National Governance Association (NGA) National News 2019

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 04/10/2019

Why being a governor as an educationalist is truly continuous professional development.

In this blog, Rob Leitch who is Deputy Headteacher of a comprehensive secondary school in the London Borough of Bromley and the Chair of Governors at a secondary school in a neighbouring borough describes how governing has benefitted his own development and the schools where he is employed and governs.

Rob is sharing his experience as part of NGA’s Educators on Board campaign. If you are an education professional governing in a different school, or a board or school benefitting from having an education professional volunteer with you, we’d be interested in hearing your experiences. Please contact kirstie.ebbs@nga.org.uk


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 27/09/2019

Claim your DfE funded development – Leading Governance for Chairs, Clerks and Boards

Those looking to build their leadership and governance skills will be interested in joining over 1,000 chairs and clerks who have already signed up to take part in NGA’s funded programmes. By working in partnership with local authorities across the country, NGA provide opportunities for comprehensive development of the roles of chairs, clerks, and boards as a whole.

Development for Chairs

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

Cost: Funding is now available up to the value of £1,000 – equivalent to two places at the full cost of the programme – at no cost to your school.

Next step: Find out more and book your place here.

Available to book for the coming academic year 2019/20:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face-to-face session

Windsor and Maidenhead

1 October

7 November

Bolton

1 October

13 November

Milton Keynes

1 October

13 November

Shropshire

1 October

14 November

Swindon

1 October

15 November

Bury

1 October

16 November

North London (Haringey)

1 October

16 November

Suffolk

1 October

22 November

Bradford

21 October

4 December

Ealing and Hounslow

16 November

11 January

Nottingham

16 November

10 January

East Riding

16 November

7 January

Oxford 2

16 November

10 January

Development for Clerks

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

Cost: Only £75 to pay if you receive funding from the DfE.

Next step: Book your place here.

Available to book for the coming academic year 2019/20:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face-to-face session

Sheffield

Date TBC

Date TBC

Warwickshire

Date TBC

Date TBC

Bradford

18 November

22 January

Ealing and Hounslow

18 November

18 January

Leicestershire

18 November

18 January

Lincolnshire

18 November

29 January

Cambridge

02 February

19 March

Nottinghamshire

02 February

19 March

Development for Boards

To find out more about this bespoke programme, please click here.

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

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

0121 237 3780


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 20/09/2019

DfE funded Development Programmes Leading Governance for Chairs, Clerks and Boards

Those looking to build their leadership and governance skills will be interested in joining the many who have already signed up to take part in NGA’s funded programmes. By working in partnership with local authorities across the country, NGA provide opportunities for comprehensive development of the roles of chairs, clerks, and boards as a whole.

Development for Chairs

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

Cost: Funding is now available up to the value of £1,000 – equivalent to two places at the full cost of the programme.

Next step: Find out more and book your place here.

Available to book for the coming academic year 2019/20:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face-to-face session

Windsor and Maidenhead

1 October

7 November

Bolton

1 October

13 November

Milton Keynes

1 October

13 November

Shropshire

1 October

14 November

Swindon

1 October

15 November

Bury

1 October

16 November

North London (Haringey)

1 October

16 November

Suffolk

1 October

22 November

Bradford

21 October

4  December

Ealing and Hounslow

16 November

11 January

Nottingham

16 November

10 January

East Riding

16 November

7 January

Oxford 2

16 November

10 January

Development for Clerks

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

Cost: Only £75 to pay if you receive funding from the DfE.

Next step: Book your place here.

Available to book for the coming academic year 2019/20:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face-to-face session

Sheffield

New dates

New dates

Bedford

24 September

11 November

Shropshire

24 September

13 November

Warwickshire

24 September

13 November

Cornwall

24 September

14 November

Bradford

18 November

22 January

Ealing and Hounslow

18 November

18 January

Leicestershire

18 November

18 January

Lincolnshire

18 November

29 January

 Development for Boards

To find out more about this bespoke programme, please click here.

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

http://www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance
mailto:leading.governance@nga.org.uk


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 13/09/2019

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 06/09/2019

NGA Events Autumn 2019

Autumn Conferences

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

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

The dates and locations of our autumn conferences are as follows:

Yorkshire & Humber Regional Conference, Saturday 5 October 2019 in York.
NGA will be delivering a workshop on succession planning, entitled ‘Preparing Your Board for the Future’ and an interactive session on triangulation and corroborating what you think you know and using more than one data source. The Ofsted regional director for North East Yorkshire & Humber has been invited to deliver the keynote speech.

East of England Regional Conference, Saturday 12 October 2019 in Stansted.
The Ofsted, Regional Director for East of England, Paul Brooker, will be delivering the keynote speech. NGA will be delivering a workshop on succession planning, entitled ‘Preparing Your Board for the Future’ and an interactive session on triangulation and corroborating what you think you know and using more than one data source.

South West Regional Conference, Saturday 19 October 2019 in Taunton.
The Regional Schools Commissioner, Hannah Woodhouse and Claire Emery, Academy Ambassadors Director for the South West will be delivering the keynote speech. NGA will be delivering a workshop on succession planning, entitled ‘Preparing Your Board for the Future’ and an interactive session on triangulation and corroborating what you think you know and using more than one data source.

Register your place now for these key events in your calendar!

MAT Governance Conference, Friday 15 November 2019, Birmingham.
Bookings will open soon for the first ever NGA MAT Governance Conference.

The conference will be held on Friday 15th November 2019 where you can explore and address some of the key issues facing MATs and is open to NGA members who are part of a MAT trustee board, MAT governance professionals and those who govern at an academy committee level in a MAT.

More details on the workshops and agenda will be available on the NGA website soon but will include inspiring keynote speeches and expert-led workshops.

Regional Meetings.

Our regional meetings are an opportunity to hear the latest news and developments in school governance.  They also provide great networking opportunities for governors and trustees allowing them to share their ideas and good practice.

As well as the usual updates the autumn 2019 meetings will cover:

  • feedback and key messages arising from NGA’s 2019 annual governance survey;
  • the latest policy news including school funding and staffing, and
  • how we measure what we value – the different sources of information that provide a true picture of your school or trust. 

Regions and dates

South East Regional Meeting, Thursday 26 September 2019, London

London Regional Meeting, Thursday 26 September 2019, London

North West Regional Meeting, Wednesday 9 October 2019, Chester

West Midlands Regional Meeting, Wednesday 16 October 2019, Birmingham

Register your place now for these key meetings in your autumn calendar!

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 30/08/2019

Regional Meetings

Our regional meetings are an opportunity to hear and the latest news and developments in school governance.  They also provide great networking opportunities for governors and trustees allowing them to share their ideas and good practice.

As well as the usual updates, the autumn 2019 meetings will cover:

  • feedback and key messages arising from NGA’s 2019 annual governance survey
  • the latest policy news including school funding and staffing
  • how we measure what we value – the different sources of information that provide a true picture of your school or trust

Regions and dates:

Register your place now for these key meetings in your autumn calendar


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 19/07/2019

NGA Autumn 2019 Events!

Autumn Conferences

Our regional and national conferences are free for NGA members and provide a unique opportunity to network with fellow governors and clerks, hear the latest news and discuss a range of issues through sessions on the latest hot topics.

This autumn all three regional conferences will include an interactive session focusing on succession planning.

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

The dates and locations of our autumn conferences are as follows:

Register your interest now for these key events in your autumn calendar!

Autumn Meetings

Our regional meetings are a great way to network closely with fellow governors and clerks. The topics of discussion at a regional meeting near you, will focus around a wide range of up to date and hot topics:

  • South East Regional Meeting, Thursday 26 September 2019, London
  • London Regional Meeting, Thursday 26 September 2019, London
  • North West Regional Meeting, Wednesday 9 October 2019, Chester.
  • West Midlands Regional Meeting, Wednesday 16 October 2019, Birmingham.


Register your interest now for these key events in your autumn calendar!

Young Governors Network

These events are an informal opportunity for young governors to meet and share their experiences, and gain valuable insight and ideas. As well as providing networking opportunities, the evening includes a facilitated discussion and the topic will focus on ‘Balancing Support and Challenge’. 

The events are free to members and will be taking place in the autumn term on the following dates and locations:

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 12/07/2019

NGA Autumn 2019 Events

Autumn Conferences

Our regional and national conferences are free for NGA members and provide a unique opportunity to network with fellow governors and clerks, hear the latest news and discuss a range of issues through sessions on the latest hot topics.

This autumn all three regional conferences will include an interactive session focusing on succession planning.

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

The dates and locations of our autumn conferences are as follows:

  • Yorkshire & Humber Regional Conference, Saturday 5 October 2019 in York.
  • East of England Regional Conference, Saturday 12 October 2019 in Stansted.
  • South West Regional Conference, Saturday 19 October 2019 in Taunton.
  • Community MATs Conference, Friday 15 November 2019, Birmingham.
  • Annual Conference & AGM, Saturday 16 November 2019 in Birmingham.

Register your interest now for these key events in your autumn calendar!


Autumn Meetings

Our regional meetings are a great way to network closely with fellow governors and clerks. The topics of discussion at a regional meeting near you, will focus around a wide range of up to date and hot topics:

  • South East Regional Meeting, Thursday 26 September 2019, London
  • London Regional Meeting, Thursday 26 September 2019, London
  • North West Regional Meeting, Wednesday 9 October 2019, Chester.
  • West Midlands Regional Meeting, Wednesday 16 October 2019, Birmingham.

Register your interest now for these key events in your autumn calendar!


Young Governors Network

These events are an informal opportunity for young governors to meet and share their experiences, and gain valuable insight and ideas. As well as providing networking opportunities, the evening includes a facilitated discussion and the topic will focus on ‘Balancing Support and Challenge’. 

The events are free to members and will be taking place in the autumn term on the following dates and locations:


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 05/07/2019

Save the dates! NGA autumn events 2019 announced

shutterstock_758264113-(1).jpg

Our regional conferences and meetings are free for NGA members and provide a unique opportunity to network with fellow governors, trustees, clerks and governance professions, hear the latest news and discuss a range of issues through sessions on the latest hot topics.

The dates and locations of our autumn conferences and meetings have been confirmed and are as follows:

Autumn conferences:

  • Yorkshire & Humber Regional Conference, Saturday 5 October 2019 in York.
  • East of England Regional Conference, Saturday 12 October 2019 in Stansted
  • South West Regional Conference, Saturday 19 October 2019 in Taunton
  • Community MATs Conference, Friday 15 November 2019 Birmingham
  • Annual Conference & AGM, Saturday 16 November 2019 in Birmingham

Autumn meetings:

  • South East Regional Meeting, Thursday 26 September 2019, London
  • London Regional Meeting, Thursday 26 September 2019, London
  • North West Regional Meeting, Wednesday 9 October 2019, Chester
  • West Midlands Regional Meeting, Wednesday 16 October 2019, Birmingham

Registration for both the autumn conferences and regional meetings will open shortly. Save the dates now in your calendar!

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 28/06/2019

NGA’s professional development service: interested in joining our consultant team?

NGA is looking to engage more consultants to help our existing team meet demand for its professional development service. 

We are looking to appoint new consultants nationwide and would welcome applications from those looking to work in their own regions.

We would be particularly interested in applications from those able to work in:

  • North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire
  • Cumbria
  • North Lancashire
  • West Midlands
  • Norfolk
  • Suffolk
  • Derbyshire
  • Nottinghamshire

Depending on your experience and interests, the role could include carrying out face-to-face training, mentoring, external reviews of governance and other governance development work using NGA’s frameworks, programmes and courses supported by NGA’s quality assurance arrangements. It may also include helping NGA deliver its successful DfE funded Leading Governance programmes.

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 our consultant trainers do please contact the Head of Consultancy Clare Collins or the Head of Training Development, Paul Aber.

Consultant Role – Process for recruitment
Consultant job description and person specification
Consultant application form 

Please note that the application deadline is the 8 July and that shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview in Birmingham on one of the following dates: 

  • 16 July
  • ​2 August
  • 7 August
  • 15 August

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 21/06/2019

NGA’s professional development service: interested in joining our consultant team?

NGA is looking to engage more consultants to help our existing team meet demand for its professional development service. 

We are looking to appoint new consultants nationwide and would welcome applications from those looking to work in their own regions.

We would be particularly interested in applications from those able to work in:

  • North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire
  • Cumbria
  • North Lancashire
  • West Midlands
  • Norfolk
  • Suffolk
  • Derbyshire
  • Nottinghamshire

Depending on your experience and interests, the role could include carrying out face-to-face training, mentoring, external reviews of governance and other governance development work using NGA’s frameworks, programmes and courses supported by NGA’s quality assurance arrangements. It may also include helping NGA deliver its successful DfE funded Leading Governance programmes.

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 our consultant trainers do please contact the Head of Consultancy Clare Collins or the Head of Training Development, Paul Aber.

Consultant Role – Process for recruitment
Consultant job description and person specification
Consultant application form 

Please note that the application deadline is the 8 July and that shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview in Birmingham on one of the following dates: 

  • 16 July
  • ​2 August
  • 7 August
  • 15 August

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 14/06/2019

Invite to join the Ethics Forum’s debate on ethics

ethics-forum.jpg

As part of the on-going work of the Ethical Leadership Commission, we are hosting the inaugural Ethics Forum on the 4 July 2019, from 13.30 – 16.00 at the University of Birmingham.

To register, please email ethicalschools@nga.org.uk suggesting you would like to join us at the ethics forum. Places are free, but limited.

We are also hosting our first pathfinder ethics exchange early in the day. This is an invite only event by virtue of being a pathfinder. To join our pathfinder programme, or to get further details please visit our website here, and register again at: ethicalschool@nga.org.uk


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 07/06/2019

DfE funded Development Programmes for Chairs, Clerks and Boards

Those looking for professional development opportunities may be interested in signing up for our funded programmes. By working in partnership with local authorities across the country, we provide an opportunity for comprehensive development of the roles of chairs and clerks, and boards as a whole.

Development for Chairs

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

 

Cost: Funding is available up to the value of £500 – the full cost of the programme.

 

Next step: Find out more and book your place here.

 

Available to book for the coming academic year 2019/20:

 

Area

Pre-work begins

First face-to-face session

Kent 3

26 August

27 September

Bolton 2

1 September

13 November

Windsor and Maidenhead 2

1 October

7 November

Warwickshire 2

1 October

11 November

Shropshire 1

1 October

14 November

Swindon 2

1 October

15 November

Coventry 2

1 October

16 November

Suffolk 2

1 October

22 November

 

Development for Clerks

 

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

Cost: Only £75 to pay if you receive funding from the DfE.

