Articles for Governors' News

Page last updated 27/4/2017




These articles were prepared by NLAGB to appear in Governors' News


Summer Term 2017


NLAGB Website – Your way of accessing all information that Executive members identify as being of interest to all governors/trustees

In order to fulfil the aims of our constitution it is essential that executive members are able to share information that they receive from a variety of sources with all governors of affiliated schools. It is not our role to advise or influence actions and decisions in schools/academies but simply to help raise awareness of relevant information (on the basis that ‘none of us know what we don’t know’ until it is brought to our attention).

The largest proportion of your affiliation fees are used to fund our membership and involvement with the National Governors’ Association (NGA) which alerts us to numerous national developments/issues that we all need to be aware of. We aim to empower and support governors by ensuring that they are fully aware and in a positon to decide with their senior leadership teams, whether they wish to take action in response to any of this information.

Unfortunately, over recent months there have been difficulties in circulating some of the information that we receive.  As an independent organisation it is vital that we can communicate directly and at the moment the website is the main tool available to us so please do visit it regularly. However, we are very aware that governors are busy people who cannot be expected to be constantly spending time checking for new information. We are therefore considering various options and will be working closely with Governor Services and others to investigate ways of directly alerting governors to information that the executive has identified as important.  

The website also provides email contact for you to share ideas and concerns with executive members. However, we are a small group who also have numerous governor responsibilities ourselves and capacity is stretched as our work to represent governor opinion on numerous groups continues to grow. Please do be assured though that we do read and try to act upon all communications.

 

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North Lincolnshire Governor Conference 30th September 2017


Officers have set up a Conference Planning Task and Finish Group to organise this event which follows on from the highly successful ones in March 2014 and 15. The Association executive have been invited to sit on this group and Rob Smith has been representing us at the meetings. He is also now being joined by Angela Kipling and Peter Raspin who have both contributed heavily to preparations at the previous two conferences.

After the last planning meeting, when the focus of the conference was agreed as ‘Working together to strengthen governance in North Lincolnshire’, we were asked to use our close contacts with the National Governors’ Association (NGA) to try and secure Emma Knights, its Chief Executive, to be the principal keynote speaker. We are absolutely delighted that she responded immediately, changing plans and amending her existing commitments to be able to confirm that she can join us. She has also offered to do ‘table sessions’ with governors if required (stating that this is because our Association is so supportive working with NGA).

As summed up by Jane Laws, Lead Officer for Learning and Development & Study Parks, who is one of the officers on the Planning Group, this is wonderful news and we all hope that as many governors as possible will be able to attend the event because the benefits for everyone are huge. Not only do participants have the opportunity to hear about current national developments, they also find it incredibly helpful to have time to network and share ideas and concerns (lunch was superb at the last two conferences too – always a bonus).

NLAGB executive officers have requested that as much information as possible is shared with governors at the earliest opportunity so that busy governors can plan attendance into their very full diaries. We look forward to seeing you all on 30th September.  

  


GOVERNOR REPRESENTATION ON THE SCHOOLS FORUM


Schools Forum brings together statutorily prescribed representatives who work in, or support, schools and academies, to consider and make decisions on all issues relating to funding. As reported at the January Leadership Briefing sessions, the NLAGB works closely with officers and the Forum Chair, Ewart Gibb , NAHT and Head at Leys Farm Junior School, to ensure that governors are well represented on the group.

A system allowing potential new members to attend as observers prior to appointment has been very successful in helping them prepare to take up these roles as shown when two observers immediately took up positions over the last year as they became vacant due to changing circumstances of existing incombants. Shelly Collinson, governor at Oakfield, was the latest new member to be appointed in January.

When appointing governors and headteachers to the group, every effort is made to try and ensure that there is a wide representation of differing types of school also taking account of geographical spread. We were therefore delighted that when, at the recent Budget Briefing, we highlighted that there was now a vacancy for a new observer, Shelly Thomas who is vice chair at St Luke’s Special School, immediately expressed interest and is to be invited by Becky McIntyre, Director for Governance and Partnerships, to the next Forum meeting. If any other governor is interested in attending in the future as an observer to find out more about the work of the Forum then please do contact us either through your clerk or through our website.    

 

Budget Briefing Sessions 2017


These events have run for many years as an opportunity for all governors and headteachers to find out about financial issues and decisions affecting school budgets for the forthcoming year and beyond. In addition to receiving information, attendees are offered the opportunity to ask questions and clarify any areas of doubt or concern because government has made it clear that ensuring financial probity is one of the three core functions of a board of governors.

