National Governance Association (NGA) National News 2018

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.

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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 available for key stage 2 and the early years foundation stage
  • the revised 2017 data for key stage 4 will be available in February

If they have not done so already, those governing are strongly encouraged to access ASP and use it as an essential resource for knowing their school(s) well and holding senior leaders to account for educational outcomes. For more information on ASP, please read the article by Tom Fellows, NGA’s Research and Information Officer, in the latest Governing Matters.

NGA offers bespoke training on understanding the data in your school or trust. Please contact training@nga.org.uk for more details.


BBC survey finds squeeze on creative subjects in school

This week, the BBC has released findings of a survey of 1,200 schools which finds that “9 out of 10 respondents have cut back on the lesson time, staff, and facilities in at least one creative subject”. The survey found that music, art, drama, design and technology are being squeezed with “4 in 10 spending less on facilities” and “3 in 10 reducing subject timetables”. The most commons reasons cited for the decline was the government’s increased emphasis on academic subjects and the cutting back of resources caused by funding pressures.

In response to the findings, the Chief Inspector of Ofsted Amanda Spielman said that “academic subjects were the best route to higher-level study, particularly for working-class children” and that she “supported the shift back towards traditional academic subjects at GCSE”.

NGA thinks that all young people should be offered the opportunity to reach their full potential across a range of subjects and that the curriculum should be sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of every child. We do not agree with incentives which seek to steer all pupils down one educational pathway and will continue to promote the benefits of a broad and balanced curriculum offer at GCSE. For more on how creative subjects support learning and attainment, read our cultural education guide produced in partnership with Arts Council England.

Are you passionate about the benefits of cultural activities and sport on education outcomes? The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has launched an inquiry into ways in which taking part in the arts, cultural activities and sport can have a positive impact on health, community and education. The inquiry is open until 22 February 2018 and you can give your response here.


49,187 children reported as missing education in 2016/17

Following a Freedom of Information request in October 2017, the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) has produced a report on the links between children missing education (CME) and poverty and referrals to social services.

The NCB reported that data from 136 local authorities in England, showed:

  • 49,187 children missed education at some point in 2016/17
  • when last on a school roll, 22% of these children were in receipt of free school meals (9% higher than all school aged children)
  • 15% of those recorded as CME were known to social services

Whilst the statutory guidance places a legal duty on local authorities to identify CME, it can also be used by governing boards as non-statutory advice. Governing boards should receive regular reports from the headteacher regarding pupil attendance; including the attendance rates for vulnerable groups of children, such as those in receipt of free school meals. Governing boards should also ensure that the necessary protocols are followed when pupils’ attendance declines.


Updated careers guidance for colleges and sixth form providers

This week, the Department for Education (DfE) has updated its careers guidance for further education and sixth form colleges.

This guidance incorporates the Gatsby Benchmarks into the careers strategy for post-16 providers. This means that colleges and sixth forms should provide:

  • a stable careers programme
  • access to learning from careers and labour market information
  • a programme which addresses the needs of each student
  • a curriculum linked to careers
  • encounters with employers and employees
  • work experience placements
  • encounters with further and higher education
  • personal guidance

Click here to access the guidance. There is a summary of how providers can meet the requirements on pages seven to nine. For more information on careers guidance in schools, see the NGA website.


The National Autistic Society launches Held Back campaign

On Wednesday, the National Autistic Society launched its Held Back campaign in Parliament. The campaign follows the report on autism and education published in November last year by the National Autistic Society and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism.

The report found that autistic children and young people were being ‘let down and held back from achieving their potential by the education system’.

The campaign calls for the government to develop a national autism and education strategy.

Governing boards must work with school leaders to ensure that pupils with autism, and all those with special educational needs and disability (SEND) get the support they need. For more information, visit the SEND section of the NGA Guidance Centre.


Regional Meetings Spring 2018

Don’t forget to book your place at the NGA’s Regional Meetings for spring 2018.

Our Regional Meetings are a great opportunity to network with fellow governors, trustees and clerks and to hear the latest news and discuss a range of topics.

A key topic for discussion at the spring 2018 meetings will be senior leadership teams.

Some of the items for discussion around policy will include disadvantaged children, pupil wellbeing, funding challenges and Ofsted short inspections. The meetings will also consider practise around GDPR, board diversity - Inspiring Governance, and the updated NGA welcome framework.

More details on the locations and venues for each regional meeting are available upon registration though the website on the NGA Events Page


London Regional Conference

We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for NGA’s Regional Conference for London.

The conference will be held on Saturday 21 April 2018 in London and is free for NGA members.

The keynote speaker is the National Schools Commissioner, Sir David Carter.

Dame Judith John, Executive Director of Challenge Partners, will be giving a presentation. Speakers from the Fischer Family Trust and the ARTS Council will give presentations on understanding your school’s data and school improvement and the arts.

More details on the venue and the programme are available upon registration through the website on the NGA Events Page.


NGA’s Consultancy & Training Service: recruiting to the team

We are increasing our team of consultant trainers and are looking for people able to undertake work in London and also people to undertake work for us in the south west region shown here

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 and 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 14 February 2018 and that interviews will take place: 

  • in London on 26 February for those interested in working in London
  • in Swindon on 28 February for those interested in working in the near south west region


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 26/01/2018

Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

NGA-Leading-Governance-MASTER.png

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. 

Develop your leadership skills and confidence. Lead and support your governing board to have real impact on your school’s improvement.

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.

DON’T MISS OUT!  Register today
*Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Please contact NGA for full terms and conditions and to learn more about the funding criteria.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk
0121 237 3780

To learn more, read the press release or a new blog by NGA’s Chief Executive, Emma Knights, who explains how the programmes complement our broader work on improving the standard of governance in schools across the country.


NGA Regional Conferences – Book now!

  • East of England Regional Conference

You can now book your place at the NGA East of England Regional Conference for spring 2018, being held in Stansted on Saturday 3 March 2018

Registration for the event is open for both members and non-members. Places at this regional event are limited and governors and clerks can claim a set number of free places as part of their membership. Book now to avoid disappointment.

The key address will be delivered by the new Regional Schools Commissioner for East of England and North East England, Sue Baldwin.

Jane Hough from the DfE Teacher Workload Unit will give a presentation on Reducing Teacher Workload. The ARTS council and the Fisher Family Trust are also presenting at the event.

Click here to find out more about the conference and secure your place.

  • Yorkshire & Humber Regional Conference

We are pleased to announce that registration is also now open for NGA’s Regional Conference for Yorkshire & Humber.