 

Next step: Book your place here.

 

Available to book for the coming academic year 2019/20:

 

Area

Pre-work begins

First face-to-face session

Bedford 2

24 September

11 November

Kent 1

24 September

12 November

Shropshire 1

24 September

13 November

Cornwall 1

24 September

14 November

 

Development for Boards

 

To find out more about this bespoke programme, please click here.

 

DON’T MISS OUT!  

 

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

 

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

0121 237 3780


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 24/05/2019

Interested in participating in the NPQEL qualification? Scholarship funding confirmed.

19-05-24-NPQEL-banner.png

The National Professional Qualification (NPQ) Scholarship Funding for the 2019/20 financial year has been confirmed. 

This means that, subject to eligibility criteria, your place on ASCL's nationally accredited qualification programme may be fully funded.

The ASCL National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership (NPQEL) is your opportunity to achieve a nationally recognised executive leadership qualification, working with colleagues and leading educationalists from across the country, and utilising local expertise and knowledge which fits your regional context.

Through a blended delivery model, the programme will cover key topics on a modular basis over an 18 month period, culminating in the two assessments which lead to the qualification. Contact npqel@ascl.org.uk or call 0116 299 1122 for more information.

 

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 17/05/2019

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 10/05/2019

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 03/05/2019

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 26/04/2019

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 05/04/2019

NGA events: save the date

Save the date in your diary for these upcoming NGA events:

Community MATs Network – With Andrew Warren, Regional Schools Commissioner for the West Midlands

Tuesday 14 May 2019 in central Birmingham.

This event is an opportunity for trustees, academy committee members, governance professionals and clerks of multi-academy trusts (MATs) to come together, discuss their experiences and share best practice.

We thrilled to have two guest speakers for the event; Andrew Warren, Regional Schools Commissioner for the West Midlands and  Liz Holmes, The Chair of the Faringdon Academy of schools.

If you are governing or clerking in a MAT, and would like to book a place at this event, please email events@nga.org.uk

 

Clerks’ Advisory Groups

Wednesday 15 May 2019 in Leeds

Thursday 23 May 2019 in central London

These meetings give clerks an opportunity to share good practice and highlight issues they have encountered in their role of clerk.  The meeting will also help to inform the work of NGA going forwards in relation to our Clerking Matters campaign. 

The meetings will take place from 12.30 - 15.00 with lunch available from 12.00.

If you would like to register your interest in booking onto this event, please email events@nga.org.uk

For more information on our Clerking Matters campaign email clerkingmatters@nga.org.uk

 

Summer Conference 2019

Saturday 8 June 2019 in London

Our Summer Conference is the highlight of the NGA events calendar and is always popular with places in high demand. It 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.

We are delighted to announce that Amanda Spielman, Chief Inspector of Education for Ofsted and Professor Dame Alison Peacock, Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching, will deliver keynote speeches.

The day will also include workshops, which will focus on current issues affecting school governance.

Save the date for these key upcoming events in the NGA calendar. Registration will open shortly on the new website.

If you would like to register your interest in booking onto this event, please email events@nga.org.uk

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 22/03/2019

Updates to the DfE's Governance Handbook

Today (22 March 2019) the Department for Education (DfE) has released an update to the Governance Handbook. This document is a crucial resource for governors and trustees as it gives a detailed breakdown of their roles, responsibilities and legal duties, with signposting to useful resources.

The list of updates in this edition can be found on pages six to eight of the handbook. The new guide includes, amongst other things, greater emphasis on parental engagement, updated signposting to resources – including the new DfE workload reduction toolkit, updated information on Analyse School Performance, and a new subsection on executive pay.

Commenting on the update, Emma Knights, chief executive of the NGA, said that while NGA “is pleased to see” a new update, however, the DfE has “missed [an] opportunity” for a more “fundamental review of the governance roles, particularly as regards academy trusts where there can be a lack of understanding”. Emma also commented on the work NGA has been doing to introduce stakeholder engagement as a forth core function of governance – something that we will continue to do going forward.

To read more about the Governance Handbook, and for Emma Knights’ full response, please visit the NGA news page.



New Ofsted Inspection Framework: consultation deadline approaching

Ofsted’s consultation of its draft framework for the inspection of maintained and academy schools, which will take effect from September 2019, will close in two weeks’ time on 5 April 2019.

The proposals for the new framework include a single “quality of education” judgement to replace the existing “quality of teaching, learning and assessment” and “outcomes for pupils” categories. Inspectors will focus on a provider’s curriculum intent, implementation and impact, and pupil performance will not be considered in isolation but in the context of the school curriculum. The aim is to “de-intensify the inspection focus on performance data and place more emphasis on the substance of education and what matters most to learners and practitioners.” The framework proposals are based on in-depth research carried out by Ofsted, details of which can be found here. Further information on the proposed changes can be found at the NGA News Page.

At our South East conference, Matthew Purves, Deputy Director for Schools at Ofsted, presented a consultation with governors; the slides to which can be found here. We encourage governors and trustees to review the slides for more information on the new Education Inspection Framework. Governing boards are encouraged to read and consider the framework, and can either submit an individual response or feed their views into NGA’s response by getting in touch with shelby.roberts@nga.org.uk.


Secretary of state for education at the ASCL annual conference: “I have heard the message on funding loud and clear” 

On Friday 15 and Saturday 16 March, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) hosted its annual conference in Birmingham. As part of the conference, delegates heard from ASCL president, Richard Sheriff, Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, and president of the confederation of British industry (CBI), John Allan CBE.

The theme of the conference was “connected leadership”, a phrase Richard Sheriff unpicked as part of his opening keynote. He outlining the importance of an education system built upon “strong collaboration, which harnesses energy and is underpinned by the common values of our collective ‘why’”. Mr Sheriff went on to identify the accountability system, funding constraints and school leaders themselves as the key barriers to creating this connectivity. As part of his speech, Richard launched new ASCL research identifying the growing role of schools in overcoming poverty. He also released new analysis which revealed that schools need an additional £5.7bn per year to deliver quality education.

Picking up on some of these themes, Damian Hinds commented on school funding, teacher workload, recruitment and retention, careers and wellbeing as part of his speech. On funding, Mr Hinds outlined that he had “heard the message on funding loud and clear” and would “make the strongest possible case for education” in the upcoming government spending review. Amongst other things, Mr Hinds also announced the “creation of an expert advisory group on wellbeing” to address teacher and leader wellbeing in schools, and pointed those governing in the direction of the new DfE workload reduction toolkit.

Finally, John Allen CBE spoke about the importance of education in the world of business and, like the other keynote speakers, called for more funding in the education system: .  Mr Allen also encouraged people working in schools to become governors and trustees and, as part of his speech, emphasised the importance of businesses and schools working in partnership.

Across the two day conference, there were a number of other keynote speakers and workshops – covering issues from Ofsted and data to culture and mental health. To find out more about the other sessions at ASCL search #ascl2019 on twitter or visit the conference page here.


The Community MATs network is back!

NGA is pleased to announce that the next Community MATs Network meeting will be held on Tuesday 14 May 2019 in central Birmingham.

The Community MATs network is an opportunity for trustees, executives, clerks and governance professionals of multi-academy trusts to come together, discuss their experiences and share best practice. We will also be opening this event to those governing at a local academy level within their trust.

The National Schools Commissioner, Dominic Herrington and the Chair of the Faringdon Academy of schools, Liz Holmes, will be attending as guest speakers.

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

Save the date now for this important meeting. Bookings will be open on the NGA website shortly.

If you have any questions about the event or network, please get in touch with Sam: sam.henson@nga.org.uk


Upcoming Learning Link module – Effective MAT Governance

A new module is coming to Learning Link! ‘Effective MAT Governance’ will provide the opportunity for those governing on multi academy trust boards to confidently evaluate the performance of their own governance, through the use of a case study and the stories of those governing in that context. It also includes recommendations and resources to help you improve your board’s effectiveness and outcomes for your pupils.

This module will benefit those involved in MAT governance and those who govern maintained schools or single academy trusts considering forming or joining a MAT.

Learning Link users will find the module available to them in the near future. To find out more about Learning Link, click here.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 15/03/2019

School funding campaigning intensifies

Two weeks on from the NGA week of governance led action campaigning for the overall size of the schools budget to be increase, the debate on the funding crisis has intensified.

In the wake of two parliamentary debates on school funding on held on the 26th February and 4th March, which saw many MPs speaking passionately about the schools they have visited, the Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education, said that he would be making "the strongest possible case" to the Treasury on behalf of schools in the coming review.  Speaking to the Times Educational Supplement said that education was a “top priority” and would have a “very strong claim in the review”.

In the meantime there has been a constant stream of articles in the media focusing on school funding and the unwanted decisions that school leaders and governing boards are making to steer their institutions clear of going into deficit.  This includes a report in the Guardian following an investigation it has carried out school funding, which refers to a system that is “falling apart at the seams”. The report carries a quote from Diana Boyd, chair of governors at Elm Grove primary school in Brighton, who said “It is essential the government understands their impact on children – who are, after all, the future of our country.”

In delivering his spring statement to Parliament on the 13th March the Rt Hon Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer said that assuming a Brexit deal is agreed and uncertainty lifted he will launch a “full three year spending review” before the summer break. Mr Hammond added that the review will reflect the public’s priorities between areas like social care, local government, schools, police, defence and the environment.

As Headteachers, governors, trustees and parents continue to speak out on the impact that inadequate funding is having on schools, NGA remains determined to make the best use of the evidence and case studies you have provided to support its continued lobbying


DfE publish guidance for governing boards on workload

The Department for Education (DfE) has published a suite of guidance and materials to help boards and trustees support workload reduction in their school(s) and for themselves.

These materials are to help governing boards and trustees:

  • support workload reduction in their school(s)
  • review and streamline their own practice to reduce their workload

The 3-stage guidance sets out practical tools and guidance to support governing boards to reduce workload, including a workshop which can be run as a whole school activity or in teams and a discussion template.

  • Stage 1 contains tools to help schools carry out a workload audit.
  • Stage 2 sets out what schools can do to tackle identified issues which can lead to excessive workload in schools, including support for governing boards and trustees
  • Stage 3 contains tools to help schools evaluate the impact of changes after a workload review.

You can access a summary sheet on reducing workload: support for governing boards here.

To read more about what works in schools, NGA Consultant Judith Rutherford has written a case study on the approach to reducing staff workload taken by the governing board of Hiltingbury Junior School which can be accessed here


Nurseries march for funding and MP’s crowdfunding campaign

Hundreds of nursery heads marched on Downing Street in a bid to warn ministers that without much needed funding many schools will have to close.

Despite a further £24 million being assigned to maintained nurseries, the NAHT have stated: “the fact remains that, even with the supplementary funding, most maintained nursery schools have had to make large cuts and make hard decisions to balance reduced budgets.”

Also this week, MP Jess Phillips has discussed witnessing first-hand how cuts have affected young children’s education, bringing to light the plight of her own son’s school, which has had to reduce school hours and close early on Friday’s as the school could not afford to remain open due to cuts.

As a result, Phillips has launched a crowd-funding campaign to take thousands of children to the Treasury to highlight what she describes as the governments failing “in the most basic job it has to provide schooling for all of our children five days a week”.

Such action highlights the importance of NGA’s nine asks with one being early years focused, and calls for the government to review funding for early years to ensure all children have access to high quality, teacher-led early education.


Schools need stronger partnerships to tackle knife crime, says Ofsted

A report commissioned by Ofsted has suggested that schools do not have the capability of countering knife crime alone, and advocates that they need to better utilise partners such as local authorities and the police.

Ofsted’s research has examined how schools, colleges and pupil referral units in Greater London have fared in protecting pupils from knife crime in school, and how they have dealt with children who have brought knives onto the school site. They found that incidents are exceptionally rare, but local partnerships are underutilised, which makes responses inconsistent.

While finding that there is no evidence to suggest that exclusions are the main factor in surging incidents of knife crime, the report reminds school leaders to follow the statutory guidance in relation to exclusions, and consider early interventions for groups most at risk.

Mike Sheridan, Ofsted’s Regional Director for London has stated:

‘Schools should be fully involved in local knife crime strategies, but too few are brought around the table. Only just over half of the schools surveyed were aware their borough had a knife crime strategy. Schools work effectively to keep their pupils safe, but they can be isolated from each other and other agencies, leading to inconsistencies in the way schools approach this issue.’

Governors and trustees should be aware of their statutory responsibility in assuring children’s safety at their school(s). For more information on safeguarding, please consult the pupil wellbeing section of our guidance centre.


Need for more diverse school governors echoed by Secretary of State

During a speech to the ‘Break the Cycle' conference hosted by Oasis Community Learning, Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds spoke about the importance of diversity in school leadership – including school governance.

Referring to NGA’s Everyone on Board film, featuring serving governors championing diversity, the Secretary of State said: “Governors and trustees are absolutely crucial to the life and direction of a school; they decide how funding is spent, they support and challenge leaders, guide what children learn and the values they live by. It is vital that what they say and do reflects their communities.”

He also reiterated support for Everyone on Board, our campaign which aims to increase participation of underrepresented groups in school governance including those from ethnic minorities. Last year, NGA supported the Department for Education’s statement of intent, setting out its vision for diversity in the school workforce. 

Citing changes being made by organisations in other sectors to improve diversity in recruitment, the Secretary of State said these included ‘where and how they advertise’, ‘the application process’ and ‘being upfront about the potential to build in flexibilities’. This complements advice set out by NGA in the new edition of the right people around the table which encourages boards to advertise governor vacancies externally of the school to improve diversity and to give consideration to factors including where to promote governor vacancies and reviewing board practice to make the role more accessible.

Diversity of teachers and executive leaders also featured in the Secretary of State’s speech, where he welcomed rises in the number of ethnic minority teachers “in nursery and primary schools from 9% to 11%, and from 13% to 17% in secondary schools” between 2010 and 2017 and in headteacher positions “from 5% to 7% in primaries and from 7% to 9% in secondaries”. However, he said that this “still falls well short of the 19.5% that makes up the UK population and even further below the 32% of the school pupil population who come from ethnic minority groups”. By improving the diversity of governing boards, NGA believes that this will lead to improvement in the number of BAME headteachers being appointed.

Concluding the speech, the Secretary of State said “in our schools we need to draw on the full range of talent, and to reflect children’s communities. When we learn from each other we become stronger and better. Our future success depends on it.”


Chancellor pledges to end period poverty with free sanitary products in secondary schools

In the Spring Statement, Philip Hammond committed to ending period poverty, with a commitment of a fully-funded scheme to provide free sanitary products for girls in secondary school.