            The authority offered one session this year on 1st March and 19 heads and governors attended. Association executive members had requested that the presentation should particularly include areas that had been mentioned to us as causing concern to governors. These included Early Years Funding, the apprenticeship levy, school meals and use of the money available for learning partnerships, as well as updates on the consultation relating to the National Funding Formula and potential implications for North Lincolnshire. These were all covered and the powerpoint used to support these sessions has been made accessible to all governors by putting it onto our website as in previous years.


Funding for Education


          You will all undoubtedly have picked up in the media about the concerns that are being raised on the national arena about the level of funding in schools and academies. Authorities, unions and governors are all responding to the consultation on the National Funding Formula and using a variety of forums to talk to MP’s and ministers about their concerns and the implications. There is a widely-shared view nationally that proposals in the new Formula indicate ‘A slightly more equal sharing of not enough’. The consultation closes on 22nd March.

            NLAGB received a surprise last minute invitation to attend the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Education Governance and Leadership meeting in the House of Commons on 23rd February when school funding was being discussed. Myself as NLAGB chair and Rosie Pugh, Headteacher at Castledyke and long standing Forum member, attempted to attend this meeting to represent governors in North Lincolnshire. However, despite spending 7 hours on packed trains we were thwarted by Storm Doris and got no further than Peterborough. Luckily, other representatives from across the country were delayed but not prevented from attending and the minutes of the meeting (link on our website) show that there is unsurprising agreement from governors across the country about the implications of funding challenges for ourselves and senior leaders in all types of educational establishments. Emma Knight, NGA Chief Executive, informed those at the meeting that delegate views would be recorded and used, along with information from similar meetings with other school representatives, to inform discussions when Neil Carmichael MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee, who chaired the APPG meeting, together with other MP’s present at this meeting, subsequently met with Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb on 28th February to discuss school funding.  

            There is a wealth of information on the NGA website relating to funding if you want to read more on this click on the link below.

www.nga.org.uk


Angela Dunkerley, NLAGB Chair



Spring Term 2017

The Association Executive group can be contacted via email through our website which, along with all our other activities that bring us into regular contact with governors from across the authority, puts us in a really strong position to feel that we are aware of governor views and concerns when we represent you locally and nationally.

The site is updated weekly with information that we feel will be of interest to you all. Much of this comes via our affiliation to the National Governors’ Association (NGA). If there is other information that you would like to see included then please do let us know.

Angela Dunkerley, NLAGB Chair

 

           REPORT  FROM  THE NLAGB  ANNUAL  GENERAL MEETING

Wednesday 9th November 2016 at Melior Community College

DETERMINING THE DIRECTION OF TRAVEL

In view of the lack of clarity from ministers and the DfE about expectations nationally, the focus of the AGM this year was left open until October when a decision was made to use the event as an opportunity to highlight the information emerging nationally that should be helping us to understand what we all need to be thinking about now in determining the direction of travel for each of our schools/academies.

 

After the prescribed business of the AGM had been completed (during which a vote was taken which resulted in a decision that affiliation fees would increase in 2017/18 to £25 so that the organisation could continue its affiliation to NGA and the executive members could continue to provide the current level of support for all governors in North Lincolnshire), Angela shared information that she, and fellow executive member Rob Smith, had heard at the NGA Regional Conference in Sheffield on 1st October.

 

The advice continues to be to take your time and not rush into any decisions about structural change. Explore a wide range of options and ask questions. The most important consideration always has to be ‘what will change allow us to do for our children that we could not do now?’  A handout, kindly shared by colleagues on the regional branch of the National Coordinators of Governor Services Group, was provided for all those present at the AGM and this is now available on the NLAGB website. This suggests numerous questions that governors should be asking before making any major decision about structural change.

 

Angela summarised the messages that had been given by ministers over the last 8 months relating to the academies programme and used a powerpoint presentation (now available on the NLAGB website) to highlight key messages given at the conference by Jenny Bexon-Smith, Regional Schools Commissioner for East Midlands and Humber. Jenny was very clear that although academies and multi academy trusts remain the preferred government option, her view was that any structural change must not just be about ‘changing the deckchairs’ but must facilitate making a difference to the outcomes for the children. She went on to explore what was meant by ‘A school led system’, highlighting expectations about formal collaboration between establishments.

 

Peter Thorpe, Assistant Director: Education at the authority in North Lincolnshire then built on Angela’s input by using a powerpoint presentation he had entitled ‘Rising to the challenge of system wide transformation’ (also now available on the NLAGB website). He quite rightly began by emphasising the key desired outcomes for all our children which have not changed and the key factors that influence these. He then went on to reflect upon where we are now and how we got here before posing questions about how the mood music has changed and asking where it is all going to end. He focused on the local picture and possible options and asked governors to think about how their governing body was behaving regarding structural change (using wonderful imagery involving meerkats, ostriches, kangeroos and penguins!). Peter talked about ‘systems leadership’ and the need to be outward facing, collaborate with neighbours and take responsibility for the health of the system. He said that governors should ‘obsess on outcomes for children and young people’ and be resourceful leaders. They should be open to possibilities, demonstrate a belief in their team and show personal resilience and tenacity with the ability to learn continuously. He finished by suggesting that in orientating our schools for the future governors locally need to stay strong and steadfast, increase total capacity by becoming part of something bigger and placing schools at the heart of communities, facilitating family and community capacity.  