The conference will be held on Saturday 24 March 2018 in Bradford. Remember that this event is free for NGA members while non-members are also invited to attend, for which there will be a charge of £60.00.

The keynote speaker will be a member of the Head Teachers Board for Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

A presentation on the Wellcome Trust guide to strategies for 2018 will be given by Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governance Association. Speakers from the Fisher Family Trust and the ARTS council will give presentations on understanding your school’s data and school improvement and the arts.

More details on the venue and the programme are available upon registration though the website on the NGA Events Page.


Role of governors in academies and membership of MAT boards explored in Tes

Coverage in Tes today (26/01/2018) explores the role of governors in academy schools and an NGA proposal to widen the membership of multi academy trusts.

Tes report “the rise of multi academy trusts has meant that tens of thousands of traditional school governor posts have been lost, with their power and responsibility over schools stripped away.” With power and responsibility for individual schools “shifting to the single boards of the larger organisations school have joined”, Tes asks, “Are we witnessing the slow death of the school governor, and, if so, does it matter?”

Membership of academy trusts and the importance of local governance and legitimacy are issues that NGA, and others, have repeatedly made a point about – that a small group of members with the power to appoint and remove trustees is not the best model for governing a public service. We have previously argued that schools need to ensure accountability to the parents and the local community and proposed opening membership to a wider group of people in order to truly achieve this. Emma Knights is quoted in Tes in relation to a piece she has written (this is an abridged article of the printed version) on members of academy trusts and exploring a third sector model for academy governance. 

NGA expands on this coverage and explores the ideas further here.


Championing diversity: get involved in our campaign

Did you know that 96% of governors and trustees are white and 90% are over the age of 40? That’s according to the findings in our annual school governance survey 2017. This doesn’t reflect the diversity of our society or the pupils in our schools; we believe that diversity on governing boards matter and so we are running a campaign that seeks to increase the diversity of both age and ethnicity on governing boards.

To help us deliver a successful campaign, we need to hear from existing governing boards who are willing to share their story. We are looking for governors and trustees who represent the diverse cultures and age groups in our society to share their experiences with others, and for governing boards who are already diverse to share their advice with others. If you are interested in finding out more or getting involved, please email Kirstie.Ebbs@nga.org.uk. Read Emma Knights’ new blog here, which delves a little deeper into the data and explores some of the reasons why governing boards should be diverse.


Latest data for secondary school league tables released

On 25 January, the department for education (DfE) released the revised 2016/17 GCSE exam data for secondary schools and published the national league tables.

Here is a snapshot of the headline figures, but NGA would recommend caution when drawing comparisons with the previous year’s data due to the significant changes in GCSE provision:   

  • The “average attainment 8 score per pupil” for all state schools is 46.3, with the percentage of pupils achieving a grade 5 or higher in maths and English being at 42.6%.
  • The gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has fallen by 10% since 2011. However, a report released by the Education and Endowment Foundation (EEF) this week suggests that this is due to disadvantaged pupils being entered for more subjects which count towards the attainment 8 measure rather than an improvement in outcomes.
  • The number of pupils being entered for the Ebacc has decreased by 1.5% since 2016, with 38.2% of pupils being entered in 2017.

Interestingly, the DfE also outline that “365 schools are below the floor standard in 2017 and 271 meet the coasting definition”. This means that 12% of state-funded schools are “below the secondary floor standard”. 

Those governing in secondary schools can now view the latest 2017 data on the Find and Compare Schools in England website. For more information on secondary school accountability measures, see the NGA Guidance Centre


DfE release MAT performance tables

This week also saw the Department for Education (DfE) release of official statistics on MAT performance measures for 2016-2017. Newly published MAT performance tables now allow users to compare and benchmark performance against other MATs at a national level, for both Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 data. However it is worth noting that the tables currently only incorporate MATs with three or more schools that have been part of the trust for at least three years.

The headline figures include:

  • Of the 35,198 key stage (KS) 2 pupils that attend MATs included in this data release (making up 5.9% of the total KS2 cohort), 41% in reading, 59% in writing and 51% in maths made average or above average progress.
  • Of the 54,365 KS4 pupils that attend MATs included in this data release (making 10.4% of the total KS4 cohort), “over half of MATs had Progress 8 scores that were below the national average for state-funded mainstream schools”.
  • 45% of MATs performed “significantly below average” in terms of pupil progress in Key Stage 4 in 2017.

This statistical release also summarises EBacc entry and attainment amongst MATs at KS4 level and gives a breakdown of performance by different pupil groups – including outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.

For guidance specific to MAT’s, visit the NGA guidance Centre. You can also view our submission to the education select committee inquiry on MAT performance here.


DfE update its schools causing concern guidance

This week, the Department for Education (DfE) has updated is schools causing concern guidance, making some changes to the “process for schools that meet the coasting definition”.

The guidance states that “when a school meets the coasting definition, RSCs will engage with the school, and, where appropriate, the school’s trust, local authorities and dioceses, to consider the measures already in place to improve the school’s academic standards, and decide whether additional support is needed, prior to any letters being sent to the school”. The RSC will also look at the “wider context” of the school, performance data and other relevant information (such as improvement plans and the ability of the school to implement these plans effectively). RSCs can then take a range of actions, ranging from no further action to formal action. The guidance emphasises that formal action for coasting schools will occur only in exceptional cases and, most commonly, “the RSC will look to work collaboratively with school leaders to bring about improvement” using a range of support mechanisms.

NGA has produced guidance on what it means for a school to be “coasting” and potential implications. This guidance will be updated in shortly to account for the changes to the DfE guidance.


Damian Hinds and Nick Gibb speeches to Education World Forum

This week, the new education secretary Damian Hinds gave a speech at the World Education Forum, an annual seminar held in London and attended by education minsters and policy makers from across the world. In his speech, Mr Hinds discussed the implications of rapid technological change for education policy and said that “core academic subjects are at the heart” of preparing students for success in the future. On skills, he said that “soft skills”, character and resilience are “important for what anybody can achieve in life, as well as for the success of our economies” and that the ethos of the school has an important developmental role here.

Nick Gibb, the secretary of state for school standards, also delivered a speech at the conference, commenting that the best way for policy makers to ensure education equity is through a “curriculum which endows pupils with the knowledge they need, so that they are best prepared for the rigours of a globalised 21st century jobs market.”

You can read the full speeches delivered by Mr Hinds here and Mr Gibb here.


Lack of Ofsted inspections on children centres

Action for Children has raised concerns surrounding the lack of inspection regime for children centres across the country.

In September 2015, the government, pending a consultation scheduled for the end of that year, suspended inspections of children centres. As a result, over 1,000 children centres in England have not received an inspection for the last five years, and Action for Children are now calling for this to end, reporting that families are being let down as a direct consequence of the inspection suspension.  