This comes after a survey from Plan International in 2017 found schoolgirls were skipping school due to being unable to afford tampons or towels, while others were using socks in place of sanitary products.

It is expected that the scheme will follow the initiative set up in Scotland last year, which provided access to tampons and sanitary pads free of charge. The Department for Education will be working on this project for implementation in September 2019.

Governors and trustees in secondary schools should be aware of this expected provision. Additionally, Governors and trustees should also be aware of the required PSHE, which stipulates that alongside education about puberty, menstruation should be a specific focus, as well as providing adequate and sensitive arrangements to help girls cope with menstruation and requests for sanitary protection.


New NGA blog: What should schools spend their pupil premium on and why?

Last week, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) released an exciting new resource which will help governors and trustees spend their pupil premium on evidence based support.

To coincide with the release of this new resource, Tom Fellows, NGA’s research manager, shares how NGA’s thinking has evolved since the publication of the Spotlight on Disadvantage research last year and, in particular, what NGA are doing to ensure that those governing can champion the needs of disadvantaged pupils in their school(s).

Click here to read the blog.


RSA analysis finds evidence of pupils removed before GCSEs

As part of its Pinball Kids project, the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) requested exclusions data from over 300 local authorities in order to test the theory that schools are using exclusions to improve their exam results.

The data reveals a significant increase in pupil referral unit (PRU) admissions in the first term of year 11 ahead of the January census. This is significant because the January census is used to determine which school will be held accountable for a pupils GCSE exam results. Admissions then drop off dramatically in the final two terms.

These findings are of significant concern and, if a school is removing a pupil to improve GCSE results, constitute highly unethical and potentially illegal behaviour. When sitting on exclusion panels, those governing should be mindful of this practice, particularly if faced with the exclusion of a year 11 pupil in the autumn term. For more on exclusions, please visit the NGA guidance centre. NGA is currently working with the government ahead of the Timpson review of school exclusions, which will explore why some groups of pupils are more likely to be excluded.


ISBL Training survey 2019: share with your school business manager

To help the Institute of School Business Leaders (ISBL) to understand the training needs and preferences of school business managers, they are conducting a survey which runs until 29 March 2019. The survey will cover the training that school business managers are currently undertaking, and the barriers that they face in accessing training.

You can share this with your school manager or complete the survey (if you are a school business manager) here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ISBLtrainingsurvey2019


Clerks’ Advisory Group meetings

NGA is pleased to announce the next round of Clerks’ Advisory Group meetings. The meetings are an opportunity for clerks to highlight and discuss issues affecting them and their boards.

The meetings will be taking place on the following dates:

Leeds - Wednesday 15th May 2019

London – Thursday 23rd May 2019

Bookings will open on Monday 1st April 2019 on the NGA website.

In the meantime, if you are interested in a particular topic being discussed, please email clerkingmatters@nga.org.uk

 

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 08/03/2019

Funding the Future: NGA lobby of Parliament

It has been just over a week since our Funding the Future week of action (25th February - 2nd March) which saw school governors and trustees from at least 140 constituencies in England lobby their MP to share concerns about school funding, and provide MPs with evidence about the difficult decisions that they are having to make. We are hugely grateful to all those who got involved in the campaign, and will continue to lobby on this important issue for our membership. Click here to read more about the day, and here for further details of how to get involved.  


NGA guest blog: Steven George on school funding

Steven George, NAHT Head of External Relations and Primary School Governor asks: can unity amongst campaigners finally deliver a satisfactory funding settlement for schools and colleges? Click here to access the blog.


Raise the Rate campaign: survey findings

The Raise the Rate campaign, supported by NGA and a number of other organisations that represent school and college governors, leaders and students is calling for the funding rate for 16-18 year olds to be raised to at least £4,760 per student, per year in the 2019 spending review, and for the rate to keep pace with inflation. The campaign is also insisting that this new funding is in addition to, rather than instead of, funding that may be required to meet additional costs that emerge during the next review period.

On behalf of the campaign, a survey of 271 schools and colleges was conducted in January by the Sixth Form Colleges Association. The results provide more evidence that underinvestment is continuing to have a negative impact not only on the curriculum but also on valuable student support services such as employability skills and careers advice. This has been compounded by reductions in extra-curricular activities, resulting in concerns over the social as well as economic implications of funding cuts and cost increases.

NGA will therefore continue to urge the government to address the funding crisis in 16-18 education.

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Updates to Analyse School Performance (ASP)

A number of updates have been made to Analyse School Performance, the Department for Education’s (DfE) data analysis tool for school leaders. Governors and Trustees will now be able to view their ‘Prior attainment of pupil by year group’ report for the 2017/2018 school year.

In addition, the DfE has changed how the ASP website will be accessed. Previously, school leaders have used the Secure Access portal to access their school’s data. Now, they will need to use the new DfE Sign-in website, having migrated their account to the new service. DfE have produced a step by step guide on how to do this.

Governors and Trustees should be reminded of the importance of scrutinising school data, and how it can help them fulfil their core functions. NGA’s guidance on ASP can be found here.


New EEF guide showcases evidence-based resources for governors and trustees

This week, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has produced a free guide which will help those governing get the most out of this important toolkit. The guide signposts those governing to other important resources. 

One vital resource which will help schools to make the right decisions is the EEF toolkit. This free resource is designed to provide an indication of “what works” to raise outcomes for pupils based on robust research and to give an indication of the expected impact of different initiatives schools can implement and their associated costs.

Those governing play a crucial role in supporting disadvantaged pupils in schools and, as part of this, governing boards must work with the senior leadership team to make evidence-informed decisions about how the pupil premium should be spent. To read more about and access this new guide, please visit the NGA news page here. For more on supporting disadvantaged pupils, please visit the NGA guidance centre.


National Careers Week: career-related learning at primary school

To mark National Careers Week (Monday 4 March, to Friday 8 March) Education Secretary Damian Hinds has announced that the Department for Education (DfE) is working with industry leaders to help all primary schools offer careers education to pupils.

Primary Futures, a programme run by the charity, Education and Employers was cited as an industry exemplar in connecting primary school children with the world of work. The announcement on primary education came after the Secretary of State visited Barham Primary School in Wembley to see for himself the Primary Futures programme in action.

DH-talking-with-four-children-smiling-and-with-PF-branding-Copy.jpg

Along with the Secretary of State were 25 other volunteers from all walks of life from engineers to authors, jewellery designers to architects. The programme, which has been developed over the last five years in conjunction with the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), currently has nearly 50,000 volunteers and over 4,000 primary schools registered on its state of the art online matching service.

Created to broaden the horizons and raise the aspirations of primary school children, it is easy to use and free for all. Research conducted by the charity last year underlined that children as young as six already have preconceptions about what they can and can’t do in a job, so this programme helps challenge both gender and social stereotyping. Registered schools have access to a wide range of teaching resources designed with teachers for teachers. If you want a bit more detail here is a short video about the impact of the Primary Futures programme.

Governing boards have a key role in ensuring their school(s) gives its pupils the tools and knowledge to make a success of their lives. To help governing boards, NGA has written a guide for governors and trustees on careers guidance with support from the Careers & Enterprise Company, Education & Employers and the Gatsby Foundation, which is available to access here.

The guidance sets out that governing boards of primary schools may wish to ask their senior executive leader questions on how all children learn about the world of work and what is being done to challenge stereotypes and broaden horizons, especially for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds or children with special education needs or disabilities (SEND).


New edition of NGA’s Right People Around the Table guidance

Getting the right people around the table is one of the eight elements of effective governance, and to support governing boards in recruiting and retaining skilled governors or trustees, NGA has updated its popular and practical guide the right people around the table.

As best practice, NGA recommends that boards must promote any governor/trustee vacancy publicly and externally of the school/trust. This will help to achieve a diversity of volunteers on the governing board, as when boards recruit exclusively from their networks, this can lead to candidates coming from a narrow pool that is likely to be similar to the existing governors/trustees.

Supporting you through the key steps of the recruitment process, five short chapters include:

  • Evaluating: people, practice and composition
  • Recruiting: attracting good candidates
  • Appointing: interviewing and checks
  • Inducting: training and support
  • Succession planning: moving on and ensuring leadership  

Produced in partnership with Inspiring Governance, the guide gives practical advice on how the recruitment service can support you along the way from searching for volunteers by skills to the free support offered to appointees.

Updates from the previous edition include a greater focus on how to create a diverse board and new ideas on how to promote your governance vacancies, along with a practical look at interviewing volunteers and why it is important.

Succession planning is also a key feature of getting the right people around the table and this section goes hand-in-hand with our new ‘preparing your board for the future’ guidance.

Download your copy here.

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NGA Spring 2019 Events

Places on our spring 2019 round of regional events are filling up fast.

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

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

This spring, we are delighted to welcome Ofsted at all of our regional conferences to consult you on their 2019 inspection framework. This is an opportunity for our members to inform the new framework and share their views before the consultation closes on the 5 April.

At our regional meetings, we will focus on the Ofsted inspection framework consultation and the board’s role in the curriculum. We will also update you on our Funding the Future campaign, our work on disadvantage, clerking and our latest guidance on executive pay.

Book your place here at these key events in your area.


NGA Clerks’ conference

NGA was pleased to welcome over 100 clerks from a range of settings to our Clerks’ conference in Birmingham.

There was a video message from Lord Agnew, who reiterated that clerks, as governance professionals, are the cornerstone of good governance.

The conference also included a keynote from Peter Swabey, Policy and Research Director, Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) on the reports that are given to the board.

Delegates also had the opportunity to attend workshops on school complaints, the clerk’s role in relation to NGA’s eight elements of effective governance and the clerk’s role in supporting compliance in their schools.

There was also a session from Dai Durbridge, Partner and Education Lawyer at Browne Jacobson on what clerks need to know to ensure their governing boards are discharging their safeguarding duties effectively.

Finally, delegates were given an update on the Clerking Matters campaign and had the opportunity to share their ideas on what the campaign’s next steps should be.


Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

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

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

Development for Clerks

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

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

Available to book – registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Sandwell

11 March

13 June

 

Available to book for Spring/Summer 2019:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Norfolk

18 March

1 April

4 July

Oxfordshire

15 April

29 April

9 September

Sheffield

15 April

29 April

10 September

Newham

29 April

15 May

14 September

Nottinghamshire

29 April

15 May

18 September

 

Development for Chairs

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

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

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

Available to book for Spring/Summer 2019:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Sheffield

15 April

29 April

19 June

Newham

1 May

15 May

22 June

Bristol

1 May

15 May

22 June

Norfolk

1 May

15 May

26 June

Doncaster

1 May

15 May

26 June

Newcastle

1 May

15 May

26 June

Kent

12 August

26 August

27 September


DON’T MISS OUT!

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

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

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

0121 237 3780


Update on malicious email

On Wednesday this week a small number of NGA members received a malicious email that said it was from the membership team at NGA titled “membership update”.

Hackers accessed an NGA email account and managed to use it to send a malicious email. We have identified those affected and sent them a direct email from us with instructions on the steps to take.

The membership email account was targeted via a phishing email. Our IT technical team accessed the document and removed it in order to halt the attack.

I would like to assure you that we take our GDPR responsibilities very seriously and I can confirm that the hackers were not able to access any data from the NGA database which remains secure. We have spoken to the Information Commissioner’s Office this morning and are taking all required steps by the ICO.

We would like to apologise for inconvenience this has caused.

If you have any questions or are concerned that your email account has been compromised please contact Abbey Mann our Office Manager on abbey.mann@nga.org.uk or on 0121 2373781.


Membership records downtime

Your new NGA website will be launching on the 23 March. To make sure we manage the transfer of the data and the launch of the new site effectively, we will be moving all of our data to a new system and will not be able to make any changes to individual records between the 8 and the 25 March.

When the new website goes live on the 23 March, you will be able to manage the data we hold yourself, making changes to your contact details and other information simply and easily. Alternatively, if you need to make any urgent changes to your data, the membership team will be able to record those changes for you while the data is being transferred and update your record when the site goes live.

There are some practical implications for your first visit to the new website. To protect your privacy, no user passwords have been transferred to the new site, we will need ALL members to reset their password when they first visit the new site. We will be sending an email to all members once the site goes live with a link and instructions on how to do this.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 01/03/2019

Funding the Future week of action draws to a close

As NGA’s week of action on school funding draws to a close, we would like to thank the governors and trustees up and down the country that have made this NGA’s most public, concerted and active campaign so far.

NGA would like to applaud the courage and commitment of the governing boards from 130 constituencies that joined our lobby of Parliament on Thursday and engaged their MP in important conversations about how funding constraints are affecting their pupils. Also, NGA thank the many more governors and trustees who have spoken publically about the damaging strategic decisions they have been forced to take as a consequence of increased costs and a real terms reduction in school funding.

Whilst the week of action is drawing to a close it is important to note that the Funding the Future campaign continues and it is still possible to get involved. Let us know the outcome of your engagement with your MP by emailing shelby.roberts@nga.org.uk or tagging us on social media #FundingtheFuture. We also welcome more case studies (anonymised if you prefer) which NGA can use to support its continued lobbying of the government ahead of the forthcoming comprehensive spending review.

NGA will be releasing a full report on the week of action and the lobby of Parliament in the coming weeks. You can view all nine of the “key asks” on the Funding the Future page of the NGA website.


MP’s debate school funding

On Tuesday 26 February, MPs discussed the overall schools budget during an ‘estimates day’ debate in the House of Commons. Contributions from several MPs drew on local intelligence gathered in meetings with parents, head teachers, teachers and governing boards. Read our full coverage of the debate on the NGA parliamentary business page.

The next MP debate on school funding is scheduled for Monday 4 March. We are asking members to encourage their MPs to attend the debate - for more information on our funding the future campaign, please click here.


Lord Agnew addresses governance professionals

Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System, sent a video message to clerks and governance professionals at this year’s NGA Clerks Conference. In the video, Agnew praised the role of the clerk and their position in supporting high performing school governance.

Agnew opened by highlighting that strong governance is one of his “top priorities”. He described it as “essential for creating the conditions for financial stability and educational success”. Following on, Agnew describes the vital nature of the clerk’s role in “ensuring that the governing body operates effectively and meets its statutory obligations”.

Noting the importance of clerks’ development and fair remuneration, Agnew acknowledged that boards, trusts and LAs should “invest proportionately” in clerks. Agnew also stated that the role should not be an “add on” to existing roles in the school, but a separate profession in and of itself, noting Ofsted’s finding that clerks are pivotal to improving the effectiveness of governing boards’ work.