 

There was general discussion with a number of questions being posed and a general acknowledgment that there remains a lot of confusion and uncertainty at all levels but the important factor is that we all need to start the conversations in our own schools so that we are prepared to react to whatever considerations are put in front of us. Working to strengthen leadership and management capacity is the best way of retaining the power to determine the direction of travel.

 

Angela then highlighted that, in her capacity as chair of NLAGB, she had agreed to travel to Manchester on 19th November to attend the NGA National Conference when David Carter, National Schools Commissioner, Belita Scott, Governance Lead at Ofsted, Terry        and Emma Knights, NGA chief Executive would all be speaking. The information acquired from this will be placed on the NLAGB website so that all governors and headteachers can have access to this.

 

The AGM in 2017 will take place on Wednesday 15th November 2017.

 

NLAGB Executive Committee for 2016- 2017

The following people were elected for the coming year:

Chair:                                      Angela Dunkerley

Vice Chair:                              Peter Raspin

Treasurer:                               Denise West 

Secretary:                                Deborah Holland

Committee members:             Robert Smith

                                                Angela Kipling

                                                John Speyer

                                                Barbara Spencer

                                                Eleanor Wasley

 

More details about committee members and the full minutes from the AGM are on the NLAGB website.

 

Angela Dunkerley

NLAGB Chair

 

GOVERNANCE MATTERS

 

As previously reported, members of the NLAGB executive now meet formally each term with senior officers of the authority to discuss a variety of issues relating to governance locally.  The Terms of Reference for this group are on our website. The autumn meeting focussed amongst other things on insurance for governors, DBS checks, governor vacancy levels locally, authority plans for another conference and planning input for the Association AGM.  

 

 

BUDGET BRIEFING SESSION 2017

The authority has worked with us for many years in organising these very popular sessions for all governors, including headteacher governors. The aim is to share, at the earliest opportunity, the latest information on school budgets. Becky McIntyre, Assistant Director, Prevention and Commissioning, has led these sessions for many years to highlight any changes, offer advice to governors on the areas they should be monitoring and answer any questions. Unfortunately, this year the authority has had to take the decision to offer only one session in 2017 instead of the two that have been offered previously. The event this year will be on:

Wednesday 1st March 2017

6.30 to 8.00pm

(refreshments available from 6.30)

Learning Development Centre, South Leys Campus,

Enderby Road, Scunthorpe, DN17 2JL

 

AFFILIATION FEES

(Polite reminder)

 

Information from the National Governors’ Association confirms that affiliation fees for governing bodies in North Lincolnshire joining the North Lincolnshire Association are still amongst the lowest in the country. This revenue is essential in enabling us to function effectively by being affiliated to the national association and attending a variety of regional and national events. It is vital that, with constantly changing expectations on governors, we make every effort to ensure that we hear information from a wide range of speakers. Reports of our findings are always put into Governors’ News and on the website. The knowledge also helps us in our discussions with senior officers about developing support services for governors. Your fees also help to meet the costs involved in representing governors on numerous local groups.

In fairness to all schools we do closely monitor governors accessing our support to ensure that their school has contributed to the cost of the service – please avoid the embarrassment of finding that payment has been overlooked by checking that your school has paid the affiliation fee so that we can continue to provide the highest level of support to you all.

Denise West

Treasurer


November 2016



Well Done!!!

Congratulations to our very own Peter Raspin a member of the NLAGB Executive and a Governor of Melior Community Academy and Bottesford Junior School on winning the Community Champions Award 2016 for Services to School Governance, which is organised by North Lincolnshire Council. Peter was presented with his certificate at a dinner at the Baths Hall in Scunthorpe.





Summer Term 2016



NLAGB Website – A valuable resource for all governors

The profile of school governance has been raised significantly and practice is constantly evolving which means that we all need as much help as possible in keeping abreast of changes and expectations. The website in constantly being updated to provide all governors with information, advice and guidance (local and national) that executive members feel will be of interest to everyone.

 

It is essential that we all share ideas and good practice as we work to be as effective as possible in governing our schools and academies. We benefit hugely from the North Lincolnshire Association affiliating to the National Governors’ Association (NGA) and the website shares information from their weekly newsletter so that everyone has access to breaking news and general updates as they appear.  

 

The website also provides email contact with executive members. We continue to encourage every governor to visit the site regularly.