The charity points to local authorities being left with “no clear national standards or framework” for these services. Sir Tony Hawkhead, Chief Executive of Action for Children, has stated that the “ongoing freeze of Ofsted inspections is undermining” children centres, as it is not difficult to determine the quality of children centres around in England.


New guidance on automatic disqualification rules for charity trustees

The government has released new guidance for individuals regarding automatic disqualification rules for charity trustees. The guidance covers:

  • whether an individual is disqualified under current automatic disqualification rules
  • if an individual will become disqualified when the rules change
  • what individuals might need to do as a result of the new changes including how to apply from 1 February 2018 to have their disqualification under the new rules waived before the rules change

As academy trusts are charitable companies limited by guarantee, the disqualifications will apply to academy trust board trustees. In addition to the above, trustees will also need to follow the disqualification criteria set out in the trust’s articles of association.


EPI report on the impact of Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) policy

This week the Education Policy Institute (EPI), in collaboration with CooperGibson research, has released a report evaluating the impact of the Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) policy introduced in 2014. The UIFSM gives all children, regardless of their background, access to a free school meal in key stage (KS) one. Drawing upon data from 10 case study visits, a survey of staff in 237 schools, a survey of 508 parents, 17 interviews with catering staff and “cost proformas” from 22 schools, the researchers found that:

  • Parents taking up free school meals for children in KS1, has risen from 38% in 2013/14 to 80% overall in 2015/16. Small schools (under 500 pupils) and rural schools have the highest take-up rate.
  • Parents, on average, have saved £10 per week, and 50 minutes in time, yet schools have noted “significant costs” in delivering the UIFSM, with many having to alter the way they provide school lunches.
  • Although many schools have not changed their food policies as a result of UIFSMs, it has led to a general increase in the “profile of healthy eating” across schools.
  • A minority of the parents, school leaders and teachers surveyed reported that UIFSM had impacted upon the educational, social and health outcomes of children. However, the EPI outlined that more work needs to be done to assess the full impact of the funding on educational outcomes.

Overall, the EPI suggest that “the estimated economic resource costs of the policy are smaller than the value of financial and time savings for families, making UIFSM a potentially cost-effective educational intervention on these terms”.


NGA spotlight on … disadvantage

On Tuesday, three former members of the Social Mobility Commission, who all resigned in December in protest against the government’s lack of progress on the issue, gave evidence to the education select committee.

The three were highly critical of the commission’s treatment with the government’s ability and willingness to deliver significant improvement also being strongly questioned. A more detailed overview of the session can be accessed on the NGA Parliamentary Business page.

Meanwhile, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) published a new report looking at the attainment gap (the gap between the attainment of disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils) in England, claiming that progress in closing the attainment gap will stall in the next five years. You can read more on this here.  

Helping disadvantaged children reach their potential is a concern for all schools. National schools commissioner, Sir David Carter, wrote an article in this month’s Governing Matters which set out how governing boards can help support disadvantaged pupils.


Survey results: Teacher mental health impacting pupil progress

A survey of 775 teachers carried out by Teachwire and Leeds Beckett University, explores the relationship between teachers’ mental health and their ability to teach and maintain constructive interactions with students. A substantial number of teachers (77%) stated that poor mental health is having a negative impact on pupils’ progress.

Other key findings include:

  • 94% of teacher say that mental health can have a negative impact on their physical energy in the classroom
  • 81% said poor mental health has a detrimental impact on the quality of their relationship with learners
  • 73% believe mental health can have a negative impact on the quality of their explanations in lessons
  • 89% believe that their mental health can have a negative impact on creativity in their teaching

The governing board has a duty of care to its employees and should ensure their health, safety and wellbeing at work. This should include measures to prevent staff from working excessive hours and consulting employees on issues that concern them. As a governing board, how do we know that our schools are healthy organisations? The governing board needs to be aware of the culture and climate at the school, and to do that, must make sure they hear from the school’s staff. There are various ways of doing this, but it should include a regular staff survey, so that the views and needs of staff need can be set alongside the views and needs of parents and pupils. For more guidance click here.


The Right People Around the Table: Helping you find governors with the right blend of knowledge and skills to lead your school

Coming soon: The Right People Around the Table offers practical guidance on the governor recruitment cycle. From evaluating your current board and finding new governors, to the appointment process and providing induction training, we hope this guide will provide you with everything you need to support you in finding skilled and committed people to lead your school. We are updating this guidance to include even more tips for finding governors with the right blend of knowledge and skills and, in partnership with Inspiring Governance, highlight useful features that will simplify the recruitment process. We expect to launch the updated guidance at the end of February, so please look out for it in a future newsletter.

In the meantime, you can learn how Inspiring Governance is continuing to help schools unearth skilled governors in their local community in this case study from Carter Community School in Dorset. The case study outlines how the school found four new governors with Inspiring Governance.


Regional Meetings Spring 2018

We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for the NGA’s Regional Meetings for spring 2018.

Our Regional Meetings are a great opportunity to network with fellow governors, trustees and clerks to hear the latest news and discuss a range of topics.

A key topic for discussion at the spring 2018 meetings will be Senior Leadership Teams.

Some of the items for discussion around policy will include disadvantaged children, pupil wellbeing, funding challenges and OFSTED short inspections. The meetings will also consider practise around GDPR, board diversity - Inspiring Governance and the updated NGA welcome framework.

More details on the locations and venues for each regional meeting are available upon registration though the website on the NGA Events Page


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 19/01/2018

Governing Matters: January/February edition

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

Cover stories include:

  • Valuing governors and trustees – The NGA annual conference

Ian Courtney MBE informed delegates that this was his last conference as chair.

Emma Knights, NGA’s chief executive, commented on the great work governors and trustees do and thanked them for giving up their time.

  • Tackling disadvantage – How effective governance supports all students 

David Carter, the national schools commissioner, explains how high-quality and effective governance contributes to the goal of a world-class education for every child.

  • Pension alert – Considerations for academy conversion

Toby Simon, a councillor in the London Borough of Enfield and chair of governors at Brettenham Primary School, explains an unwelcome consequence of the drive to increase academy numbers.

  • Membership news – The 2017 NGA annual membership survey

Francey Smith, NGA’s head of marketing and communications, summarises the findings from the NGA annual membership survey.

  • Research matters – To pay or not to pay?

Ron Hill, honorary professor in education at the University of Stirling, and Dr Colin Forrest, honorary research fellow at Leeds Trinity University, look at evidence from Northern Ireland on whether financial remuneration improves the quality of governance.