NGA’s campaign to promote clerking, Clerking Matters, continues to support and represent clerks. More information and resources can be found here.


Governing Matters: March/April edition

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

Cover stories include:

  • Tipping Point - the SEND support funding crisis

Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the children and young people board at the Local Government Association, explains how local authorities are facing a large and rapidly growing deficit

  • MAT leadership - Clarifying the CEO's role

Michael Pain, CEO of Forum Strategy, explores the key elements that differentiate a CEO from other executive leaders

  • Focus on the curriculum - Ofsted's new inspection framework

Matthew Purves, deputy director of schools at Ofsted, encourages NGA members to respond to Ofsted’s consultation

  • Looking to the Future - Succession planning guidance

Kirstie Ebbs, NGA’s senior public relations officer, presents the new guidance to help you plan the future leadership of your board

  • Reinforcing the basics - lessons from NGA's Community MATs network

Sam Henson, NGA’s director of policy and information, looks at what we have learned from NGA’s Community MATs network

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.

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Department for Education releases guidance on Relationships, Health and Sex Education

The Department for Education (DfE) has published its consultation response on new Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education, and Health Education in England guidance. The consultation received over 11,000 responses online and through email, and received 29,000 signatures in response to two petitions.

The new guidance, which is to be implemented in schools from September 2020, highlights some of the content that will be taught in schools to pupils. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • mental health
  • physical wellbeing
  • online safety
  • LGBT+ issues
  • respectful relationships
  • consent

It is expected that all content should be delivered in an age appropriate manner and that appropriate content, reflecting British values and society, should be included.

In NGA’s consultation response, while we felt that a few aspects of the guidance needed to be altered to reflect a range of family life choices and life styles in modern Britain, NGA welcomed the need for age appropriate relationships and sex education in schools. NGA will be providing more commentary once the guidance is released. For more information on relationships and sex education, and pupil wellbeing more generally, please click here.


New social mobility commission report

Last week, the social mobility commission released a report exploring the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.

Based on their findings, the commission called for more incentives to retain and recruit teachers in disadvantaged areas and for the government to look closely at reviewing and investing in early years education.

For an overview of the findings from this study, visit the NGA research.


NFER’s ‘Teacher Labour Market in England – Annual Report 2019'

On Monday, the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) released its first annual report on Teacher Labour Market in England. After the Department for Education (DfE) published its Teacher recruitment and retention strategy four weeks ago, NFER responded with this report to “monitor the progress the school system is making towards meeting the teacher supply challenge over the next decade”. Drawing upon numerous sources of data on teaching recruitment and retention, the report aims to give policy makers and practitioners a good overview of the sector.

The report focuses on three key areas: the teacher labour market in England; teacher workload; and the wider economic context. Overall, the key findings suggest that:

  • secondary schools and early years providers are particularly struggling with recruitment and retention; with secondary schools facing a “supply challenge over the next decade” and data between 2012 and 2018 showing that early years providers are struggling to retain teachers
  • on average, 20% of teachers “feel tense about their job most or all of the time”, 7% higher than in other sectors, with over 40% also unhappy about the amount of recreational time they received outside of work

As reported in the NGA/Tes school governance in 2018 survey, recruitment and retention of teachers continues to be one of the key challenges facing school governors and trustees. NGA has a range of resources relating to staffing here.


Woodland Trust: A million saplings to be given to schools

More than a million saplings have been sent out to schools and communities as part of the Woodland Trust’s free trees initiative.

The charity has suggested that there has been a huge increase in the “passion for planting” recently and, whilst the charity has been close to the one million mark for a few year, to achieve this number has been a real milestone. Since the initiative began, over 5.8 million trees have been sent to schools and communities.

Schools can apply now for trees to be delivered in November 2019 here and frequently asked questions can be found here.


‘All Together’ anti-bullying programme: registrations now open

The Anti-Bullying Alliance has announced phase two of its “All Together” programme, a whole-school anti-bullying programme offered free to schools across England. Schools who would like to join and work towards achieving, maintaining or improving their “All Together School” status can sign up here.

As part of the programme, schools will have access to the new and improved:

  • All Together Online Hub, an online platform through which schools are able to: audit their current anti-bullying practice; create an anti-bullying action plan that is tailored to their needs; and access the “All Together Pupil Wellbeing Questionnaire” which will tell you about levels of wellbeing and bullying among your pupils and allow you to monitor progress over the course of the programme
  • targeted resources to help tackle bullying
  • online CPD-certified training for all staff, including a module on cyberbullying

Although it aims to reduce bullying of all children and young people, the programme includes a special focus on reducing bullying of disabled children and those with SEND. It is funded by the DfE, and can help demonstrate a policy of effective safeguarding against bullying while improving pupil wellbeing.


NGA new website

As you may be aware, in the next few weeks we will be launching a new NGA website. We have built the new website with our members in mind and have added some exciting new features and improvements to create a smooth user experience.

When we launch you will see: -

  • a redesigned and enhanced Guidance Centre – renamed as the Knowledge Centre
  • a new event booking system
  • an improved search function, to help you find the latest and most authoritative information available
  • a new account management system to help you manage the information you and your board receive
  • a fresh new look for the whole site

There are some practical implications for your first visit to the new website. To protect your privacy, no user passwords have been transferred to the new site, we will need ALL members to reset their password when they first visit the new site. We will be sending an email to all members once the site goes live with a link and instructions on how to do this.


NGA Spring 2019 Events

Places on our spring 2019 round of regional events are filling up fast.

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

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

This spring, we are delighted to welcome Ofsted at all of our regional conferences to consult you on their 2019 inspection framework. This is an opportunity for our members to inform the new framework and share their views before the consultation closes on the 5 April.

At our regional meetings, we will focus on the Ofsted inspection framework consultation and the board’s role in the curriculum. We will also update you on our Funding the Future campaign, our work on disadvantage, clerking and our latest guidance on executive pay.

Book your place here at these key events in your area.


Meet NGA at the Academies Show London

As the Schools & Academies Show returns to London on the 3 and 4 April, NGA are delighted to be exhibiting and speaking at the show.

Over the past eight years, the show has gathered the leading experts in UK education to discuss the latest policy updates and teaching best practice. This year, there will be sessions delivered by Education, Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA), the DfE, Ofsted and NGA across the eight CPD-certified seminar theatres.

There are some exciting new changes to this year's show, including the brand-new feature; The Classroom of the Future, along with additional CPD accredited seminars on the newest finance and funding solutions available for schools.

Why attend the Schools & Academies Show this April?

  • Meet 200 education suppliers, innovators and solution providers
  • Get involved in our live Hot Seat debate and have your questions answered by experts
  • Network with government officials and other education professionals from across the UK
  • Learn in our CPD-certified theatres chaired and delivered by school experts
  • Find innovative products & services for school development and improvement
  • Share best practice learnings with your colleagues and other professionals in our networking zones

We would love to see you at our stand and the sessions we are delivering, it only takes a minute to register, just simply click the link to secure your complementary ticket.


Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

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

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

Development for Clerks

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

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

Available to book – registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

East Riding

5 March

21 May

Sandwell

11 March

13 June

 

Available to book for Spring/Summer 2019:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Norfolk

18 March

1 April

4 July

Oxfordshire

15 April

29 April

9 September

Sheffield

15 April

29 April

10 September

Nottinghamshire

29 April

15 May

18 September

 

Development for Chairs

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

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

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

Available to book – registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Bracknell Forest

11 March

25 April

Available to book for Spring/Summer 2019:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Sheffield

15 April

29 April

19 June

Norfolk

1 May

15 May

26 June

Doncaster

1 May

15 May

26 June

Kent

12 August

26 August

27 September

 

DON’T MISS OUT!

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

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

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

0121 237 3780

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 15/02/2019

Funding the Future: 25 February - 2 March 2019

33030-NGA-Funding-the-Future-logo.jpg

The week of governance led action to call for better school funding is almost upon us. In this edition of the weekly newsletter we complete our re-cap of NGA’s nine key ‘asks’ for the government’s future spending review by highlighting asks 8 and 9.

8. The government must make sufficient capital funding available to return all school buildings to satisfactory or better condition.

9. Local authority funding of services for schools and children must be properly funded, as must children’s mental and physical health services, so that pupils come to school safe, well and equipped to learn.

You can view all nine of the “key asks” on the Funding the Future page of the NGA website.

How to get involved:

Governors and trustees across the country have been getting in touch to share the actions they are taking in relation to funding - see the map below for constituencies already involved in the week of action. There are several ways to get involved:

  • Write to your MP about school using our template letter
  • Attend NGA’s lobby of Parliament on 28 February – follow this link to register for the event
  • Invite your MP for a school visit or arrange a meeting at their constituency surgery on 1 or 2 March
  • Organise a local meeting and invite your MP to attend
  • Share your funding story with the NGA to highlight the issue in the media – we are particularly interested in hearing from schools in the north of England

As governance is a collective action, boards should agree to sign up together. The next step is to let shelby.roberts@nga.org.uk the form of action you will take. For those interested in getting in touch with their MP, see NGA’s guide to meeting with your MP for some helpful tips on getting the most out of your meeting.  


Schools in the North: share your funding stories

Map of Action

NGA’s Funding the Future campaign is in full swing with governors and trustees across the country getting in touch to share the actions they are taking in relation to funding – the map shows the constituencies already involved in the week of action.

There are several ways to get involved:

  • Write to your MP about school using our template letter
  • Attend NGA’s lobby of Parliament on 28 February – see this link to register for the event
  • Invite your MP for a school visit or arrange a meeting at their constituency surgery
  • Organise a local meeting and invite your MP to attend
  • Share your funding story with the NGA to highlight the issue in the media – we are particularly interested in hearing from schools in the north of England

As governance is a collective action, boards should agree to sign up together. The next step is to let Shelby.Roberts@nga.org.uk the form of action you will take. For those interested in getting involved, see NGA’s guide to meeting with your MP some helpful tips on getting the most out of your meeting.   

Top of page

Councils give evidence in Education Select Committee inquiry into SEND

The ongoing Commons Education Select Committee’s inquiry into Special educational needs and disabilities funding (SEND) heard from local authorities (LA) this week.

As previously reported, it has been suggested that LA’s face a conflict of interest in regarding SEND spending, as they are responsible for both drawing up education, health, and care plans (EHCP), and funding this provision. With LAs facing increased demands for services, and also managing spending cuts, there have been cases where LAs alter EHCP plans to suit their funding needs, with a recent case being ruled ‘unlawful’ by a judicial review.

Council leaders defended their decision to continue to challenge families at tribunal over ECHP plans, at a cost of over £100 million. Suggesting that tribunals are necessary when councils reach the end of negotiation with families, despite the low rates of success for cases heard at tribunal.

NGA continues to argue for better schools funding, and that the high needs budget for pupils with SEND must be increased by at least £1.5 billion per year. See our Funding the Future campaign for more information.


Concerns that deaf pupils are being let down

The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) has expressed concerns over attainment figures that place deaf pupils well behind their classmates.

According to the society’s analysis of last year’s figures, the attainment gap between the two groups first becomes apparent at KS1, where only 53% of deaf pupils achieved the required standard. This dropped to 43% at KS2, whereas the KS1 and KS2 figures for hearing pupils were 84% and 74%, respectively. Given the fact that this disparity extends to GCSE level, the NDCS predicts it will be at least 21 years before the gap can be closed, and has criticised the current lack of funding for additional specialist teachers.

NDCS’s concerns are reflected by parents with funding for deaf children’s education identified as a problem by 82% of parents previously surveyed.

In response, the DfE reiterated its pledge to provide an additional £250m in high needs funding over this and next year. NGA will nonetheless continue to make the case for increased investment in light of the upcoming spending review, see our Funding the Future campaign for more information.


DfE checklist on indicators of potential fraud

The third core function of school governing boards is to oversee financial performance of the organisation and to make sure money is well spent. To support schools in ensuring effective financial performance, the Department for Education (DfE) have complied a list of indicators and risk factors associated with potential fraud.

The indicators have been categorised into the following areas: personal motives for fraud, organisational motives for fraud, weaknesses in internal controls, transactional indicators, the methods used to commit or conceal fraud and record keeping/banking/other.

Some of the risks factors relating to the remit of the governing board include:

  • related party transactions;
  • conflicts of interest;
  • lack of an appropriate organisational and governance structure with defined lines of authority and reporting responsibilities;
  • management demonstrates lack of attention to ethical values;
  • lack of personnel policies and recruitment practices;
  • accounting systems are inadequate;
  • no mechanism exists to inform management, directors, trustees or and governors of possible fraud.

Due to the nature of fraud, risk factors may not be exclusive to just one area and the guidance outlines that “the document is not exhaustive and is a guide only, but may be helpful for use as a checklist where concerns exists that fraudulent activity may be taking place”. Click here to access the guidance.


Updates to the Ofsted Inspection Dashboard Summary Reports

Governors and trustees of schools can now find updated Ofsted Inspection Dashboard Summary Reports (IDSRs) on the Analyse School Performance (ASP) website. The IDSRs now include updated early years (final), key stage 1 (provisional), key stage 2 (revised), key stage 4 (revised), destinations (revised) and post-16 (provisional) data.

The IDSR is the data dashboard used by Ofsted to explore progress and attainment in schools prior to inspection. NGA has guidance to help governors and trustees access this document via the ASP portal; click here for more information.  


ESFA changes rules on post-16 maths and English GCSE resits

This week, the Education Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) has altered the “conditions of funding” for 16-19 pupils required to re-sit their maths and English GCSEs.

Previously, a condition of 16-19 funding was that, if a year 11 pupil achieved a grade 3 or below in their maths and/or English GCSE, they were required to re-sit the qualification(s) until they achieved at least a grade 4 or they left compulsory education aged 18. The new update means that pupils who achieved a grade 2 or below (or are studying part-time post-16 and achieved a grade 3 in their GCSEs) will be able to either resit their GCSEs or “study towards a pass in functional skills level 2”. However, those who achieved a grade 3 in their year 11 maths and/or English GCSE, and are studying a full-time post-16 course, will still be required to re-sit their GCSE(s) until they achieve at least grade 4.

This move comes on the back of concerns raised by the Association of College Leaders (ASCL) who launched a commission of inquiry over last year’s GCSE results. One of ASCL’s primary concerns was that those pupils “who did not achieve a grade 4 [In maths and/or English GCSE]… face[d] the grind of compulsory resits” despite the fact that “the percentage of pupils attaining each grade is more or less fixed by a system known as comparable outcomes”. This means that roughly the same proportion of pupils will not reach grade 4 each year, putting low attainers at risk of having to take continuous resits.

