Thursday, 22 December 2011

NPQH to become optional with effect from early 2012

The NPQH  Qualification is to become non mandatory from next year, prospective head teachers will be able to take a new enhanced qualification.

The current qualification – the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) – is to be overhauled to allow prospective head teachers from all types of schools the chance to develop the best skills for the job.

All first-time head teachers in the maintained sector are currently required to hold the NPQH.

As signalled in the Schools White Paper 'The Importance of Teaching', the National College was asked to review the qualification to ensure it matches the best in the world, learns from other leading qualifications such as MBAs, meets the highest standards for leadership development and is based on what is required to be an effective head teacher.

In the light of the review, Ministers have today announced that:
  • NPQH will become optional with effect from early 2012 – subject to the Parliamentary process – and developed for all prospective heads in both the maintained and the non-maintained sector such as academies and independent schools.

  • The bar for entry and assessment for the qualification will be raised.

  • The content made more demanding through the introduction of a core curriculum focusing on the key skills of headship including leadership of teaching and learning, and with a greater emphasis on behaviour.

  • The revised qualification will be launched in spring 2012 with the first participants starting in September 2012.

NGA Press Release

The NGA welcomes the announcement by the Department for Education that the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) is to be made more rigorous. A redesigned NPQH must ensure that prospective heads have the full range of skills and knowledge to lead schools effectively not only in terms of teaching and learning but in managing the organisation. School governors are responsible for appointing headteachers and the NGA is not clear how making the qualification non-compulsory will improve the quality of headship candidates.

DfE Press release

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

1,310 Primary Schools below floor standard

The Government have announed they will target the weakest primary schools in a bid to turn around under-performance.

The announcement follows the results of more than 16,000 schools’ Key Stage 2 tests – taken by 11-year-olds this May – were published.

They show that every child in 265 primary schools not only achieved at least the expected level in both English and maths, but also made the expected progress.

The tables highlight, for the first time, the schools – some in challenging areas – which transform the life chances of pupils who were struggling at age seven but who leave primary achieving better than expected.

However, the figures also reveal that 1,310 primary schools were below the standard – and about 150 have been below the floor for five years in a row.

 This year’s Key Stage 2 statistics show that:

  • A third of 11-year-olds are still not doing well enough in the three Rs

  • One in 10 boys leave primary school with the reading age of a seven-year-old

  • One in 14 boys leave primary school with the writing age of an seven-year-old

  • The percentage of children achieving the expected level in both English and maths rose one percentage point to 74 per cent. But the proportion achieving above that expected level is down in English and in writing – and by eight percentage points in reading.

DfE Press Release

DfE: National Curriculum Assessments at Key Stage 2 in England 2010/2011 (revised)

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Recruitment of Head Teachers continues to be a problem

Schools could be left without leaders, warns the National Association of Head Teachers union, as a new report confirms a looming recruitment crisis in senior education posts.

The 17th Annual Report of The State of the Labour Market for Senior Staff in Schools in England and Wales says more needs to be done to “clarify issues” surrounding leadership recruitment, “…if the appointment of head teachers is not to become a really urgent issue in the near future.”

The report, produced for the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) by Education Data Surveys, part of TSL Education, highlights a decline in deputy and assistant head teacher vacancies as fewer numbers opt to leave their posts to pursue headships.

In addition, the report notes that the absence of a tail-off in retirement levels for existing heads plus the new wave of academies and free schools fuelling demand for even more new head teachers while offering higher salaries to lure experienced head teachers away from traditional schools, could result in escalating recruitment problems.

The full report can be downloaded from here

Monday, 19 December 2011

Ofsted Report: ICT in schools 2008-2011

Ofsted published a report on the use of ICT in schools 2008-2011

Key findings

The overall effectiveness of ICT was good or outstanding in over two thirds of the primary schools visited. In contrast, just over a third of the secondary schools visited were considered good or outstanding for the overall effectiveness of ICT. Many of the weaknesses seen in the secondary school sample, including weak use of assessment and the degree of challenge posed by the Key Stage 4 vocational curriculum, echo findings similar to those of Ofsted’s previous ICT report.

 Pupils’ achievement in ICT was good or outstanding in over half of the primary schools visited over the three years of the survey. Achievement was good or outstanding in 29 of the 74 secondary schools visited, and was inadequate in almost a fifth. Achievement in the secondary schools was adversely affected by the lack of effective challenge for higher-attaining students and poor coverage of key aspects of the ICT curriculum, especially at Key Stage 4.

 Teaching of ICT was good or outstanding in nearly two thirds of the primary schools visited. Teachers and teaching assistants were increasingly confident in their own use of ICT and able to support pupils more effectively. Weaknesses remained, however, in the teaching of more demanding aspects of ICT such as control and data handling. In just under half of the secondary schools visited, teaching and learning were good or outstanding.

 The use of assessment was a considerable weakness in both the primary and secondary schools visited. Pupils’ use of ICT in other subjects was only occasionally tracked or recorded. For those students in Key Stage 4 who were not receiving specialist ICT teaching there was no systematic record of their learning in ICT and no means for teachers or pupils to know whether they had gaps in their knowledge.

The ICT curriculum and qualification routes provided by nearly half of the secondary schools surveyed were not meeting the needs of all students, especially at Key Stage 4. In these schools a single vocational examination course was taken by all students, limiting challenge to the more able, or ICT was offered as an option to some students with others not receiving the full National Curriculum. As a result, in 30 of the 74 schools visited nearly half of the students reach the age of 16 without a sound foundation for further study or training in ICT and related subjects.

 Very few examples were seen of secondary schools engaging with local IT businesses to bring the subject alive for their students. This was a particular issue for girls, many of whom need a fuller understanding of ICT-related career and education options to inform their subject choices at 14 and 16 years of age.