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.


Sir David Carter writes about governors and trustees in the latest Tes

Writing in Tes this week, Sir David Carter (National Schools Commissioner) defines governors and trustees as the “unsung heroes of the education system” and goes on to say that “effective governance lies at the heart of school improvement.”

Throughout the article, he provides views on what effective governance looks like including recruitment being based on the right skills, knowledge and experience; the need for continual reassessment of the expertise and capacity of the board and the importance of the ongoing development of governors and trustees.

Sir David also emphasises the importance of accountability in “establishing strong working relationships, particularly between executive leaders, heads and their boards”, specifying how the board should be improving outcomes for the most disadvantaged learners by asking challenging questions and using data. Also explored is the need for a clear vision that is “determined at board level and co-constructed with executive leaders” and which connects with “the daily experience of children.”

Finally, the need for induction training for new governors and trustees is stressed. Sir David points out the free support provided by NGA to governors and trustees recruited through Inspiring Governance, and the contracts being awarded by the DfE for governance and clerking development, of which NGA Leading Governance is one.


MPs’ concerns about transparency in MAT system

The chair of the House of Commons Education Select Committee has written to Lord Agnew, the minister with responsibility for the school system and school governance, raising “concerns over a lack of transparency and accountability” in the multi academy trust (MAT) system.

The issues addressed in the letter include a lack of communication to parents and an overlap between the roles of regional schools commissioners (RSCs), Ofsted and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) in the accountability system. The committee suggests that RSCs publish scorecards for trusts, combining financial and performance information, to complement their ‘growth checks’ and improve transparency about decision making. The letter also raises concern about MATs “stripping assets from their schools”.

NGA agrees with the committee when it comes to the importance of transparency in the school system; governing boards can play their part in this by ensuring a culture of openness and genuine stakeholder engagement in their schools or trusts.

For more guidance on governing in a MAT, visit the Guidance Centre. To read the Education Select Committee’s letter, click here.


Damian Hinds writes in The Times about several new DfE initiatives

This week, the £45 million MAT Development and Improvement Fund, which was first announced in October 2017, has been allocated to over 400 multi-academy trusts (MATs) “to improve underperforming schools”. £30 million of this money will betargeted “to around 300 academy trusts in areas facing the greatest challenges across England”.

The government has also published the next six Opportunity Area plans (Bradford, Doncaster, Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, Hastings, Ipswich and Stoke-on-Trent) and shared out £25 million across 75 projects aimed at giving “more support for schools, many of which will increase pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills”.

Accompanying this announcement, the new education secretary, Damian Hinds, has written an article in The Times reiterating the governments’ ambitions for education – welcoming the “rigorous new curriculum and a return to core academic subjects” introduced in recent years and supporting the need for “high-quality vocational routes” post 16.

In addition, Mr Hinds also spoke about the success of schools being “down, not just to syllabus or structures or systems, but, most of all, to people”. He said that “there would be no great schools were it not for great teachers”, stressing the need to ensure that teaching is “an attractive profession” for both “young people” and “established professionals”, including those with non-educational career backgrounds.


Facilities management company, Carillion goes into compulsory liquidation

Members may be aware that, earlier this week, facilities management and construction company Carillion went into compulsory liquidation.

Carillion provided facilities management and catering services to some schools. Minister for the Cabinet Office, David Lidington, said in a statement to the House of Commons that about 219-230 schools have contracts with Carillion plus a small number of building contracts.

If you govern at a school that will be affected by the compulsory liquidation, NGA advises that you speak to your headteacher to ensure that there are short-term and long-term contingencies plans in place.

Members can access further information regarding the ongoing situation by clicking here.

This week has also seen the publication of a National Audit Office (NAO) report on the rationale, costs and benefits of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Many schools have buildings which were financed through PFI contracts, including with Carillion, and this is often associated with significant costs and restrictions (see a previous newsletter article). The NAO report highlights increased transparency, ongoing incentives which have driven PFI use, and a lack of data on the benefits.


NAO report on delivering STEM

The National Audit Office (NAO) has published an assessment of the government’s approach to increasing participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) education to boost the number of people with the right STEM skills. The report finds that so far the government “has spent, or committed to spending, £990 on key STEM-specific interventions between 2007 and autumn 2017” in an effort to boost STEM skills for the future economy.

The report finds that, on skills and careers: 

  • there is a STEM skills mismatch rather than a simple shortage; there is a shortage of STEM skills at technician level, but an oversupply in other areas such biological science graduate numbers
  • there is a persistent trend of female underrepresentation at all stages of the STEM skills pipeline

On education, the NAO finds that “some STEM initiatives have been effective but overall coordination has been lacking.” Key findings include:   

  • there was a 3% increase in STEM A levels entries between 2011/12 and 2016/17
  • last year, just 8% of STEM apprenticeship starts were female, despite an equal gender split on all apprenticeship starts

The report concludes that “the absence of a precise understanding of the STEM skills problem means the efforts of the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy are not well prioritised and a better targeted approach is needed to demonstrate value for money”. The full NAO report is available to read here.

Governing boards must ensure that good quality advice on options for further education, careers and apprenticeships is made available to all young people. For further guidance on questions to ask primary and secondary school leaders on science, maths and careers provision, visit the Wellcome Trust’s Questions for Governors website. Also of note is the government’s Year of Engineering campaign to encourage more young people, especially girls, to consider a career in engineering. You can read more about the campaign and access further resources here.


Teaching unions call for significant pay increase

Teaching unions including the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), National Education Union (NEU) and Voice have written to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) detailing “strongly held concerns about the longstanding erosion of pay across the teaching profession as a whole”.

The unions are calling for a restorative pay award and an annual cost of living increase distinct from pay progression based on performance. They argue that any recommendations must be fully funded by government and that the STRB should set out its view about what the appropriate levels of pay for teachers and school leaders would be without the constraints of the government’s pay policy and schools’ funding position. The unions believe that the available evidence “must lead the STRB to recommend a significant increase in pay for all teachers and school leaders, irrespective of their career stage, setting or geographical location”.

To read the letter in full, click here. NGA will be submitting its own evidence to the STRB in due course and this will be made available on our website.


NFER report on school funding since 2010

A new report from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NEFR) focuses on the affect recent changes to school funding has had on school spending in England. The full report can be accessed here.

The key findings include:

  • the “observed benefits of higher spending are typically greater” for disadvantaged pupils
  •  the NFF could “significantly reduce” the difference in funding between schools with similar characteristics if fully implemented
  • pupils living in the least deprived areas will experience the highest relative gains in funding as a result of the NFF
  • Schools are expected to face ongoing significant cost increases, especially in regard to staffing

NGA is continuing the campaign to increase school funding in real-terms to account for increased cost pressures facing schools; you can read more on the funding the future campaign page.