For more information on GCSEs, please visit the NGA guidance centre.


DfE findings on gendered attitudes to STEM subjects at KS4

The Department for Education (DfE) has published the findings of a study into attitudes to STEM subjects at KS4. The report finds that “there were significant gendered differences in attitudes towards STEM subjects among KS4 pupils” The full findings of the study are available to access here. In 2017, the DfE’s published its Careers Strategy which highlights evidence that strong careers guidance has the potential to tackle gender and socio-economic stereotypes and barriers, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds who are less likely to receive high quality advice or know the right qualifications.

Governing boards of all schools may wish to ask their senior executive leader questions about how all children learn about the world of work and what is being done to challenge stereotypes and broaden horizons. NGA has written a guide for governors and trustees on careers guidance which sets out the duties of the governing boards of primary and secondary schools in the context of the broader aims of the government’s Careers Strategy, alongside the key resources, sources of information and data to consider when monitoring the provision and quality of careers guidance at your school(s).

Click here to learn more about the governing board’s role in improving careers guidance provision.


Spring Regional Events

Our regional meetings are a great way to network closely with fellow governors, trustees and clerks. The topics of discussion for spring 2019 will focus on the Ofsted inspection framework consultation and the board’s role in the curriculum. We will also update you on our Funding the Future campaign, our work on disadvantage, clerking and our latest guidance on executive pay.

The dates and locations are as follows:

Book your place at these key meetings in your area!


Young Governors Network

Our refreshed YGN events provide an informal opportunity for young governors (those aged under 40) to meet and share experiences. The next two events will be:

The sessions will offer plenty of time to network and the YGN team will be facilitating a discussion on balancing support and challenge.

All serving governors and trustees aged under 40 are welcome – attendees do not need to be a member of the NGA or YGN, so please do share this information with your governing board and networks. If you, a friend or colleague is interested in finding out more about being a governor, please do come along and/or invite them by registering on this page.


Join the NGA: Research and Information Officer

The National Governance Association (NGA) is pleased to be recruiting for a research and information officer to join our team in Birmingham.

While specific training and experience conducting academic or professional social research is desirable, all candidates who are educated to degree level or equivalent, and have experience of designing, carrying out and writing-up well researched pieces of work, are encouraged to apply. As well as being an active member of the policy team, the successful candidate will be expected to carry out primary data collection, quantitative and qualitative analysis, and to write detailed reports for a range of audiences. There may also be opportunities within the role to attend research events on behalf of NGA and to present findings at various events, external workshops and seminars.

For an application pack please visit our vacancies page

Closing Date for applicants: Monday 18tMarch 2019 (9:00 am)

Interviews to be held: Wednesday 27th March 2019 (please keep this date available)

Candidates who reach the interview stage will be contacted closer to the time with more information.

If you have any questions about the role please direct them to Tom Fellows, NGA’s Research Manager, at tom.fellows@nga.org.uk.


Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

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

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

Development for Clerks

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

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

Available to book for Spring/Summer 2019:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

East Riding

19 February

5 March

21 May

Sandwell

25 February

11 March

13 June

Norfolk

18 March

1 April

4 July

Sheffield

15 April

29 April

10 September

Nottinghamshire

29 April

15 May

18 September

 

Development for Chairs

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

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

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

Available to book for Spring/Summer 2019:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Bracknell Forest

4 March

11 March

25 April

Norfolk

1 May

15 May

26 June

Doncaster

1 May

15 May

26 June

Kent

12 August

26 August

27 September

 

DON’T MISS OUT!

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

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

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance

leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 3780


Learning Link login reminder

A reminder that Learning Link is accessible over half term. Our learning modules and resources are perfect for continuing your professional development and refreshing your governance knowledge during the break.

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

If you are unsure whether your school has access to Learning Link, please contact the team at learninglink@nga.org.uk and they will be able to check for you. If you would like to find out more about the service or purchase a subscription please click here.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 08/02/2019

Funding the Future: week of action

In the lead up to the governance week of action from 25 February – 2 March 2019 the weekly newsletter is highlighting the NGA’s nine ‘asks’ of the government in the comprehensive spending review (CSR). This week it is asks 4-7:

  • Ask 4. The pupil premium funding must be protected in real terms and included in the national funding formula, with reporting requirements retained.
  • Ask 5. The government must review funding for early years so that all children have access to high quality, teacher led early education.
  • Ask 6. The national funding formula must be implemented in full as soon as possible, with funding distributed directly to schools.
  • Ask 7. Funding settlements should be for a minimum of three years to enable schools to properly plan their budgets.

On Thursday 28 February at 14.00 – 17.00, governors and trustees will join together in the House of Commons to urge MPs to invest in the future of children and young people. Those governing in all schools are encouraged to join us, please click here to register for the event.

As governance is a collective action, you should discuss this with your governing board and agree a position before committing to the action. For other ways to get involved in the week of action, visit the Funding the Future campaign page.


Further evidence that schools and councils are struggling with high needs funding

This week, a High Court ruling provided further evidence that councils and schools are struggling to meet the needs of high needs pupils due to funding restraints.

A school has won a High Court ruling against a local authority which may have a significant impact on how LAs manage Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) going forward. The LA was found to have placed a child with significant special educational needs and disability (SEND) requirements into a school that was deemed to be unsuitable. The child in question previously attended a mainstream school in a different LA which accommodated their communication and sensory requirements. The school  chosen to enrol the pupil into felt that it was not equipped to meet the pupils’ needs, with the LA then subsequently amending the EHCP, including dropping many of the previous provisions for the child. Furthermore, although the school requested an extra £40,000 in funding, just over half the amount was offered. After the schools appeal to the secretary of state was rejected, the High Court subsequently ruled that the selected school was likely unsuitable. 

In addition this week, Tes has obtained figures from the Department of Education (DfE) under a freedom of information request which further highlighted the impact of the current funding crisis in schools. It was found that 20 councils had approached the DfE to transfer funding from the “schools block” to the “high needs” block in order to pay for special educational needs and disability (SEND) provisions. Tes also report that, in the councils concerned, the LA schools’ forums’ were against the move. 

Both of these stories reflect the current pressures on the high needs funding in schools, with the government recently announcing a £250 million investment over two years to help councils meet the needs of pupils with SEND. However, nearly three quarters of respondents to the School Governance in 2018 survey stated that high needs funding is insufficient and the Local Government Association (LGA) has previously projected a £536 million shortfall in funding for SEND support for 2018-19.


Lord Agnew writes letter to 28 trusts on excessive executive pay

On 5 February 2019, the parliamentary undersecretary for schools, Lord Agnew, wrote to the chair of trustees in 28 academy trusts to seek clarity on how they propose to address the issue of high executive pay.

In the letter, Lord Agnew reiterates the Department for Education’s focus on high pay in academy trusts and writes that “it is a divisive issue, diverting financial resources that are more effectively deployed to the front line of education”. He outlines that decisions on executive pay “must be proportional and defensible to the public sector market and should reflect value for money.”

When setting executive pay, Lord Agnew also outlined that it is necessary for trustees to consider the “educational performance” across the trust, to consider the trusts financial position, and to consider the number of pupils being taught across the organisation. The government has requested that each trust contacted provide information for all executives paid more than £100k per annum by 19 February.

To support those governing in setting a framework for the pay of their executive leader, NGA has produced a comprehensive guide exploring the key considerations that each board will need to focus on before making their pay decisions. It focuses on the principles of ethics, public service and fairness that should be at the forefront of trustees’ decision making. This guidance is available to access here.


Independent Malpractice Commission: public call for evidence

In June 2018, the joint council for qualifications (JCQ) announced it was to launch an Independent Malpractice Commission chaired by Sir John Dunford. NGA’s chief executive, Emma Knights, will also sit on the commission which will consider malpractice in both general and vocational assessments, with a final report expected in spring 2019.

The commission has put out a call for evidence, and we are inviting members to contribute their experience of the “nature, extent and drivers of malpractice both in the general and vocational examinations system”. To access the online call for evidence please click here or, alternatively, email commission@jcq.org.uk. Responses to the call for evidence should be submitted by 12:00 noon on Monday 18 March 2019.

Exam malpractice is a rising concern for schools, and this work ties into the Ethical Leadership Commission that Emma Knights sat on last year. Whilst schools are reacting to a changing exam landscape, with more technologies and a wide range of exam centres, the malpractice commission is hoping to future proof the exam system.

Governors and trustees are expected to understand performance, but also ensure that schools continue to behave ethically, and the views of those governing would be deeply beneficial to the commission.


DfE plans for character education benchmarks

This week, the secretary of state for education, Damian Hinds, has set out his ambition that all children should be able to access at least one of five foundations for building character. These are sport, creativity, performing, volunteering and membership, and the world of work.

As part of this, Mr Hinds has announced a new advisory group to develop “a new framework to help teachers and school leaders identify the types of opportunities that will help support their pupils to build character”. This will framework will also serve as a “self-assessment tool for schools to check how well they are doing”. Furthermore, Mr Hinds has also announced plans to reintroduce the government’s national character awards, which were first set up by Nicky Morgan but dropped by Justine Greening in 2017.

More information on new developments in character education will be released through the NGA e-newsletter. For more information on related subjects, including the curriculum and pupil wellbeing, please visit the NGA website.


NGA Spring Regional Meetings

Our regional meetings are a great way to network closely with fellow governors, trustees and clerks. The topics of discussion for spring 2019 will focus on the Ofsted inspection framework consultation and the board’s role in the curriculum. We will also update you on our Funding the Future campaign, our work on disadvantage, clerking and our latest guidance on executive pay.

The dates and locations are as follows:

Book your place at these key meetings in your area!


NGA Clerks’ Conference 2019

There are a few remaining places for the NGA Clerks’ Conference. To avoid disappointment, secure your place now.

The conference will be held on Wednesday 20 February 2019.

The conference is for clerks who are individual members of NGA as well as those whose governing boards are members and corporate members.

Registration for the conference is from 9:30 for a 10:00 start, finishing at 15:00.

The keynote address ‘Is your board getting the right information?’ will be delivered by Peter Swabey, Policy and Research Director at ICSA.

Dai Durbridge, Partner and Education Lawyer at Browne Jacobson will also be delivering session on clerking and safeguarding, detailing what all clerks need to know to ensure their governing boards are discharging their safeguarding duties effectively.

There will also be 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:

  • new departmental advice on school complaints
  • the clerk’s role in supporting the board in relation to NGA’s eight elements of effective governance
  • supporting compliance in your school: the role of the clerk

More details on the workshops are available upon booking from the Events Page of the website.


Young Governors’ Network events

Our refreshed YGN events provide an informal opportunity for young governors (those aged under 40) to meet and share experiences. The next two events will be:

The sessions will offer plenty of time to network and the YGN team will be facilitating a discussion on balancing support and challenge.

All serving governors and trustees aged under 40 are welcome – attendees do not need to be a member of the NGA or YGN, so please do share this information with your governing board and networks. If you, a friend or colleague is interested in finding out more about being a governor, please do come along and/or invite them by registering on this page.


Inspiring Governance Mentors

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.

The Inspiring Governance team is currently planning the next phase of mentoring skills workshops in Oldham, Bradford and Wandsworth. If you are an experienced chair or national leader of governance and are willing to mentor a future chair in these areas, please get in touch.

To have a look at the Future Chairs page on our website for the full list of priority areas and more information, please click here.

To get in touch, please contact Simon Richards, Chairs Development Manager, at: simon.richards@nga.org.uk.


New NGA website coming soon!

In the coming months, you are going to see some big changes to the NGA website.

We know that the website can be a cause of frustration for members - we took this feedback on board and made sure an overhaul of the site was high on our agenda. In March, we will be switching over to our new look website, which we are confident will support you as members more effectively and improve the overall user experience.

Listening to our members, we have put the guidance centre at the heart of our new website; giving you better access to the work of the policy team and helping you to find the latest, most authoritative information on all of the key governance issues. It is not just about finding the information (although improving the search function has been a real focus for us), you will also be able to save key articles, blogs and guidance to your account page to access them whenever you need them.

We will also be upgrading the event bookings system to make it simpler and easier to book onto events, giving you more control over the information you receive from us.

To make this website as member friendly and useful as possible, we have been supported by a group of members who have provided some very useful feedback and we are grateful to all of them for giving up their time to review the site.

We are sure March will be upon us in no time, and we will be sharing more information as the launch approaches - so watch this space!


New NGA job vacancy: finance manager

National Governance Association has an exciting opportunity for a Finance Manager to join the team based in Birmingham. The successful applicant will be employed on a full-time permanent basis (applications for job share or four days a week will be considered) and receive a competitive salary of £29,000 - £36,000 per annum.

To apply, please visit the NGA Current Vacancies page to download the job application pack and form. The closing date is Monday 4 March 2019.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 01/02/2019

Department for Education launch teacher recruitment and retention strategy

Earlier this week, the Department for Education (DfE) released its teacher recruitment and retention strategy. The aim of the strategy is to ensure that teaching continues to be an attractive and rewarding profession by tackling the most prominent concerns and professional obstacles faced by teachers and school leaders.

The strategy focuses on four priority areas:

  1. ensuring that schools provide a supportive culture and reduce workload
  2. providing support for teachers early in their careers
  3. ensuring that teaching remains attractive throughout a practitioners career
  4. attracting more people into the profession of teaching by making it easier for the right people to become teachers

NGA contributed to the strategy development alongside other organisations in the sector. For more information on the new strategy and to read the thoughts of Emma Knights, NGA’s chief executive, on recruitment and retention, please click here.


BBC finds £324 million council overspend this year on special education needs

Data from a series of Freedom of Information requests by the BBC has revealed that, across 123 local authorities (LAs), spending on children and young adults with complex needs is £324m over budget.

In response to growing pressures, the government has pledged an additional £250m to fund extra support, as well as a further £100m dedicated to creating new school places (see NGA newsletter 04/01/19 for more details). However, according to the BBC, councils are reporting that “funding has not kept pace with the growth in extra support”.

The shortfall has forced many LAs to draw on reserves or to appropriate funds from elsewhere in their education budgets in order to provide the support necessary to match an 11% increase in education, health and care plans in 2017-18 alone. Other solutions include eliminating the need for out-of-area placements through the creation of specialist local units. However, the long term savings associated with such measures still hinge on sufficient funding being provided, which will be considered as part of the next government spending review.

NGA also recognises the acute funding restraints affecting SEND provision, with 74% of respondents to the NGA/Tes School Governance in 2018 survey saying that current high needs funding is insufficient. As part of our Funding the Future campaign, NGA will continue to call for an increase to school budgets to ensure children and young people receive the standard of education they deserve. As part of this, NGA will continue our work to ensure SEND and high needs funding is sufficient.