 

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Goodbye and a huge thank you to Stuart Cranidge


Stuart and his wife have now relocated to York to spend well-earned retirement time nearer to their family. We would like to take this opportunity to recognise the commitment and many hours of service that Stuart has dedicated to school governance over a very long period of time. Indeed, this was formally acknowledged at the North Lincolnshire Community Champions Ceremony in November 2015 when he deservedly won the category for services to school governance. Stuart was a founder member of the Association back in 1996 and has regularly used his own professional legal background and his analytical skills to provide support in dealing with some very complex issues. Stuart was never afraid to ‘ask the difficult questions’ but in a very positive and constructive way that helped everyone to work together in finding a solution. He has been a much valued colleague and friend and is going to be very much missed (although we luckily have his contact details and his promise to be at the end of the phone if we need him). Thank you Stuart for all that you have done for governance in North Lincolnshire. Enjoy a long, healthy and very happy retirement. 

Executive members would also at this point like to thank Stuart’s wife Rosemary for putting up with us invading her home on a regular basis over many years to hold our committee meetings cost free – helping to keep down our membership fees to schools to be some of the lowest in the country.



GOVERNOR REPRESENTATION ON THE SCHOOLS FORUM


Many of you will remember that at this time last year we put an article in Governors’ News explaining the purpose of the Forum in great detail and asking for anyone interested in taking up the forthcoming governor vacancies on this group to contact us.

We were delighted to be contacted by 3 governors all offering invaluable skills and backgrounds that would enable them to undertake this additional significant additional governor responsibility.

 

Working with senior officers and Ewart Gibbs, the headteacher who chairs the Forum, decisions on who to appoint have been made purely on ensuring that governor and headteacher representatives on the Forum covered as great a geographical representation of schools/academies as possible. On this basis Alan West was appointed last summer and Deborah Holland and Shelly Collinson began attending the meetings as observers. Deborah has now taken up the position left by Stuart Cranidge and Shelly continues to attend as observer. We are extremely grateful to all three of them as they join Denise West and Peter Raspin in ensuring that governors are well represented in the discussions and decision making that this vital group undertakes.

 

  


Budget Briefing Sessions 2016


These events provide an opportunity for all governors and headteachers to find out about financial issues and decisions affecting school budgets for the forthcoming year and beyond. In addition to receiving information, attendees are offered the opportunity to ask questions and clarify any areas of doubt or concern because government has made it clear that ensuring financial probity is one of the three core functions of a board of governors.

 

The sessions this year were at the LDC on 25th February and Castledyke Primary on 1st March and Becky McIntyre, Assistant Director Prevention and Commissioning began by explaining that there were no major changes this year. She highlighted that, although the intention of the government is to implement changes in 2017, we were all awaiting more details on the National Funding Formula that has been long promised.

 

As I write this article (7th March) details have actually just been released today on the Gov.uk website alerting us to a press release about ‘plans for a national funding formula to ensure that every school will have funding matched to need, to give every child an excellent education’. The website also explains that a consultation has been launched seeking views on the proposals. Views are also being sought on proposals to improve the distribution of high needs funding. It has taken over 4 years to reach this stage although in April 2013 the first steps were taken towards introducing a fairer system when more simplified formula requirements were brought in. The changes are clearly sensitive as there will inevitably be winners and losers across the country. Becky promised that as soon as details were available the authority would be analyzing these and would write out to schools to highlight the potential impact. It was noted that we are all also awaiting the White Paper that will have to be considered alongside this. The Governors’ Leadership Briefing sessions at the start of term will also be used to share more information as it emerges. 

 

We aim to ensure that these briefings are providing the information that headteachers and governors need and if anyone has suggestions about how these can be developed further or has ideas on how information relating to school finances is shared, then please do send these either to Becky or any executive committee member (or of course you can simply email our website).

 

Angela Dunkerley

NLAGB Chair

 

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Well Done !!

November 2015

Congratulations to our very own Stuart Cranidge a member of the NLAGB Executive and a Governor of Melior Community Academy on winning the Community Champions Award 2015 for Services to School Governance, which is organised by North Lincolnshire Council. Stuart was presented with his certificate at a dinner at the Baths Hall in Scunthorpe.




Articles for Governor's News



Autumn Term 2015


Thank you Bunty


Bunty Harris has been a very active, highly respected member of the Association Executive Committee for many years, fulfilling the role of secretary for much of that time. As a retired headteacher and, for many years, a highly effective chair of governors, Bunty’s knowledge, experience, insight and commitment to education has been absolutely invaluable. The profile of the Association in North Lincolnshire and the complexity of issues and tasks we now deal with has grown significantly over the years and Bunty’s expertise and willingness to analyse, reflect, question and identify possible ways forward has made her a real asset to the capacity of the committee as a whole.