Speech from the DfE’s apprenticeship and skills minister touches on the future of 16-19 funding

This week, Anne Milton, apprenticeship and skills minister in the department for education, delivered a speech at the Sixth Form Colleges Association conference.

One of Ms Milton’s key messages was that the sixth form sector needed “to harness capacity to improve from within the sector through collaboration, rather than relying on competition to achieve improvement”. She acknowledged that there was “widespread concern about the level of funding for 16-19 year olds … particular for those… who will continue to follow academic programmes”.  However, she also stated that the 2015 Spending review was designed to protect the “base rate of £4,000 per student per year … until at least 2020” and that this “did set spending plans for the next few years”. She stated that the government would “return to the question of funding in the longer term”.

NGA is also aware that 16-19 budgets are particularly stretched. This is why NGA recently signed a letter, along with six other organisations, calling for the government to increase 16 to 19 funding by £200 per pupil. NGA continues to support the Support Our Sixth-Formers campaign led by the Association of Colleges (AoC).

For more on post 16 education, including specific guidance on funding for sixth forms, click here.


Open letter to Ofsted following early years report

On Tuesday, an open letter organised by ‘Keeping Early Years Unique’ was published in the Guardian. The letter expressed shared concern about Ofsted’s ‘Bold Beginnings’ report, which was released in November 2017. The report had been critical of the status quo in education in reception, claiming that it was a “false start” for many.

The letter argued that ‘Bold Beginnings’ would lead to a narrowing of the curriculum due to additional focus on numeracy and literacy. Concerns were also raised about an increase in formal teaching in reception, consequently lessening the opportunity for play. The report was described as both ‘biased’ and based upon “flawed evidence”, while the letter predicted that its implementation would be a “potential disaster.”

Notable signatures included TV presenter and academic Robert Winston, and the shadow early years minister Tracy Brabin. The National Education Union’s joint general secretaries, Kevin Courtney and Dr Mary Bousted, also signed the letter alongside more than 1,850 others.

Governing boards should ensure that they have knowledge of the approach to early years teaching in their school, and the other options available, so that they can effectively challenge senior leaders.


GDPR – are you ready?

To help schools prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation which comes into effect in May 2018, the Department for Education (DfE) has released a quick video emphasising the main points schools need to be considering and answering the key questions many schools are asking.

You can access the video here.

For more on GDPR, visit the NGA Guidance Centre.


NASEN Survey: good practice on partnerships with parents and carers

The National Association of Special Educational Needs (NASEN) has opened a survey, which aims to spread good practice on the subject of SEND in schools. The aim of the survey is to highlight and share practice which helps to make partnerships with parents and carers stronger and more productive.

If you would like to complete NASEN’s short survey click here.

In addition, NGA has guidance and resources on SEND in the Guidance Centre.


Join the Learning Link revolutionNGA-Learning-Link-logo-(MASTER-Transparent).png

Following our newsletter article on 24 November there has been a 10% increase in new users of Learning Link, NGA’s e-learning service. Well done to all who checked their subscription and registered to get started!

We would again recommend that you check with your clerk whether you should have access. If they do not know they can check with your LA, MAT, school or academy to see if you should have access to this valuable resource. Do not just take our word for it, here is a quote from a delighted user:

“I have found the layout and context and progress through the course to be helpful and has increased my confidence of what I need to know and how I should hold the school leaders to account. The fact that I may access it at times that suit me is great too.”

To find out more about Learning Link, click here. If you do not have access to Learning Link and think it would be useful contact Bill.Kiely@nga.org.uk to discuss your requirements.


Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE


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. 

Develop your leadership skills and confidence. Lead and support your governing board to have real impact on your school’s improvement.

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 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.*

DON’T MISS OUT!  Register today
*Funding is limited and on a first come, first served basis. Please contact NGA for full terms and conditions and to learn more about the funding criteria.

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
leading.governance@nga.org.uk
0121 237 3780

To learn more, read the press release or a new blog by NGA’s Chief Executive, Emma Knights, who explains how the programmes complement our broader work on improving the standard of governance in schools across the country.


Sign up for a free Removing Unnecessary Teacher Workload Event

The Department for Education (DfE) Teacher Workload Unit, in collaboration with school leaders and teachers across the country, is running a series of events to showcase work that is currently being done in schools to effectively reduce teacher workload. Each event will start with a presentation from a key note speaker (such as Sean Harford, Ofsted’s National Director, Education, or the Chairs of the independent review groups on workload). This will be followed by the opportunity to participate in workshops run by serving teachers and leaders who have successfully established approaches to reducing workload in their schools.

The events are open to governing boards as well as senior leaders and teachers; governors and trustees could consider attending with a member of the senior leadership team. The events are free and registration is currently open for events in Manchester, London, Sheffield, Exeter and Cambridge. To sign up for an event on the DfE website, click here.


NGA’s Consultancy & Training Service: recruiting to the team

We are increasing our team of consultant trainers and are looking for people able to undertake work in London and also people to undertake work for us in the near SW region shown here

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 February 14th and that interviews will take place: 

  • In London on 26th February for those interested working in London
  • In Swindon on 28th February for those interested in working in the near SW region


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 12/01/2018

Damian Hinds replaces Justine Greening as Education Secretary

During Monday’s cabinet reshuffle, it was announced that Damian Hinds (MP for East Hampshire) would replace Justine Greening as Secretary of State for Education.

The role is Hinds’ first cabinet position, having previously served in a number of junior minister roles, most recently in the Department of Work and Pensions. He served on the House of Commons Education Select Committee between 2010 and 2012 and has previously chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility. Prior to his election to parliament, the new Secretary of State’s professional background is in the pubs, brewing and hotels industries.

While no announcements have yet been made about how the change will affect Department for Education (DfE) policy, there is some suggestion that some of the proposals in 2016’s ‘Schools that work for everyone’ consultation will be revisited. Hinds has previously spoken in favour of removing the cap on faith based admissions for free schools with a religious character and it has been suggested that he might be more enthusiastic about some degree of grammar school expansion than his predecessor. He has previously written about the importance of the early years and high quality teaching.

There have also been some additional changes to the junior ministerial line up in the DfE:

  • Sam Giymah has replaced Jo Johnson as minister for higher education
  • Robert Goodwill was removed from his post as minister of state for children and families after only being appointed in June 2017
  • Nadhim Zahawi has been appointed as parliamentary under-secretary of state but his responsibilities have not yet been confirmed

NGA meets with Lord Agnew, the minister responsible for school governance, on a termly basis and will continue to engage as much as possible with the DfE to raise the standard of school governance and ensure an excellent education for every child in England.