Kreston Academies Benchmark report findings

The eighth Kreston Academies Benchmark report has been published. This year’s survey received responses from over 350 trusts, representing over 1,000 schools. The report warns that “further spending reductions will be hard to achieve, and that future funding uncertainty could begin to hit the way in which education is provided”. 80% of academies surveyed identified their greatest risks as changes in government funding, and unfunded changes to staff pay and conditions.

On an optimistic note, the report emphasises that many trusts have worked hard to improve financial efficiencies, using mechanisms such as integrated curriculum financial planning and exploring additional income generation. However it found trusts are continuing to struggle, with 50% of academies still showing an in-year deficit.

The report findings support what governing boards have been telling us for some time: schools have already made significant cuts due to financial constraints, including to staff – and secondary schools have felt the biggest impact so far. Without further investment on the core revenue budget, funding pressures will not be managed without negative impact on the quality of education.

See below for an update from the Funding the Future campaign and NGA’s nine asks for school funding. You can read the full report here.


Funding the Future: week of action

In the lead up to the governance week of action from 25 February – 2 March 2019, the weekly newsletter will highlight  some of NGA’s nine ‘asks’ of the government in the comprehensive spending review (CSR). This week it’s asks one to three:

  1. The core revenue budget must be increased by at least £2 billion per year so that the basic rate that schools get for each pupil covers the costs of their education

The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has calculated that total school spending per pupil has fallen by 8% in real terms between 2009-10 and 2017-18. Meanwhile schools face rising costs and higher expectations. As a result, governing boards of both maintained schools and academies are being forced to make difficult decisions, compromising the quality of education in order to balance the budget. 

  1. The high needs budget for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities must be increased by at least £1.5 billion per year

This is needed to stave off the emerging crisis in high needs funding, created in part by the continued use of historic funding levels. The complexity of high needs services demanded by more and more children (and their parents) is far greater than was the case just a few years ago. Such increasing needs require recognition through the CSR.   

  1. The rate for 16-19 pupils must be increased to at least £4,760 per year

Cuts to school sixth forms are having a dramatic effect on the options available to learners post-16, with two thirds of those governing in sixth forms who responded to our NGA/Tes School Governance in 2018 survey telling us that the number of subjects they offered to pupils has been reduced. NGA supports the Raise the Rate Campaign for an increase in the funding rate for post-16 education settings. 

Join NGA’s lobby of Parliament: 28 February 

NGA are encouraging as many of you as possible to join us at the Houses of Parliament on the 28 February to lobby your MPs to highlight the concern of school governors and trustees and make the case for investment in schools. Get in touch with your MP and ask them to attend our meeting in Committee Room 10, House of Commons, between 14.00 – 16.00. Please click here to register for this event.

If you cannot make it on the day, please consider inviting their MP for a school visit on 1 March or to make an appointment at their MP consistency on 1-2 March.  

Alternatively, you can get involved by sharing your story about the impact of funding pressures on pupils’ education in your school.  If you are willing to share your story, please fill in this brief survey here.


DfE release School Snapshot Survey results

The Department for Education (DfE) has released its report on the school snapshot survey which was conducted last summer. The survey consisted of 758 interviews with school leaders and 1,040 interviews with classroom teachers. The aim was to uncover respondents’ views on a number of topics affecting the education sector today and find out how their school has responded to changes in the sector.

Respondents covered a wealth of issues in their responses, including: the curriculum; teacher workload, retention and recruitment; student support provision; and careers. Amongst the findings, the report covers some of the steps schools have taken to reduce teacher workload, which includes updating policies (92%) and altering how marking is carried out (93%).  Furthermore, the survey revealed the extent to which schools are meeting pupils’ basic needs, with 83% of secondary schools providing “free sanitary products” and over half raising concerns that some pupils in their school do not have access to a nutritious diet in the school holidays.

Many of the issues covered in the survey are relevant to governors and trustees and resonate with the NGA/TES School Governance in 2018 survey findings. Guidance and information on the majority of areas covered in the survey can be found on NGA’s Guidance Centre.


New research exploring the fairness of Progress 8 as a measure of school performance

This week, the University of Bristol has published a policy briefing summarising research which looks at the fairness of “Progress 8” as a measure of secondary school performance.

Progress 8, as summarised in this NGA guidance, is the main headline measure that the Department for Education (DfE) uses to assess secondary school performance. Progress 8 is calculated by looking at what pupils were projected to achieve based on their KS2 SATs scores compared to what they actually achieved at GCSE. In this respect, progress measures are “fairer” than attainment measures because they take into account prior outcomes of pupils. Nevertheless, progress measures do not take into account other characteristics which are known to affect pupil outcomes. This includes “pupil age, gender, ethnicity, English as an additional language, special education needs, free school meal status, and residential deprivation”.

Exploring this in more detail, researchers at the University of Bristol edited 2016 school data to create “Adjusted Progress 8” scores to account for these additional characteristics. Overall, the research suggests that “Progress 8 disproportionately punishes schools teaching high proportions of disadvantaged pupils”. The data shows that, when the Adjusted Progress scores were generated, some schools moved “by over 500 places” in the school league tables and 40% of schools were no longer deemed to be “underperforming”. Significantly, schools serving poorer communities were particularly likely to move up the league table while the “Progress 8 scores [of grammar schools] reduced substantially”. There were also geographical implications to adjusting the progress 8 scores – with those areas disproportionately serving poorer communities, such as the North East, moving up the league tables.

When analysing data, those governing should also be aware of their schools context and may want to use the Find and Compare Schools in England website to benchmark the outcomes of their pupils with other schools with a similar intake. Those governing can also access a wealth of resources to help them analyse data within the context of their school on the NGA website.


Place2Be Mental Health Week: 4-10 February

Place2Be has launched its campaign for Children’s Mental Health Week (4-10 February 2019). The theme is to take steps to be Healthy: Inside and Out, which will raise awareness of how to improve physical and mental wellbeing.

Place2Be’s Health Week website features free primary and secondary school resources (including assembly guides, top tips and classroom activities) to download which can be accessed here.

For more on the governing board’s role in supporting a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing, visit the NGA Guidance Centre.


NGA Spring Regional Meetings

Our regional meetings are a great way to network closely with fellow governors, trustees and clerks. The topics of discussion for spring 2019 will focus on the Ofsted inspection framework consultation and the board’s role in the curriculum. We will also update you on our Funding the Future campaign, our work on disadvantage, clerking and our latest guidance on executive pay.

The dates and locations are as follows:

Book your place at these key meetings in your area!


New NGA job vacancy: finance manager

National Governance Association has an exciting opportunity for a Finance Manager to join the team based in Birmingham. The successful applicant will be employed on a full-time permanent basis (applications for job share or four days a week will be considered) and receive a competitive salary of £29,000 - £36,000 per annum.

To apply, please visit the NGA Current Vacancies page to download the job application pack and form. The closing date is Monday 4 March 2019.


Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

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

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

Development for Clerks

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

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

Available to book – registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Wolverhampton

28 January

24 April


Available to book for Spring 2019:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

East Riding

19 February

5 March

21 May

Sandwell

25 February

11 March

13 June

Norfolk

18 March

1 April

4 July


Development for Chairs

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

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

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

Available to book for Spring 2019 – registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Sandwell

14 January

2 March

              Wigan             

     30 January      

28 February

 

Available to book for Spring 2019:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Wigan

14 January

30 January

28 February

Kent

28 January

8 February

22 March

Bracknell Forest

4 March

11 March

25 April

Norfolk

1 May

15 May

26 June

Doncaster

1 May

15 May

26 June


Additional cohorts are available on the NGA website.

DON’T MISS OUT! 

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

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

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

0121 237 3780


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 25/01/2019

Ethical approach to executive pay in academy trusts urged in new guidance

To support governing boards of academy trusts in setting a framework for the pay of their executive leader, NGA has produced new guidance. It builds on the ESFA’s Academies Financial Handbook 2018 which advises that “the board of trustees must ensure its decisions about levels of executive pay follow a robust evidence-based process and are reflective of the individual’s roles and responsibilities.”

Trustees have the direct responsibility of setting the pay of senior executive leaders (the principal of a single academy trust or the CEO of a multi academy trust). Our guidance presents a range of considerations that trustees can draw upon to help them set the framework for their trust and the remuneration package for the senior executive leader, including:

  • Benchmarking
  • Pay ratios
  • Comparing to other sectors
  • Recruitment and retention

Principles of ethics, public service and fairness should be the foundation of trustees’ decision. Trustees must be conscious that it is public money that they are spending and therefore that executive leadership roles cannot attract the same premiums as they would in the corporate sector. Those governing academy trusts should have a rigorous justification for their decision to ensure that it is accountable to stakeholders including parents and the taxpayer.

Click here to access the new guidance and read more on the NGA News Page.


Summit on Ethical Leadership in Education

NGA has been delighted to be involved in the Ethical Leadership Commission since April 2017. The Commission launched its report today (Friday 25 January) at a summit event in London. The agenda for the day hears key addresses from Dominic Herrington (interim national schools commissioner, Department for Education), Carolyn Roberts (Chair of the Ethical Leadership Commission), our own Emma Knights (chief executive, NGA), and Professor Dame Alison Peacock (chief executive, Chartered College of Teaching). The report details the work of the commission and the need for the framework in a changing educational landscape and gives a new set of principles to support school governors and trustees, as well as executive leaders, in navigating “the educational moral maze”.

NGA has been working with the commission and within the framework to create resources to help school leaders and governors/trustees evaluate the ethical leadership in their schools. The resources offer a range of options to embed the framework across the education system. NGA are leading a pathfinder project that invites school leaders to sign up to the framework and provides training and resources on how to build the values and virtues into working practices. Pathfinders will test out the resources – which include an ethical audit and a set of case studies – to look at what underpins the decisions they make and to understand how the framework can make a real difference to working practices and leadership styles.

NGA are continuing to invite pathfinders for the framework until Easter 2019 and interested schools can get in touch by emailing ethicalschools@nga.org.uk.


Public Accounts Committee report on academies

A new report by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) into academy accounts and performance has concluded that the governance of academy trusts must be strengthened.

The inquiry heard witnesses from Bright Tribe Trust and Durand Education Academy where a catalogue of high-profile failures have taken place. The PAC report concludes that such failures “have been costly to the taxpayer and damaging to children’s education with some academy trusts have misused public money through related-party transactions and paying excessive salaries.”

In 2017-18, the Department for Education provided funding of £20 billion to academy trusts and more than half of the pupil population are now educated in academy trusts. In order to ensure more rigorous oversight over the academies system, the PAC’s report made several recommendations including:

  • To improve transparency or accountability to parents and communities, the Academies Financial Handbook 2019 should require financial information to be made available at school level and there should be transparency about governance at all levels of the trust.
  • To ensure that parents are able to escalate concerns about academies, the DfE should ensure that all academy trusts have published complaints procedures, including a named individual.
  • Where there have been serious failings at academy trusts, the DfE should set out what sanctions it imposes, and explain how it plans to strengthen its sanctions to deter and punish those involved malpractice, including governors and trustees.
  • To ensure that the Education, Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) is sufficiently transparent about concerns on the financial management and governance of academy trusts, the results of investigations should made public within 2 months of completion. 

You can read the full findings and recommendations from the PAC here. The report underlines why effective, accountable and ethical governance is essential to maintaining standards across all schools. You can access a whole suite of guidance and support material on governance in academy trusts in the NGA Guidance Centre.


Only 77% of schools respond to asbestos survey

This week’s report from Public Accounts Committee has also detailed that a large number of schools have not reported back to the Department for Education on the prevalence, condition and management of asbestos on their property. The DfE have extended the deadline for a third time, allowing schools until the 15th of February next month to reply.

The committee questioned whether the poor response rate may be related to schools reluctance to announce their management of asbestos publically, without the adequate funding to handle it. The Department responded by stating that ensuring adequate funding to deal with asbestos would be a ‘top priority’.

Among those scrutinised by the committee was the interim CEO of Bright Tribe, who detailed that that asbestos management across the trust was previously ‘not as it should have been’.

Governors and trustees should be aware of their statutory obligations to ensure that the school site is managed effectively. NGA has produced some questions for governing boards to ask.


National Audit Office publish report on children's social care

On Wednesday, the National Audit Office (NAO) published a report which looked into the pressures on children’s social care. The report identified a 7% increase in referrals to children’s social care from 2010 to 2018, an increase roughly in line with population growth. However, the report highlighted that the number of child-protection assessments made by local authorities has rocketed, rising by 77% in the same time period, while the increase in children at care has been more than triple the rate of overall population growth.

This has created problems for local authorities, occurring in a period where council budgets have been cut by nearly 30%. The result is that 91% of local authorities are now overspending on children’s services, with plans for the 2018-19 financial year showing that local authorities are now expecting to spend over 9% more on looked-after children than they budgeted for only a year ago.

The report concluded that the Department for Education did not “fully understand” the rising demand for children’s social care, and that meeting their target of ensuring all children had access to high-quality support by 2022 looked like a “tall order.” It recommended that the DfE should build on the NAO’s research and focus on reducing variation in services between local authorities; increasing the capacity of residential children homes; and assessing whether the reliance on Ofsted assessments of the quality of social care is sufficient.

These findings, highlighting the number of children living in vulnerable and precarious circumstances, are consistent with our findings in the 2018 NGA/TES survey, where 48% of respondents said that their school were offering additional services to families such as subsiding uniform costs, washing school uniforms, and providing additional meals or a food bank. Our recent research into the pupil premium, as part of our Spotlight on Disadvantage project, highlighted that boards should consider funding initiatives of this kind through the pupil premium. In some cases, these services might better address the barriers to attainment being faced by disadvantaged pupils than teaching and learning focused initiatives.


Funding the Future: week of action 25 February – 2 March 2019

There are just five weeks to go until the governance week of action on school funding. NGA are encouraging as many of you as possible to descend on the Houses of Parliament on the 28th February to lobby your MPs and make clear the scale and severity of the concern of school governors and trustees and make the case for investment in schools.

For many of you balancing your school or trust’s budget is your biggest challenge, with just one in five of respondents to last year’s annual governance survey saying that they would be able to manage the financial pressures they were under without adversely affecting the quality of education pupils receive.  In addition we continue to receive powerful stories from you about the impact on pupils of the decisions that governing boards are having to make about funding. Do keep sending us these stories and invite your MP into school during the week of action so that they can hear them first hand. This is so important if we are to make the intelligent case for investment through the forthcoming comprehensive spending review (CSR).  