 

Bunty represented governors for many years on the School Forum and was not afraid to ‘ask the difficult questions’. She was also 100% reliable helping with the basic practicalities of running events – conferences, the AGM, Budget Briefings – setting up, clearing up, serving refreshments in addition to the task of writing up endless minutes, etc. 

 

Unfortunately, due to a change in personal circumstances, Bunty has had to leave her governor roles and finish on the Executive Committee, a decision which we know has been very hard for her.

 

Bunty’s contribution is very much appreciated and she will definitely be sorely missed by the team. We do, however, totally understand the reasons why she is no longer able to continue and we wanted to publicly and sincerely thank her on behalf of all those who have benefitted over many years from her commitment to high quality governance.

 

We wish you every happiness in the future Bunty. Enjoy your extremely well deserved ‘me time’. 


National Governors Association (NGA) Summer Conference in Manchester

27th June 2015

Keynote speaker Rt. Hon. Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education gives insight into what is to come


Rob Smith (Chair Castledyke and Sir John Nelthorpe) and myself (Chair Winterton C of E Infants' and Vice Chair Winterton Community Academy) attended this Saturday conference to represent North Lincolnshire governors and to make sure that we could bring back information to circulate to you all as part of our role on the NLAGB executive.

 

Your affiliation fees to NLAGB enable us to affiliate to NGA and the conference began with recognition from the Chair of just what a thriving organisation this is. Membership is increasing rapidly as the profile of governance continues to be raised and the opportunities for Boards of Governors to shape educational provision locally increases, inevitably bringing with it increased pressures and accountability. NGA has established close relationships with all those involved in decision making at the very highest level and is well placed to make sure that the voice of governors is heard.      

 

As always, networking with governors from across the entire country, and speaking to those who support them in a variety of roles, was an extremely valuable part of our learning from the day. The event had attracted huge numbers, not least because for the first time in its history NGA had secured the Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan as the keynote speaker. Rob and I circulated separately for most of the day in order to engage in conversation with as many colleagues as possible to develop our shared understanding of what is available to support governors and what is emerging as good practice across the country.

 

In her short speech, Nicky Morgan began by emphasising government commitment to education over the next 5 years and spoke of the role that the 300,000 governors (the countrys biggest volunteer group) play in trying to make improvements aimed at ensuring that every single child, regardless of background or location, receives the very best educational provision so that they can reach their individual potential and have their personal horizons and expectations raised. Boards of Governors being ambitious and setting aspirational expectations for all was a recurring theme which emphasises the importance of every school/academy having a clear long term vision (see the NGA Framework for Governance) which informs strategy and short term improvement plans.

 

Stating that schools are not islands the Secretary of State spoke of the vital role of professional governance in an increasingly school led system resulting in schools/academys that are fully integrated into the local community but also fully linked with the outside world. As anticipated, she then went on to outline the government intention to move away from the stakeholder model of governance, suggesting that more governors with a business background should be recruited, appointed for what they bring in terms of skills and experience rather than the group they represent. Nicky Morgan said that the best run schools/academies are those where highly skilled governors provide strategic direction and then rigorously hold the educational professionals to account for performance against key indicators. It is anticipated that there will be much more on this in the autumn with extensive consultation involved. It will be vital that governors express their views and NGA will undoubtedly be our route locally for doing this. Personally I feel that this proposal raises a lot of issues that need very careful thought. In fact at the time of preparing this article (July 8th) NGA are already inviting governors to email them directly to register their views. Anyone wishing to do this should go to: nga.org.uk click the News tab then NGA Latest News, then Nicky Morgan addresses NGA Summer Conference.

 

We were then told that a period of stability and calm was needed to bed in curriculum reform BUT were reminded that this was not an excuse to ease off making further improvements to provision. This led to confirmation that the first bill to be passed (Education and Adoption Bill) would give increased power to act quickly on failing or coasting schools ones who have good attainment but who are not challenging and pushing children. It is very clear that the emphasis is going to be on the capacity of Leadership and Management (which of course includes governors) who will be expected to have in place a clear and sufficient plan for improvement.

 

Nicky Morgan ended by confirming her intention to tackle underperformance, challenge mediocrity and have the highest expectations for every child but gave reassurance that she was committed to working alongside governors, listening to their concerns and embracing their feedback. 