Want to find out more about NGA’s policy work? You can find our position statements and consultation responses in the what we think section of the website.


Substantial updates to statutory careers guidance for schools

On Friday 5 January, the government updated its statutory careers guidance for schools. The updates to this document are designed to bring it in line with the government’s new careers strategy, built around the so-called “Gatsby Benchmarks”. Some of the “core” initiatives schools are now required to provide as part of this new initiative include:

  • a “stable” programme for careers provision, including a published strategy which demonstrates “how the school is responding to meeting the Gatsby Benchmarks”
  • provision for all pupils, by the age of 14, to “have “accessed and used information about career paths and the labour market to inform their decisions on study options”
  • a careers programme which addresses individual pupil needs, including taking into account the needs of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)  and those with specific barriers to success (such as disadvantaged young people)
  • an approach which integrates careers guidance into the curriculum offer
  • regular “encounters with employers and employees” and “further and higher education” providers
  • the opportunity for all pupils to access “personal guidance interviews with a qualified careers adviser whenever significant study or career choices are being made”
  • the requirement to have a named individual as the designated “careers leader” in each school by September 2018

As part of this initiative, those governing need to ensure that the school has published a careers programme, and provide “clear advice and guidance to the headteacher on which he/she can base a strategy for careers education and guidance which meets the school’s legal requirements”. The government also expect governing boards to ensure that the careers strategy “is developed in line with the Gatsby Benchmarks and informed by the requirements set out” in the statutory guidance document.

As a first step, those governing should familiarise themselves with the updated statutory guidance and visit the NGA website for more on careers provision.


New measures on literacy announced

One of Justine Greening’s final acts as education secretary was the announcement of a series of measures to improve primary literacy. The Department for Education (DfE) presented these changes as the continuation of its social mobility action plan. The programmes announced included:

  • A new Centre of Excellence for Literacy Training which will use £26 million to create a national network of 35 “English hubs”. These hubs will reflect the approach taken for maths hubs by working with schools in disadvantaged areas to raise standards, while also sharing best practice, especially concerning language and literacy training in reception.
  • New phonics and readings partnerships will be set up from April 2018. These build on existing programmes and aim to encourage pupils to enjoy reading, while also promoting improvements in teaching, especially in reception.
  • The Strategic School Improvement Fund will provide £5.7 million to initiatives boosting early years and primary literacy and numeracy across 469 schools.
  • A trial across the North of England exploring approaches that enhance parental support to early language development at home, costing £5 million.
  • A £7.7 million curriculum fund to support the creation of high quality teaching resources by various organisations, including scientific and cultural institutions.

The DfE has claimed that the measures will reduce teacher workload, while Greening stated that it was part of the overall strategy of ensuring that “no community will be left behind”.


Figures put staff wellbeing in spotlight

Figures obtained through a freedom of information request show that 3,750 teachers were on sick-leave for a month or more during the 2016-17 school year as a result of stress and mental health issues: the equivalent of one in every 83 teachers. The total number of sick days taken for these reasons in 2016 was 312,000.

Governing boards have a duty of care to school staff and should ensure their health, safety and wellbeing at work. This should include measures to prevent staff from working excessive hours and engaging to identify and tackle any issues. The governing board is directly responsible for performance managing the headteacher and workload and wellbeing should form part of these discussions. Governors and trustees should also assure themselves that staff at all levels are being supported appropriately. Creating a culture where staff wellbeing is promoted and prioritised is a key part of good governance.

Governing Matters: Teacher workload.


Delays on putting Education, Health and Care plans in place

A TES investigation has revealed that in 2016, 903 children who were assessed for an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan) waited for longer than a year for their plan. This is based on figures obtained via a freedom of information request from 81 local authorities and amounted to “about 4% of all pupils who were assessed”.

In accordance with the SEND Code, the whole process from the point when an assessment is requested (or a child or young person is brought to the local authority’s attention) until the final EHC plan is issued must take no more than 20 weeks. Although there are some exceptions to this deadline, for example if the child is absent from the area for at least four weeks, the TES figures excluded these.

Figures published by the Department for Education (DfE) stated that in 2016 (excluding cases where exceptions apply), 41.4% of EHC plans were not issued within the 20 week time limit. The DfE’s figures do not however include details on how long plans take once the 20 week limit has passed.

Governing boards should ensure that they monitor the progress of pupils with EHCPs. Governors should also ensure that they are satisfied that the necessary interventions have been put in place and that the current processes are working. For more on SEND including guidance specific to governing boards, click here.


Amanda Spielman speech on science and the curriculum

Last week, chief inspector of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, delivered a speech at the Association for Science Education’s annual conference in which she discussed the importance of a challenging curriculum with sufficient time to teach science stating “exams should exist in service to the curriculum, rather than the other way around.”

Ms Spielman discussed the preliminary findings of Ofsted’s study into the curriculum which NGA reported on in October. She raised issues from the study including the reduction of teaching time spent on science at primary school in favour of preparation for English and Maths SATs.

In relation to governance, Ms Spielman said that “too few governing bodies look to understand curriculum quality or hold leaders to account for the curriculum beyond looking at test outcomes”.  It was disappointing that Ms Spielman’s comments about governing boards was negative, rather than using her speech to urge governing boards to ask more probing questions about the curriculum. 

NGA has for a long time been urging governing boards to ensure that their curriculum is broad and balanced, while emphasising the importance of avoiding knee-jerk reactions. Bearing this in mind, governing boards should be asking how well the curriculum provides for and stretches all pupils. More guidance - including in-depth questions that governing boards can use in order to hold leaders to account for the curriculum - can be found here.  

A transcript of the speech is available here.


Open letter detailing funding for post-16 providers for 2017-18

On Tuesday 9 January, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) wrote an open letter to post-16 education providers detailing the funding arrangements for 2018 to 2019. This letter confirmed that the “national base rates” for 16 and 17 year olds would remain the same as last year at £4,000 per full time student.

The letter provides a summary of the different strands of funding that providers might receive depending on their historical circumstances, curriculum offer or pupil intake, as well as giving information concerning additional funding for providers that have a higher intake of students “taking a level 3 maths qualification” compared to last year. It also includes a summary of 2018-19 formula protection funding, information in relation to high needs students and lagged student numbers.