If you would like your governing board to take part in the action, the first step is to contact your fellow governors/ trustees and encourage them to take part. You do not need to wait for the next meeting – email them today. As governance is a collective action, governors and trustees cannot act alone and should agree a position. When your governing board decides to take part, please register your interest by emailing Shelby Roberts via shelby.roberts@nga.org.uk and we will keep you updated on the plans for the day and provide resources you can use to make the meeting with your MP effective. Keep your eye on the Funding the Future page for updates.

In case you missed it, might be worth reading and sharing this article on school cuts from Anoosh Chakelian in the New Statesman this week.


New DfE email list for school business professionals

The Department for Education has developed a communications channel specifically for school business professionals. They will be sending occasional emails about the latest products and guidance for school resource management. Make sure you don’t miss out by signing up to the schools business professional contact list.


Young Governors’ Network events

Our refreshed YGN events provide an informal opportunity for young governors (those aged under 40) to meet and share experiences. The next two events will be:

The sessions will offer plenty of time to network and the YGN team will be giving a short pitch with an opportunity to discuss these topics with peers afterwards.

All serving governors/ trustees aged under 40 are welcome – attendees do not need to be a member of the NGA or YGN, so please do share this information with your governing board and networks. If you, a friend or colleague is interested in finding out more about being a governor, please do come along/ invite them by registering on this page.


NGA Spring Regional Conferences 

Booking for the NGA spring regional conferences is now open. The three conferences are:

  • 2 March - Manchester
  • 9 March - Brighton
  • 23 March - Birmingham

The programmes for these events will focus on the curriculum with keynote sessions from Ofsted, Regional Schools Commissioners and the Head Teachers Board.

These conferences are free for NGA members; places are limited so book now to avoid disappointment.    

Individual members are entitled to one place and Gold members are entitled to three places. Where members would like to book more than one place, we will do our best to accommodate this request. Please email events@nga.org.uk.


Learning Link: how can your board develop a strategic approach to arts education?

Don’t forget to check out our Learning Link module ‘Arts and cultural education: improving your school and its curriculum’. Created in partnership with and funded by Arts Council England, this module will take 45 minutes to complete and aims to inform and empower school governors and trutees on how arts and cultural education can be used for school improvement and enhancing the school curriculum.

If you would like to subscribe or log in to Learning Link click here to access this module.


From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 18/01/2019

New Ofsted Inspection Framework: consultation open

In September last year, her majesty’s chief inspector for Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, announced her intention to develop a 2019 Ofsted inspection framework with curriculum as a central focus. The rationale for this, she outlined, was because Ofsted has previously placed “too much weight on test and exam results”.

This week, Ofsted has published the consultation of its draft framework for the inspection of maintained and academy schools, to take effect from September 2019. Ofsted intended for a single “quality of education” judgement to replace the existing “quality of teaching, learning and assessment” and “outcomes for pupils” categories. The proposals are that inspectors will focus on a provider’s curriculum intent, implementation and impact, and pupil performance will not be considered in isolation but in the context of the school curriculum. The aim is to “de-intensify the inspection focus on performance data and place more emphasis on the substance of education and what matters most to learners and practitioners.” The framework proposals are based on in-depth research carried out by Ofsted, details of which can be found here.

Further information on the proposed changes can be found at the NGA News Page.

Over the coming months, NGA will provide further views, analysis and updates regarding Ofsted’s draft framework , and give members the opportunity to feed into our consultation response, including though our Spring regional meetings. Governing boards are encouraged to read and consider the framework, and respond to Ofsted’s consultation, which closes on 5 April 2019.


Funding the Future: support the NGA week of action

This week has seen more headlines about the challenges faced by schools throughout the country in managing funding pressures and the adverse impact of impact insufficient funding on children and young people.

A survey of over 480 headteachers carried out by the WorthLess? Campaign for fairer funding revealed that nearly three quarters were concerned that their school was at a higher risk of deficit in 2019-20 compared to previous years. Elsewhere, it was reported that over 60% of schools in Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, are “predicted to be in deficit within two years”, and Bayton Church of England Primary School near Kidderminster in Worcester has started a crowdfunding campaign in an attempt to raise £20k to make up for a shortfall in its budget caused by significant financial pressures.         

Such stories resonate with what governors and trustees are telling us about the crisis in school funding and what funding constraints actually mean for pupils. As you know, NGA is aiming to galvanise and equip governing boards that are concerned or impacted by funding pressures to engage with and lobby their own MP during a week of action. Furthermore, NGA is also looking to collect stories about funding pressures in schools and is asking respondents to share their own experiences. If you are willing to share your story, please fill in this brief survey.

For more information on what the week of action will look like for NGA and governing boards, please visit the Funding the Future page. Remember to also keep your eye on this page for further updates on campaign activates.


Governing Matters: January/February edition

GM-Jan-Feb-19.PNG

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

Cover stories include:

  • NGA Annual Conference – striving for the best

Sam Henson, NGA’s director of policy and information and Tom Fellows, NGA’s senior research lead report on the NGA annual conference

  • Crossed wires – getting MAT communications right

Sam Henson, NGA’s Director of policy and information, explores some practical steps to help MATs communicate effectively

  • Life After School – the importance of careers guidance

Sir John Holman, senior education adviser at the Gatsby Foundation outlines the role schools can play in preparing their students for their next stage of life

  • Research Matters – Teacher recruitment and retention

Tom Fellows, NGA’s senior research lead, analyses the findings from the latest NfER survey

  • Education Policy – Parting shots

Before she left at the end of last term, Gillian Allcroft, NGA’s former deputy chief executive, reflects on what has changed, what remains the same and what still needs to be done with education policy

  • NGA Members Survey – Governance practice

Shelby Roberts, NGA’s policy officer, summarises the findings from the 2018 annual membership survey.

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.


Share your experience and practice with our members

We are inviting you to share your governance experience and best practice with other governors, trustees and clerks by writing for Governing Matters or the NGA blog. The opportunity to exchange ideas, learn about others’ experiences and discover new insights is a key benefit for NGA members.

Some things you might consider writing about are:

  • how your governing board has supported and challenged your school/ trust to improve in a particular area
  • what your governing board has learned by doing something differently or introducing a new practice
  • how your governing board has effectively delivered on the three core functions
  • the journey of your school and how governance has contributed to the development
  • a challenge that your governing board has successfully overcome
  • the impact that your governance has had on an aspect of the school improvement
  • how your governing board has navigated a major change

Articles should focus on the role that the governing board has played in the experience and the practical advice that you can offer to others. Please email kirstie.ebbs@nga.org.uk with your suggestions.


DfE consultation on changes to teacher pension contributions

In the 28/09/18 newsletter, NGA reported on a treasury review of public sector pension schemes. The outcome of this for schools is that teacher pension contributions will rise from 16.48% (in 2018/19) to 23.6% (for the period 1 September 2019 to 31 March 2023). The government estimate that, for 2019-20, this increase will cost state-funded schools £830m and Further Education (FE) institutions £80m.

The Department for Education (DfE) is proposing to “provide funding towards” the £830m (in state-schools) and the £80m (in FE institutions) for the costs incurred in 2019/20. However, according to FE week, “any further funding [beyond 2020] would rely on the government’s spending review” scheduled for next year.

This week, the DfE is running a public consultation on the changes and, specifically, on their plans to provide 2019/20 funding towards the contribution costs. If you would like to participate in the consultation please click here. For more information on financial management and pension contributions in schools, please visit the NGA guidance centre.


New DfE site to compare teacher supply costs and Teaching Vacancies rollout continues

On Monday, the Department for Education (DfE) published an online tool which signposted schools to a list of local agencies providing the type of worker they are seeking. These agencies will be sorted by the rates they charge, making it easier for schools to find the best deal for them. From a governance perspective, those governing can ask senior leaders if they have used this tool to see if savings are possible compared to their existing provider.

Also this week, the DfE is continuing its rollout of the Teaching Vacancies service, with schools in Lancaster & West Yorkshire and East Midlands & Humber now being invited to use the service. The rollout is planned to finish next month when schools from the West Midlands and South West England will be invited; schools in all other regions can already post vacancies. The service is free and there are already about 400 vacancies on the site. Those governing can ask senior leaders if they have considered using the service as a way of reducing the costs of advertising vacancies.

More information on the DfE’s work around teacher and school leader supply, recruitment and workload can be found in their January termly bulletin. The NGA also has a number of resources on these topics on the NGA guidance centre.


Calling all schools: nominations open for UK Parliament Awards 2019

Nominations are open for the Your UK Parliament Awards. These awards recognise people, schools and organisations who helped make a difference and made Parliament more accessible to people in the UK last year. If you or someone you know ran a project in 2018 which had a positive impact on schools or communities, you can nominate them in the following categories:

The deadline for nominations is Sunday 3 February 2019. The Speaker of the House, a panel of MPs, Lords and independent judges will choose the Award winners. The Awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday 12 March 2019 at the Houses of Parliament.


NGA Spring Regional Conferences 2019

Booking for the NGA spring regional conferences is now open. The three conferences are:

  • 2 March Manchester
  • 9 March Brighton
  • 23 March Birmingham

The programmes for these events will focus on the curriculum with keynote sessions from Ofsted, Regional Schools Commissioners and the Head Teachers Board.

These conferences are free for NGA members; places are limited so book now to avoid disappointment.    

Individual members are entitled to one place and Gold members are entitled to three places. Where members would like to book more than one place, we will do our best to accommodate this request. Please email events@nga.org.uk.


Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

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

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

Development for Clerks

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

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

Available to book – registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Cambridgeshire

14 January

4 April


Available to book for Spring 2019:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Wolverhampton

14 January

28 January

29 April

Newham

14 January

28 January

4 May

Stockport

14 January

28 January

8 May

East Riding

19 February

5 March

21 May

Sandwell

25 February

11 March

13 June

Norfolk

18 March

1 April

4 July

 

Development for Chairs

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

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

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

Available to book for Spring 2019 – registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Cambridgeshire

14 January

2 March

Lincolnshire

17 January

14 February

 

Available to book for Spring 2019:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Newham

14 January

28 January

9 March

Wigan

14 January

30 January

28 February

Kent

28 January

8 February

22 March

Bracknell Forest

4 March

11 March

25 April

Additional cohorts are available on the NGA website.

DON’T MISS OUT!     

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

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

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

0121 237 3780

From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 11/01/2019

Funding the Future: will your board take part in our week of action?

On Thursday 28 February, NGA will be leading a lobby of parliament to call for more funding for schools. Governors and trustees care passionately about the education their school provides to its pupils; tens of thousands of volunteers across the country are concerned about the adverse impact insufficient funding is having on children and young people.

This day of action will give governing boards the opportunity to join together and urge MPs to invest in the future of children. Whether your governing board has taken specific action because of funding pressures or you have concerns about the long-term picture in your school, we need governing boards from all school types, phases and locations to come along in support.

On the day, we are asking governing board to arrange a meeting with their MP to speak to them about their concerns. NGA also plan to hold a meeting on school funding in parliament to make clear the scale and severity of the concern of school governors and trustees; by coming along you will be helping us – and thousands of other NGA members – to amplify the voice of governance on school funding.

If you would like your governing board to take part in the action, the first step is to contact your fellow governors/ trustees and encourage them to take part. You do not need to wait for the next meeting – email them today. As governance is a collective action, governors and trustees cannot act alone and should agree a position. When your governing board decides to take part, please register your interest by emailing Shelby Roberts via shelby.roberts@nga.org.uk and we will keep you updated on the plans for the day and provide resources you can use to make the meeting with your MP effective.

On a related note, school funding hit the headlines again this week following a new report by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) which has found variations in the financial performance of different types of school. The report found that, as of 2017/18, “across all state-funded schools, 48 per cent of primary schools, 54 per cent of secondary schools, and 45 per cent of special schools, had expenditure that exceeded income”.

Keep your eye on the Funding the Future page for updates.


Emma Knights’ blog: Are you confident and effective in your governance role?

Responding to education journalist Laura McInerney’s recent article which said “the average person who takes on a school governor role is really being thrown into a massive deep cave and asked to map its insides using nothing but a lighter”, Emma Knights’ new blog focuses on what governing boards can do to ensure volunteers feel confident and effective in the role.

Emma explains the wealth of opportunities and resources available to governors and trustees, and provides reassurance that many governing say it takes them a year or more to feel comfortable in their role. Reiterating NGA’s view that induction training for governors and trustees should be mandatory, Emma asks whether 2019 could be the year that induction happens on each and every board.

Governing boards are encouraged to consider:

  • how they support all of their governors/ trustees to feel confident and capable
  • how they provide induction training and support for new volunteers
  • their ongoing commitment to governor/ trustee training and development

The blog also explores the information which governing boards receive from senior leaders, and the importance of triangulating evidence and questioning the information received – something which will rise to the top of NGA’s agenda this year.

Click here to read the blog.


School teacher development budgets fall for the first time

The Teacher Development Trust has published new research data alongside SchoolDash, claiming that staff development budgets declined between 2016 and 2017. According to the data, teacher training budgets reduced by twelve per cent in secondary schools and seven per cent in primary schools.

Interestingly, there were significant regional variations. For example, primary schools in Solihull and Blackpool allocated less than £400 per teacher, on average, for professional development and staff training, whereas primary schools in Hampshire and Durham allocated well over £1000 per teacher on average. In general, schools with higher proportions of deprived pupils tended to spend more on staff development. The research suggested that this could be due to higher funding levels, or the fact that they tend to have younger and less qualified staff.

The data also showed that spending on learning resources had also fallen, suggesting that general funding pressures might better explain the changes to teacher training budgets than reprioritisations. The research included the publication of a benchmarking tool which allows individual schools to compare their staff development spending with other schools either locally or nationally. Those governing can use this tool to inform challenge of senior leaders, by highlighting if their spending is particularly high or low relative to local or national averages. Higher staff development spending could correlate with lower staff absence and better retention.


Education, Health and Care Plan waiting times exceed 20 weeks  

The BBC has reported that families are having to wait longer than the legally stipulated 20 weeks waiting time for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

It was found that over 26,000 applications took longer than the recommended 20 weeks. Furthermore, the longest length of time an individual had to wait for their application to be considered was 1,023 days.

The BBC reported that, according to some councils, these delays can been attributed to the increased demand for EHC plans, coupled with the transfer from statements to EHC plans, which has resulted in councils being unable to handle the increased workload.

As well as increased waiting times it has been reported that there has been an increase in the number of parents taking councils to tribunals at various stages of the EHC process.