 

Questions had been invited by NGA in advance and, in the interests of time, NGA Chief Executive Emma Knights had collated these and put the key issues to Nicky Morgan. Not surprisingly the first one was Why are there still such inequalities in funding?  Nicky Morgan highlighted the manifesto commitment to developing a fairer funding formula and admitted that it could not be right that some schools received so much less than others. She spoke of meetings with the F40 group (representing the 40 worst funded authorities nationally) but expressed the view that change must be gradual in order to avoid increased turbulence as many schools would have to adjust to reduced funding in order for others to gain in a move to more equality. There were further questions relating to funding for 6th Form Education, Special Needs Provision and Pupil Premium (which Nicky Morgan confirmed would continue). The financial responsibilities of the Board were emphasised and I quote Every governing body and every individual governor should take seriously their role in ensuring that schools remain financially healthy with robust management systems in place. I believe that it is entirely right to trust schools with how best to spend their budgets.

 

In response to questions about the future roles of Local Authorities and Regional Schools Commissioners (who work with school leaders to promote and monitor academies and free schools) we were told that there was an expectation that they would work together as both are aiming for the same thing more good and outstanding schools.

 

When asked about EBaccs (the English Baccalaureate) the Secretary of State expressed the view that this should continue to focus on subjects that were highly valued by universities and that would most prepare young people to move on in life by equipping them with the right skills.

 

The difficulty being faced in recruiting high quality teachers and headteachers was raised and was acknowledged as a departmental priority. Nicky Morgan confirmed that there was a need to address the issue of people working unacceptably long hours.

 

A panel consisting of Emma Knights (NGA CEO), Paul Smith, Regional Schools Commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire and Andy Kent, Chair of the National Co-ordinators of Governor Service continued to take questions from the floor after the Secretary of State left the conference. These covered a range of topics including capacity in the system; the influence of school structure on ability to improve (strong suggestion that the greatest influence was the involvement of good people committed to improvement and it was not dependent on structure); the role of Regional Commissioners; the role of governor associations; the appropriateness of the EBacc for ALL pupils; qualities that make the best governors; the role of Teaching Schools in supporting the development of governance; Ofsted inspector understanding of governance and finally the challenges that assessing without levels poses for governors (and schools).

 

The afternoon was then entirely devoted to workshops covering FFT data dashboards (Rob attended Primary and Secondary ones); Being creative governors role with the curriculum (I really enjoyed this one); Recruiting and inducting governors; Governing Groups of Schools; Recruiting senior leaders; Whys and wherefores of governing board committees; Vision into reality (my second session) and Not quite out of the woods: Beyond austerity finance in schools. 

 

Rob and I travelled home with plenty to discuss and think about. Our learning at the conference will definitely affect our work on the association executive supporting the development of effective governance across North Lincolnshire.

 

Angela Dunkerley, NLAGB Chair & Rob Smith, NLAGB Executive Member 






The North Lincolnshire Association of Governing Bodies

The Association was established in 1996/7. Our principal aim is to support governors and governing bodies in North Lincolnshire. We pride ourselves on the quality of the relationships that the executive has established both locally and nationally because this allows us to pursue issues on behalf of governors in a very positive and constructive manner.

The Association affiliates to the National Governors’ Association. We help ensure that North Lincolnshire is well represented whenever possible at national events and conferences.

The executive committee is elected annually. It is strong, experienced and active. It encourages and supports all governors to become involved in the wider world of governance beyond their own school/academy.

The number of North Lincolnshire schools and academies affiliating to the Association has always been high. Our affiliation fees are amongst the lowest in the country. This is due to the goodwill of members and the support received from the authority. We are however, careful to maintain our total independence.

Please look out for a letter at the end of September from our Treasurer to renew your affiliation fees. The cost is still only £20 for secondary schools, £10 for special schools, £10 for primary schools and £10 for joint governing bodies. This is used to pay affiliation fees to the National Association and to meet costs necessarily incurred representing governors locally.

We believe that in an ever-changing world within education, it is increasingly vital that governors are aware of expectations upon, and opportunities for, governing bodies. We work to ensure that all governors can access the information, support and advice needed to carry out their role effectively.   

When asked to mediate on issues we try to ensure that negotiation takes place in a climate of mutual respect based on a clear understanding of respective roles. We work very closely with, but completely independently of, senior officers and other local authority staff who are employed to support governors. We have also developed very good relationships with many elected members.

All contact with the executive is treated in the strictest confidence. If we need to speak to officers or anyone else in order to pursue an issue that has been raised by governors then we will not give the names of individual governors or schools unless this has been discussed and agreed.

The recent Authority Peer Challenge Review in its focus on School Improvement comments ‘The local authority is supportive of a thriving Governing Body Association which in turn is helping to develop the strategic direction of the local authority.’

North Lincolnshire Education Strategy for Schools ‘All our Children’ states ‘Understanding and application of effective governance will make a significant contribution to improving outcomes for children and young people. The Association is fully committed to this aim.” We work to promote the highest possible standards of governance in North Lincolnshire by ensuring that governors are well represented and supported.