NGA is aware that, amongst education providers, 16-19 budgets are particularly stretched. This is why NGA recently signed a letter, along with six other organisations, calling for the government to increase 16 to 19 funding by £200 per pupil. NGA continues to support the Support Our Sixth-Formers campaign led by the Association of Colleges (AoC).


Survey on the education of deaf children

The Consortium for Research into Deaf Education (CRIDE) recently published a report from their annual survey on education staffing and service provision for deaf children. With the BBC reporting that the number of children identified as needing support has risen by 31%, the report reveals that the number of specialist teachers has been cut by 14% in the last seven years.

Amongst the 45,631 deaf children in England, the report found that:

  • 78% attended mainstream schools with no specialist provisions and 6% attend mainstream schools with resource provisions
  • 3% attended special schools for deaf children and 12% attend special schools not specifically for deaf children

All governing boards should ensure that adequate provisions are in place for pupils who require it. More information on SEND provisions can be found in the Department for Education’s SEND Code of Practice.

NGA has also produced various pieces of guidance relating to SEND here.


Video explains changes to primary assessment

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) has published a short video setting out changes to primary assessment. Longer webinars on primary assessment are also available on the same site.

While the changes outlined for 2018 are minor and operational and therefore relevant for school staff, governing boards may find the brief overview and the summary of planned future changes to primary assessment informative.

NGA has produced guidance on primary assessment which is available on the monitoring performance pages of the guidance centre: click here.


East of England Regional Conference

Registration is open for NGA’s Regional Conference for the East of England.

The conference will be held on Saturday 3 March 2018 in Stansted and is free for NGA members. Non-members are also invited to attend for which there will be a charge of £60. However, upon registering for the conference, non-members will be invited to join the NGA and if they do so their attendance at the event will be free.

The Keynote Speaker is the Regional Schools Commissioner for East of England and North-East London, Sue Baldwin. There will also be presentations from the Department for Education on teacher workload as well as the Arts Council with leaders from the regional Arts Council Bridge Organisation speaking on school improvement and the arts.

More details on the venue and the programme are available upon registration though the website on the NGA Events Page.


NGA Clerks’ Conference

The second annual NGA Clerks’ Conference, being held on Monday 19 February 2018 in Birmingham, is now open for bookings. The conference is for clerks who are individual members of the NGA as well as those whose governing boards are members.

Registration for the event is from 10:00am for a 10:30am start, finishing at 3:30pm.

The day will include an update on the NGA Clerking Matters campaign and workshops on effective clerking. Attendees will be able to choose two out of three workshops offered on the following topics:

  • the basics of clerking a governing board
  • managing relationships within a governing board
  • clerking within a multi-academy trust

More details on the workshops are available upon registration from the Events Page of the website and remember to visit the Clerking Matters section of the NGA website for more information and guidance on our work with clerks


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 05/01/2018

New Year’s honours recognise service of governors and trustees, plus NGA’s chief executive

Governors and trustees from schools and trusts in England were recognised in the New Year’s honours for their service to education or to children with special educational needs and disabilities. It is hugely important to recognise and reward the contribution of governors and trustees for their role in improving the education of children and young people, and NGA actively encourages nominations. We would like to extend our warm congratulations and thanks to all those honoured. A list of recipients can be found here.

NGA’s guidance on honours can be accessed here.

Also receiving recognition is NGA’s chief executive, Emma Knights, who received an OBE for services to education. Commenting on the honour, Emma said:

“I am delighted to have recognition for the work of the National Governance Association - past, present and future. So many people have contributed to raising the profile of school governance. Most importantly, the honour is also due to the 250,000 volunteers governing state schools in England who give freely their time for the benefit of pupils and whom NGA supports. The good wishes sent to me over the past week have been extremely touching and the number of people celebrating this award as recognition of school governance was humbling. Thank you. It was also very pleasing to see sixteen governors and trustees honoured for their voluntary contribution, and we are happy to help others nominate for this coming year. But only a few will be recognised in this way, so let’s make 2018 a year in which all our volunteers are thanked.”


Legal obligation on schools to provide additional careers advice provision comes into force

This week, new provisions within the Technical and Further Education Act 2017 came into force. As part of the Act, schools must “ensure that there is an opportunity for a range of education and training providers to access registered pupils during the relevant phase of their education for the purpose of informing them about approved technical education qualifications or apprenticeships”.

To meet the requirements of the Act a school must “explain in a policy statement how providers can get involved with your school and the opportunities you have for them to talk to your pupils”. Details of what should be included in this statement can be found here, with more guidance on the Act from the department for education expected in the New Year.

It is important that young people receive good advice about the options open to them so that they choose the right course for them, rather than struggle on the wrong one. For more on what those governing need to know about providing careers advice in schools, visit the NGA guidance centre.


Updated NGA Ofsted guidance

At the end of 2017 it was announced that Ofsted was going ahead with reform of the short inspections system following an earlier consultation. As a result, there will now be four possible outcomes from a short inspection: 

  • if inspectors are confident that the school remains ‘good’, the school will receive a letter confirming this; another short inspection will take place in approximately 3 years (in line with the existing system);
  • if there are “serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education”, the school will receive a full inspection within 48 hours;
  • if inspectors suspect that there has been a decline and the school is no longer ‘good’, the school will receive a letter setting out the findings and a full inspection will take place “typically within one to two years but no later than five years since the previous full section 5 inspection”;
  • if inspectors believe that there has been an improvement towards ‘outstanding’, the school will receive a letter setting out the findings and a full inspection within two years.

NGA has now updated its suite of guidance on Ofsted to take account of these changes. You can access the updated guidance here or by exploring our latest guidance page, which will also direct you to other recent NGA updates such as the brand new Headteacher Recruitment Toolkit.

NGA offer a session for governing boards on preparing for Ofsted. Contact training@nga.org.uk for more details.


GDPR compliant model privacy notices for schools

This week, the Department for Education (DfE) update its model privacy notices, often issued by schools and local authorities to parents, pupils and staff in relation to data collection. The privacy notices have been enhanced to be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which comes into force in May 2018. The DfE highlights that these models are simply a recommendation; schools and local authorities are free to review and amend the wording to reflect their individual circumstances.

To access and gather additional details on the DfE’s privacy notice model documents, click here.

Further information relating to key changes soon to be introduced by the GDPR can be found on the NGA Guidance Centre.


Open consultation on changes to the teaching of Sex and Relationship Education and Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

The Department for Education is seeking views to help establish what improvements need to be made to how relationship and sex education (RSE) and personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) is taught in schools.

You can read previous NGA updates on this topic here. The survey asks for views on a number of topics related to these subjects. It should take around 30 minutes to complete.


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 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 will commence in February 2018 and will provide:

  • 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.


