisions about the support given to their child
  • awareness of changes to GCSE grading had grown among both pupils in year 9 and above and their parents/carers since the first wave of the survey, but pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) and their parents were less likely to be aware than others
  • pupil opinion was mixed on the teaching of personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), with 69% saying it was taught ‘well’ or ‘very well’ and 26% saying it was taught ‘not well’ or ‘not at all well’

To read the report in full, click here.

Visit the Pupils and Parents section of the NGA Guidance Centre here.


Retaining and developing the teaching workforce

This week, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has released a report on retaining and developing the teacher workforce. The report emphasises the imbalance between training new teachers and supporting the existing workforce, with spending on the former being 15 times greater than the latter.

To read a summary of the report, visit the NGA parliamentary page.

Difficulty recruiting and retaining staff is a concern often raised by governors and trustees; 34% of respondents to the 2017 NGA/TES survey said they find it difficult to attract good candidates when recruiting to the post of headteacher, 36% for recruiting to other senior staff posts and 46% recruiting to teaching posts. Among respondents governing secondary schools, 59% said they have difficulty attracting good candidates for teaching posts.

NGA is pleased to see that the PAC report reflects these concerns and will continue dialogue with the Department for Education (DfE) as it works towards a solution.


Revised KS2 and early years data available through analyse school performance (ASP)

This week, the Department for Education (DfE) released an update regarding the data available on analyse school performance (ASP), the government’s replacement for RAISEonline:

  • revised 2017 data is now avail