The executive members strive to make it simple for governors and governing bodies to contact them. We are grateful that the authority allows us to communicate with you through their termly newsletter Governors’ News and we try to ensure that at least one executive member is at every Briefing Session for Chairs at the start of each term so that governors can speak to us face to face if they wish to do so.

NLAGB Executive Committee 2014-2015

 

Officers

 

Chair: Angela Dunkerley.

Co-opted Governor Winterton C of E Infants School (Chair of Governors)

Trustee Winterton Community Academy (Vice Chair of Governors)

 

Vice Chair: Peter Raspin.

Sponsor Governor Melior Community Academy (Vice Chair of Governors)

LA Governor Bottesford Junior School (Vice Chair of Governors)

                                

Treasurer: Denise West.                         

LA Governor Enderby Road Infant School  (Chair of Governors) Former Headteacher.

 

Committee

 

Stuart Cranidge:

Sponsor Governor Melior Community Academy (Former Chair of Governors)


Angela Kipling:

LA Governor Berkeley Junior School (Vice Chair of Governors) Former Headteacher.

 

Robert Smith:

Co-Opted Governor Castledyke Primary School (Chair of Governors)

Foundation Governor Sir John Nelthorpe School (Chair of Governors)

 

John Speyer:

Co-Opted Governor Killingholme Primary School (Chair of Governors)

 

 

 

 

Governor Representation On The Schools Forum

The NLAGB co-ordinates appointment of governors onto the North Lincolnshire School’s forum and is anxious to ensure that every governor in the authority has the opportunity to consider putting themselves forward for the role. This is a real chance to become involved in discussions beyond your own school and to develop your understanding of, and involvement in, school funding issues. It does however require considerable commitment, as it is essential that the governors appointed attend meetings on a really regular basis.

The North Lincolnshire School’s forum consists of representatives from schools & academies together with representatives from associated organisations such as nursery and post 16 education providers.

Currently there are 3 maintained primary school head teachers,1 primary academy head teacher,1 maintained secondary school head teacher, 3 secondary academy head teachers, 1 maintained special school head teacher, 1 pupil referral unit representative, 3 governors of primary maintained schools, 1 governor  of a secondary academy 2 early years  private, voluntary and independent sector managers, 2 diocesan representatives (1 CofE & 1RC) and1 post 16 education provider

 As a group the forum has considerable power and influence and acts as a consultative body on some issues and a decision making body on others. For example, it decides how much funding may be centrally retained within the Dedicated Schools Grant (e.g. for the Admissions Service or for additional funding available for growing schools etc) and it also considers any proposed carry forward of deficits on central spend from one year to the next and proposals to de-delegate funding from maintained primary and secondary schools (e.g. for staff supply cover insurance or behaviour support).  The view of the forum members is sought in relation to things such as changes to the local funding formula, proposed changes to the operation of the minimum funding guarantee, changes to, or new, contracts affecting schools and arrangements for pupils with special education needs, in pupil referral units and in early years provision.

How to Contact Us

The Association executive can be contacted directly via the link on our website or letters can be sent to Angela Dunkerley c/o The Learning Development Centre, South Leys Campus, Enderby Road, Scunthorpe DN17 2JL.

Alternatively, the clerks on the governing body team at the local authority are always happy to relay messages to us so that we can contact governors directly if that is requested.

More information about us can be found on the Internet via the link:- http://nlagb.synthasite.com/   





Summer Term 2015

Budget Briefing Sessions 2015


These events have been running for at least 17 years now and are always well attended. They provide all governors and headteachers with an opportunity to find out about financial issues and decisions that will affect school budgets for the forthcoming year and beyond. In addition to receiving information, attendees are offered the opportunity to ask questions and clarify any areas of doubt or concern because government has made it clear that ensuring financial probity is one of the three core functions of a governing body.

 

Those who attended the LDC on 25th February and Castledyke Primary on 4th March this year heard Becky McIntyre, Assistant Director Prevention and Commissioning cover the following areas: an update and overview on School Funding changes; an overview and update on Schools Forum; an introduction to the new Early Years Pupil Premium and then remind governors about effective financial governance considerations. The powerpoint presentation is available to all governors on the NLAGB website.

 

Becky began by talking about the continued efforts to move towards a fairer education funding system nationally and explained that although North Lincolnshire is no longer in the bottom 40 lowest funded authorities in the country, it is still below the national average. Becky then offered additional information about the various elements that contribute to the total amount of money going into schools e.g. Early Years, Post 16, High Needs Place Funding, High Needs Top Up Pupil Premium, Universal Free School Meals, PE and Sports Premium. She then went on to explain that there is no change to the elements used in the local funding formula for 2015.  It was highlighted that the only budgets to be held centrally by the authority next year (as agreed by the Schools Forum) will be: the Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service; the Free School Meals Eligibility Checking Service; the Primary Behaviour Support Service; the Specialist Teaching Team of the Education Psychology Service and the Trade Union Convenors.