Geographic inequality in access to school places

Research from the Education Policy Institute has found that “access to high performing schools in England has become more geographically unequal over the period 2010-2015”. The report looks at secondary schools only.

Using a measure of value added to define high performance, the analysis found that:

  • access to high performing schools is good in areas such as London and parts of the south; the proportion of pupils in these areas attending these schools rose from 49% in 2010 to 58% in 2015
  • access to high performing schools is poor in areas such as the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and parts of the midlands; the proportion of pupils in these areas attending high performing schools fell in these areas from 6% in 2010 to 5% in 2015

The report’s authors conclude that the government’s opportunity areas policy is addressing the identified lack of high performing schools in some areas but highlights that no area has been identified in the North East where they found significant need.

Governing boards will of course already be working to ensure that their schools offer high quality places and to support improvement in other local schools. NGA will be publishing new guidance on school improvement later this year; if you would like to share how your governing board has improved access to high quality school places in your area, please get in touch with fay.holland@nga.org.uk.

To read the Education Policy Institute report in full, click here.


Scrutiny of the proposals to improve mental health provision for children and young people

In light of the government’s green paper to improve mental health provision for children and young people, the Education and Health Select Committees have launched a joint inquiry to “scrutinise the proposed scope and implementation of the green paper, and to follow up on their previous recommendations.”

The committees intend to begin hearing oral evidence this month and NGA will update members with future developments.

NGA has previously reported on the proposals of the green paper and related consultation, which we will be responding to. We welcome any thoughts you would like to contribute and would encourage our members to submit their own responses as well.

NGA also gave evidence to the joint inquiry by the Education and Health Select Committees in January 2017, regarding the role of education in children and young people’s mental health.


Social media use among younger children

New research published by the Children’s Commissioner looked at the use of social media among children between the ages of 8 and 12. It suggests that a growing number of children in this age group are accessing social media, despite being below the minimum age limit for most platforms. The transition between primary and secondary school was found to be a significant time as social circles were expanding both at school and online.

The report calls on schools to “‘improve teachers’ knowledge about the impacts of social media on children’s wellbeing and encourage peer-to-peer learning”. It argues that digital literacy education should develop children’s ability to look critically at the content they see online and help them understand that algorithms are used to shape the content they see.

Governing boards of both primary and secondary schools should ensure that staff are trained to deliver high quality personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) lessons, which should include the use of social media. Online safety is also a core part of schools’ safeguarding duty.

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety Education (UKCCIS) has produced guidance and suggests some questions for governing boards to ask their school leader, which are available in the guidance centre.


Ofqual data shows rise in GCSE, AS and A-level malpractice

This week, the office of qualifications and examinations regulation (Ofqual) has released data showing that the number of malpractice instances amongst students and staff taking GCSE, AS and A-level exams has risen this year.

While 2,180 penalties were issued to students in 2016, this rose to 2,715 in 2017. Furthermore, the number of penalties issued to staff has more than doubled from 360 to 895 since 2016. Only penalties for colleges and schools has decreased, from 155 to 120.

The most common reasons for malpractice, and the penalties issued, were:

  • For students, 50% of malpractice instances revolved around being in possession of “unauthorised materials” during an exam, with mobile phones making up 78% of the offending items. Although the most common penalty was a warning, many students lost marks and, in some cases, were disqualified from receiving an award.
  • For staff, “maladministration” made up 46% of cases, with “improper assistance” making up a further 31% of cases. The penalties issued against staff also ranged in severity from the need to undertake training to suspension from exam involvement or a written warning.
  • For colleges or schools, 51% of cases revolved around maladministration, with a further 31% concerning security breaches. Exam centres found to have been involved in malpractice were often either issued with a written warning or forced to review practice and write a report.

Those governing need to ask challenging questions of senior leaders to ensure that measures are in place to prevent instances of malpractice. In addition, those governing need assurances that both staff and students understand the consequences of malpractice for themselves and the organisation they represent.


Work for us: Training and Consultancy Director

NGA are looking to recruit an experienced Training and Consultancy Director. Based in Birmingham city centre, the post holder will be responsible for overseeing NGA’s Training and Consultancy services.

For more on the role, and to download an application pack, please click here.

The closing date for applications is 9am on Wednesday 17 January 2018.


Join the team: Education and Employers opportunity for Director of Inspiring Governance

Our partners, Education and Employers, are seeking a director to provide strategic leadership and effective operational delivery of Inspiring Governance.

Inspiring Governance is the online matchmaking service which connects skilled volunteers interested in serving as governors and trustees with schools in England. It also provides free, expert support for volunteers and governing bodies, as well as for employers wanting to run programmes for their staff serving as governors.

It aims to:

  • increase the number of volunteers, especially those with business-related skills and with diverse backgrounds, serving as governors and trustees in schools
  • support governors matched through the service with training and resources, helping them be effective members of governing boards

Could you lead the team in delivering these aims? The role involves leading a regional and central team, working closely with NGA, and co-ordinating and mobilising collaborative efforts to make it easy for state schools to find skilled volunteers.

A job description can be viewed here and applications should be made by emailing a CV and covering letter to jobs@educationandemployers.org.

Applications close at 5pm on 15 January 2018. This role is based in central London.


East of England Regional Conference

We are pleased to announce that registration is now open for NGA’s Regional Conference for the East of England.

The conference will be held on Saturday 3 March 2018 in Stansted and is free for NGA members. Non-members are also invited to attend for which there will be a charge of £60. However, upon registering for the conference, non-members will be invited to join the NGA and if they wish to do so, attendance at the event will be free.

The Keynote Speaker is the Regional Schools Commissioner for East of England and North-East London, Sue Baldwin. There will also be presentations from the Department for Education on teacher workload as well as the Arts Council with leaders from the regional Arts Council Bridge Organisation speaking on school improvement and the arts.

More details on the venue and the programme are available upon registration though the website on the NGA Events Page.


NGA Clerks’ Conference

The second annual NGA Clerks’ Conference, being held on Monday 19 February 2018 in Birmingham, is now open for bookings. The conference is for clerks who are individual members of the NGA as well as those whose governing boards are members.

Registration for the event is from 10:00am for a 10:30am start, finishing at 3:30pm.

The day will include an update on the NGA Clerking Matters campaign and workshops on effective clerking. Attendees will be able to choose two out of three workshops offered on the following topics:

  • the basics of clerking a governing board
  • managing relationships within a governing board
  • clerking within a multi-academy trust

More details on the workshops are available upon registration from the Events Page of the website and remember to visit the Clerking Matters section of the NGA website for more information and guidance on our work with clerks






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