This is something NGA has previously reported on and you can read more about it here. On the issue of provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), 74% of respondents to the NGA/Tes School Governance in 2018 survey stated that current high needs funding is insufficient. As part of our Funding the Future campaign, NGA will continue to call for an increase to school budgets to ensure children and young people receive the standard of education they deserve. As part of this, NGA will continue our work to ensure SEND and high needs funding is sufficient.


Report finds that schools not fulfilling key duties on technical careers guidance

As part of the government reforms to technical education, since January 2018 secondary schools across England have been required by law (under the so-called ‘Baker clause’) to allow other education and training provider’s access to their pupils to inform them of technical and vocational qualifications. The access arrangements for training providers must be set out on the school website.

A recent report by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) has explored compliance with the legislation and found that compliance with the Baker clause remains poor. The key findings of the report show that:

  • just two in five schools (37.6%) published a provider access statement
  • most technical education providers think that the Baker clause has failed to deliver on its aims; 70.1% said that it is difficult to access schools in their area and 6.3% said it has become more difficult
  • however, 31.3% of technical providers say that the situation has improved in the last year

Governing boards in all schools should seek to ensure a strategic focus on improving the quality of careers guidance provision in line with the Gatsby Benchmarks for Good Careers Guidance. To support boards in this key role, NGA has written a new guide for governors and trustees on careers guidance with support from the Careers & Enterprise Company, Education & Employers and the Gatsby Foundation which is available to access here.


Governing board diversity

This week, the NGA team will be speaking to members of two networks that promote and celebrate diversity and inclusion to encourage education professionals from underrepresented groups to volunteer as a governor/ trustee in a different school – Diverse Educators on 12 January and BAMEed on 19 January.

To continue to create change in the diversity of governing boards, you should consider whether the governors/ trustees reflect the school community and wider society. If your governing board would like to recruit volunteers with a greater range of perspectives, backgrounds and lived experience, the Everyone on Board campaign page links to resources providing advice on this. You can also sign up for or log in to Inspiring Governance which has thousands of volunteers from across the country.

As a governing board, you can also check that senior leaders are encouraging their staff to engage with networks that aim to support the career progression of underrepresented groups, along with creating change for future generations of educators – these groups include BAMEed, DisabilityED, LGBTed and WomenED.


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.

Since its inception, Future Chairs has facilitated nearly 60 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 four of the project, adding Oldham, Wandsworth and Fenland & East Cambridgeshire 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 Future Chairs page on our website here for the full list of priority areas and more information.

And finally, if any of our members in these areas are interested in chairing in an additional school or moving to a different school, we would love to hear from you.

Contact Simon Richards, Chairs Development Manager at simon.richards@nga.org.uk.


NGA Spring Regional Conferences 2019

Bookings for the NGA spring regional conferences are now open. The three conferences are:

  • 2 March Manchester
  • 9 March Brighton
  • 23 March Birmingham

The programmes for these events will focus on the curriculum, with keynote sessions from Ofsted, Regional Schools Commissioners and the Head Teachers Board.

These conferences are free for NGA members; places are limited so book now to avoid disappointment.

Individual members are entitled to one place and Gold members are entitled to three places. Where members would like to book more than one place, we will do our best to accommodate this request. Please email events@nga.org.uk.


Arts & cultural education eLearning module launched to support governing board

As we mentioned in our last edition before Christmas we were delighted to introduce a new Learning Link module ‘Arts and cultural education: improving your school and its curriculum’. Created in partnership with and funded by Arts Council England, this module will take 45 minutes to complete and aims to inform and empower school governors and trustees on how arts and cultural education can be used for school improvement and enhancing the school curriculum.

The module explores six key areas where schools can use arts and cultural education to improve outcomes including health and wellbeing, social mobility and developing life skills and employability skills. In completing the module, governors and trustees will:

  • have the opportunity to develop their understanding of what arts and cultural education means
  • learn from real-life explanations from those governing, school leaders and employers on how arts and culture can improve schools
  • assess the role their board plays in cultural education and develop a more strategic approach
  • discover how to make the most of existing opportunities, including programmes like Artsmark Award and Arts Award

If you have not already do so, we would request that you watch this introductory film from Darren Henley, CEO of Arts Council England and a school governor, to find out why governors and trustees should take this module, or read his blog.

If you would like to subscribe or log in to Learning Link click here to access this module.


Governance Training for Chairs, Clerks & Boards funded by DfE

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

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

Development for Clerks

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

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

Available to book – registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Cambridgeshire

14 January

4 April

 

Available to book for Spring 2019:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Wolverhampton

14 January

28 January

29 April

Newham

14 January

28 January

4 May

Stockport

14 January

28 January

8 May

East Riding

19 February

5 March

21 May

Sandwell

25 February

11 March

13 June

Norfolk

18 March

1 April

4 July

 

Development for Chairs

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

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

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

Available to book for Spring 2019 – registration extended:

Area

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Cambridgeshire

14 January

2 March

Lincolnshire

17 January

14 February

 

Available to book for Spring 2019:

Area

Register by

Pre-work begins

First face to face session

Newham

14 January

28 January

9 March

Wigan

14 January

30 January

28 February

Kent

28 January

8 February

22 March

 

Additional cohorts are available on the NGA website.

DON’T MISS OUT!

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

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

www.nga.org.uk/leadinggovernance

leading.governance@nga.org.uk

0121 237 3780



From the National Governance Association (NGA) News Briefing 04/01/2019

Introducing NGA’s new senior leadership team

New SLT

(Image description: Our new senior leadership team, from left to right; Heidi Copland, Sam Henson, Emma Knights, Steve Edmonds, and Emma Balchin)

Joining our chief executive, Emma Knights, and chief operating officer, Heidi Copland, NGA’s new senior leadership team are:

  • Sam Henson – director of policy and information. Previously NGA’s head of information, Sam will lead NGA’s information and research, including projects and campaigns concerned with governance policy, and provide invaluable MAT governance expertise.
  • Emma Balchin – director of professional development. Emma joined the NGA team in April 2018 and is responsible for developing NGA’s training and consultancy services so that they best improve the effectiveness of school governance practice.
  • Steve Edmonds – director of advice and guidance. NGA welcomes Steve, previously governor services manager at Birmingham City Council, to the team in this new role. Steve will ensure the development of high quality guidance for NGA members and supervise the delivery of a high quality advice to NGA GOLD members as well as supporting NGA’s work on good governance practice.


School governors and trustees recognised for service to education in New Year’s Honours

Several school governors and trustees have gained recognition for their services to education in the New Year’s Honours list 2019. Those receiving awards for school governance include:

  • Paul Anthony Irons, Chair of Governors at Fernwood School, Nottingham (MBE)
  • Douglas Stephen Seymour, Chair of Governors at Frank Wise School, Banbury (MBE)
  • Eileen Ann Vassie, Governor at Chelsfield Primary School, Kent (MBE)
  • Susan Elizabeth Barratt, lately Governor at Castle Hill High School, Cheshire (BEM)
  • Karen Joy Goldsworthy, Governor at Sparhawk Infant School and Nursery, Norfolk (BEM)

Other school governors and trustees on the list, who have been recognised for different achievements, include: Ruby Bhatti, trustee at Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust, Dixon Academies Trust and Rainbow Academy amongst other governance roles (OBE); Saeed Atcha, governor at Ladybridge High School, Bolton (MBE); and Stephen Addison, governor at Barking Abbey School, Essex (BEM). There is also recognition for two governors in further education colleges and for one independent school governor.

NGA would like to congratulate all recipients who received awards. NGA believes it is important to recognise and reward governors and trustees for their role in improving the education of children and young people, and to celebrate the impact that school governors, trustees and clerks are making in their communities. To encourage the nomination of governors and trustees for honours, NGA has prepared guidance to support this.


Additional £350 million funding announced for SEND

Damian Hinds, secretary of state for education, has announced that an additional £350 million has been allocated to support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The additional funding is to be used to provide “specialist support and tailored facilities” for children with SEND, with the hopes that such support will enable children with SEND to succeed academically.

It was announced that over the course of two years £250 million will be provided to councils, with an extra £100 million to be invested in creating more “specialist places within mainstream schools, colleges and special schools”. The additional funding is to ensure education providers can meet the needs of those with SEND and may be used for further investment in “more state-of-the-art facilities, such as sensory rooms and specialist equipment”.

Commenting on the additional funding, Damian Hinds outlined that: “We recognise that the high needs budget faces significant pressures and this additional investment will help … manage those pressures, whilst being able to invest to provide more support”.

NGA also recognises the acute funding restraints affecting SEND provision, with 74% of respondents to the NGA/Tes School Governance in 2018 survey saying that current high needs funding is insufficient. As part of our Funding the Future campaign, NGA will continue to call for an increase to school budgets to ensure children and young people receive the standard of education they deserve. As part of this, NGA will continue our work to ensure SEND and high needs funding is sufficient.


Final report from the Sutton Trust exploring sponsored academy chains

On 20 December 2018, the Sutton Trust released their fifth and final Chain Effects report. This analysis, which has been published every year since 2014, predominantly looks to assess the extent to which sponsored academies impact positively on the “educational outcomes of their often disadvantaged pupils”. This final report looks across the five years of data collected.

Visit the NGA research page for an overview of the key findings.


New analysis from Save the Children exploring the early learning gap and teacher supply

Children’s charity Save the Children has published two new pieces of analysis exploring recruitment and retention of early years teachers as well as new analysis of the DfE’s Early years foundation stage profile results: 2017 to 2018.

The analyses reveal that that the early learning attainment gap between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those from more well off backgrounds has widened. Furthermore, the researchers calculate that there is a “shortage of nearly 11,000 graduate early years teachers in England” and “a shortage of around 2,000 early years teachers in the most disadvantaged areas”.

Visit the NGA research page for an overview of the key findings.


Increase in parents citing exceptional medical or social grounds to get pupils into schools

As thousands of families prepare to apply for school places, figures obtained by The Times via freedom of information requests submitted to local authorities reveal that the number of applications based on exceptional medical or social grounds has risen 58 per cent since 2014, leading to complaints that more and more parents are attempting to bend the rules.

Although not all councils use the criterion, successful applications can provide a lifeline to those with genuine reasons for special consideration. These include serious illnesses such as spina bifida and cystic fibrosis, along with complex circumstances such as having recently lost a parent.

However, some parents have attempted to stretch the definition of exceptional medical or social needs to include factors such as proximity to a parent’s workplace and wanting to attend the same school as friends. Critics arguing that, if successful, such tactics can pose a threat to social mobility by pushing less advantaged yet perfectly eligible applicants to the back of the queue. Nevertheless, the Times found that, on average, only “10 per cent of applications were approved”.

Governors and trustees who are their own admissions authorities should be mindful of their obligation to ensure that their admissions criteria is clear, fair, objective and reasonable and that it complies with the Admissions Code. Further information can be found on the NGA guidance centre.


Schools urged to eliminate single-use plastics by 2022

Damian Hinds is urging schools to reduce their single-use plastic, and to eliminate this altogether by 2022. The challenge posed by the secretary of state for education comes amid the Governments 25 year environment plan to reduce single-use plastics, and the elimination of avoidable plastic waste by 2042.

Damian Hinds explains that “It’s not always easy but we all have a role to play in driving out avoidable plastic waste, and with more schools joining others and leading by example, we can help to leave our planet in a better state than we found it”. There are a number of initiatives to promote plastic free or eco-friendly schools, and the Department for Education has previously written on how recognition schemes can support your school’s progress.

Whilst there might be a cost to committing to making these changes, it is proposed that there could be a new tax on packaging which is not made up of at least 30% recycled content. Recycle now suggest that school governors and trustees should support the headteacher, other teacher and pupils in their plans to reduce plastic and increase recycling. More tips on how to reduce waste in schools can be found here.


Join NGA at upcoming Diverse Educators and BAMEed events

To further promote the importance of diversity on school governing boards, and the opportunity to volunteer, the NGA team will be hosting workshops at two upcoming conferences dedicated to diversity in education.

Our ‘school governance: developing yourself and creating change for others’ session will show educators the benefits of governing in other schools as part of their professional development, and demonstrate how increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in school governance can benefit pupils. Visit the Everyone on Board campaign page to find out more about why diverse governing boards are essential.

Both agendas offer many sessions of relevance to governance, and will provide a useful insight into issues that concern school’s pupils, staff and communities. The events are open to anyone interested in diversity, equality and inclusion in education. Follow the links below to see the agenda and book tickets.

Theme: This Is Me! ... Life without Labels – bringing together #BAMEed, #WomenEd, #LGBTed and #DisabilityEd.

Theme: Owning your professional identity.


Arts and cultural education eLearning module launched to support school governors and trustees

As we mentioned in our last edition before Christmas we were delighted to introduce a new Learning Link module ‘Arts and cultural education: improving your school and its curriculum’. Created in partnership with and funded by Arts Council England, this module will take 45 minutes to complete and aims to inform and empower school governors and trustees on how arts and cultural education can be used for school improvement and enhancing the school curriculum.

The module explores six key areas where schools can use arts and cultural education to improve outcomes including health and wellbeing, social mobility and developing life skills and employability skills.

In completing the module, governors and trustees will:

  • have the opportunity to develop their understanding of what arts and cultural education means
  • learn from real-life explanations from those governing, school leaders and employers on how arts and culture can improve schools
  • assess the role their board plays in cultural education and develop a more strategic approach
  • discover how to make the most of existing opportunities, including programmes like Artsmark Award and Arts Award

If you have not already do so, we would request that you watch this introductory film from Darren Henley, CEO of Arts Council England and a school governor, to find out why governors and trustees should take this module, or read his blog.

If you would like to subscribe or log in to Learning Link click here to access this module.


NGA Clerks’ Conference 2019

Bookings are now open for the NGA Clerks’ Conference and places are filling fast. To avoid disappointment, secure your place now.

The conference will be held on Wednesday 20 February 2019. 

The conference is for clerks who are individual members of NGA as well as those whose governing boards are members and corporate members.

Registration for the conference is from 9:30am for a 10:00am start, finishing at 3:30pm.

The day will include key notes from ICSA and Browne Jacobson, 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:

  • new departmental advice on school complaints
  • the clerk’s role in supporting the board in relation to NGA’s eight elements of effective governance
  • supporting compliance in your school: the role of the clerk

More details on the workshops are available upon booking from the Events Page of the website.


Spring 2019 Regional Events

We are pleased to announce that bookings are now open for our spring round of regional conferences.

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

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

The dates and locations are as follows:

Book your place now at these key conferences in your region!

Dates for the Regional Meetings for spring 2019 will be announced early in the New Year.






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