 

Time was then spent highlighting the constitution and function of the Schools Forum which acts as a consultative body on some issues and a decision making body on others. It is made up of representatives from schools and academies but with some representation from other non-school organisations such as nursery and post 16 education providers (for more detail see the article in this newsletter about future governor representation on the Forum).

 

The next issue to be considered in the session was pupil premium money, which for some schools represents a very significant figure. It was emphasised that all governors must not only be involved in decisions about how this money is spent but also, perhaps even more importantly, be actively involved in monitoring the IMPACT of these spending decisions. Governors must know how this money is affecting the achievement and attainment of the pupils it is aimed at and be confident that it is having a positive impact and helping to ‘narrow the gaps’. This led to discussion about the Early Years Pupil Premium which is being introduced in 2015 for 3 and 4 year olds in state-funded education. Rather than a set amount per pupil this will be based on an hourly rate of 53p paid on a pro rata basis. It is to be used to improve the quality of education for disadvantaged children and Ofsted will in future report on whether providers spend this funding effectively.

 

Becky finished by stressing that governors should be considering whether they are allocating resources available to the school in line with its strategic priorities, whether they are making full use of all assets and efficient use of all financial resources, how they are benchmarking against spending in other schools and ultimately whether they are getting best value for the money available to the school.  The importance of using the Schools Financial Value Standard as a tool to help give governing boards assurance that they have secure financial management practices in their schools was then discussed.

 

As always if anyone has suggestions about how these sessions could be developed further or has ideas on how information relating to school finances, or to the sort of additional support governors might need in handling these, then please do send these either to Becky or any executive committee member (or of course you can simply email our website).

 

 

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GOVERNOR REPRESENTATION ON THE SCHOOLS FORUM

 

This group is made up of representatives from schools and academies but with some representation from other non-school organisations such as nursery and post 16 education providers. In North Lincolnshire membership is made up as follows:

 

3 Maintained Primary Heads

1 Primary Academy Head

1 Maintained Secondary Head

3 Secondary Academy Heads

1 Maintained Special School Head

1 Pupil Referral Representative

3 Governors (Primary maintained)

1 Governor (Secondary academy)

2 Early Years – PVI (Private, Voluntary and Independent) managers

2 Diocesan (Church of England and Roman Catholic)

1 Post 16 Education Provider

 

As a group the forum has considerable power and influence and acts as a consultative body on some issues and a decision making body on others. For example, it decides how much funding may be centrally retained within the Dedicated Schools Grant (e.g. for the Admissions Service or for additional funding available for growing schools etc) and it also considers any proposed carry forward of deficits on central spend from one year to the next and proposals to de-delegate funding from maintained primary and secondary schools (e.g. for staff supply cover insurance or behaviour support).  The view of the forum members is sought in relation to things such as changes to the local funding formula, proposed changes to the operation of the minimum funding guarantee, changes to, or new, contracts affecting schools and arrangements for pupils with special education needs, in pupil referral units and in early years provision.

 

The NLAGB co-ordinates appointment of governors onto the forum and is anxious to ensure that every governor in the authority has the opportunity to consider putting themselves forward for the role. This is a real chance to become involved in discussions beyond your own school and to develop your understanding of, and involvement in, school funding issues. It does however require considerable commitment as it is essential that the governors appointed attend meetings on a really regular basis (at least 4 a year – normally in an afternoon - and sometimes more if necessary for particular issues) and commit to studying the often considerable volume of paperwork circulated in advance of each meeting.

 

We are extremely grateful to Denise West, Peter Raspin, Stuart Cranidge and Bunty Harris who have ably and conscientiously fulfilled this role for many years but all terms of office end in May and we are therefore seeking expressions of interest from any governor who might feel that they could take up this additional responsibility, starting in July. If you are interested then please send brief details about yourself – name, length of time you have been a governor and details of which school or schools you are a governor at plus any other relevant experience-skills-information relating to your capacity to represent governors in this role together with a brief insight into your motivation for wishing to do so. If you would like to know more before putting yourself forward we would be delighted to talk to you in more detail. All expressions of interest should be sent to us either via the link on our website (nlagb.synthasite.com) or via your own clerk who will forward it directly to us.

 

There are numerous considerations in making the appointments including ensuring that the 4 governors between them represent as many types of schools as possible i.e. town, rural, large, small, federated, maintained, academy, church etc and the executive committee will give full consideration to these in reaching a decision as quickly as possible so that the governors can attend their first meeting in July.

 

Please do give this serious thought and if you are at all interested submit your expression of interest by 22 May 2015 either via our website or your clerk.

 

Angela Dunkerley

NLAGB Chair








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