 Leadership and management of ICT were good or outstanding in over two thirds of the primary schools. In these schools leaders had a clear and comprehensive understanding of the contribution of ICT to the school’s wider development and improvement. In outstanding secondary schools ICT was seen by the headteacher as an engine for innovation and raising standards. In contrast, half of the secondary schools surveyed in which leadership and management of ICT were no better than satisfactory had common weaknesses that included insufficient attention given to progress in ICT across the curriculum and lack of support for staff in teaching more challenging topics.

 In the majority of primary schools there were regular audits of staff’s professional development needs. The approach was less systematic in secondary schools, where inspectors saw very few examples of any evaluation of the impact of training on the effectiveness of teaching or on pupils’ learning.

Commissioning and procuring the right equipment, infrastructure and software were becoming more challenging for the schools visited as their vision for ICT developed. Schools surveyed were engaging pupils, staff, governors and parents in helping to specify needs, but only a few had evaluated the effectiveness of previous investment or developed costed plans for rolling future investment.

Most of the schools either had a virtual learning environment in full use or were in the process of installing one. Where schools were making regular use of a virtual learning environment, they had been able to enhance and enrich many aspects of school life, including the quality of learning resources, communications with parents, and assessment and tracking processes.

All the schools visited ensured that pupils were well informed about the safe use of the internet and were able to use it in a responsible and safe way in school. However, the need for continued vigilance was emphasised by the fact that in discussions with inspectors, pupils frequently raised the issue of the under-age use of social networking sites. Staff training and support for parents need to remain a high priority for schools.

Full Report can be found here

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Pupil Premium Update 2012-2013

Pupil Premium

·         Funding through the Premium will amount to £1.25bn in 2012-13.

·         From April 2012 the Pupil Premium will be £600 per deprived pupil in years from Reception to Year 11 in maintained schools and academies in England

·         The indicator used for deprivation will be those pupils on the January 2012 School Census who have been eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) in the last 6 years, known as “Ever 6 FSM”.   This will extend the Premium to another half million pupils.

·         Children who have been eligible for FSM at any point in the past generally have poorer academic results than those who have never been eligible for FSM. These pupils therefore should benefit from the additional support the Pupil Premium funding will be able to provide.

·         In addition, deprived pupils in non-mainstream settings who are publicly funded –Special Schools, Non-Maintained Special Schools, Independent Schools, Not in School, General Hospital Schools, Pupil Referral Units and 14-15 year olds in Further Education (FE) Colleges - will also attract a Premium of £600 on an Ever 6 FSM basis.

·         Children who have been looked after continuously for more than six months will also attract a Premium of £600.

·         A Service Child Premium of £250 for children whose parents are in the armed forces.

·         Up to £50m of the total will be available to fund a Summer School Programme for disadvantaged pupils to support their transition to secondary schools in September 2012.

Pupil Premium Q&A

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Schools Funding Statement

 The DfE announced the school funding for 2012-13 through the Dedicated Schools Grant. Funding for 2012-13 will be pretty much the same a this year - a flat cash settlement with safeguards to ensure that local authorities with falling roll numbers do not receive a reduction in funding of more than 2% in cash terms. The minimum funding guarantee will remain at the same level as this year.

Transitional protection will continue until 2015-16 for sixth forms with a plan to fund a further 34,000 places to meet demand with the increase in the participation age.
Overall capital funding will be £800m for the shortage of pupil places (basic need) and £1.4bn for maintenance. The Department is changing the way that it allocates the funding but has pledged that no local authority will receive less than 80% of the funding they would have received on the previous method. The extra £600m announced in the autumn statement is separate to this funding and will be allocated ‘towards basic need.’

£276m has been retained to meet the maintenance needs of academies and £107m has been allocated to the maintenance and building needs of sixth forms. £59m of the sixth form money will be put into the Building Condition Improvement Fund to help fund priority building for sixth forms and colleges. £44m will be used to fund addition places within sixth forms and colleges in areas of demographic pressures.

Here is the announcement

Friday, 16 December 2011

Role of the Clerk to the Governing Body

The Department for Education has been updating their School Governance section of their website in December 2011 including the Role of the Clerk to the Governing Body.

The clerk has an important part to play in making sure the governing body's work is well organised. It is helpful if the clerk is able to offer information and advice to the governing body, particularly on matters involving the law and procedures to be followed at meetings. Governing bodies should consider what level of help they will need from their clerk when selecting him or her.


It remains the responsibility of the governing body to decide who should act as clerk to the governing body and as clerk to any committee. This responsibility may not be delegated. Governors, associate members and the headteacher of the school cannot be appointed as clerk to the governing body. In some schools the role of clerk is traditionally undertaken by the school secretary, bursar, or other member of staff. In such cases, the individual concerned should be clear clerking the governing body is outside their normal reporting arrangements. There is no requirement that the clerk to the full governing body is also appointed as clerk to any or all committees.

A governor (but not the headteacher) may act as clerk for the purposes of a meeting if the clerk fails to attend. In that case, the governor acting as clerk may take part in discussions and vote. 

Clerks who are not governors are not able to vote at governing-body meetings.

Clerks are appointed by the governing body. Some local authorities (LAs) offer a clerking service to governing bodies if they pay a subscription. The governing body has the power to remove the clerk from office. Where the school does not have a delegated budget, the LA may remove the clerk and appoint a substitute but they must consult the governing body before doing so.


Chapter 3 of the Guide to the Law for School Governors provides an outline of the role and appointment of clerks to the governing body and its committees.

The Department recognises the importance of the contribution of the clerk to effective governance and the resulting benefit in terms of school improvement. The National Training 
Programme for Clerks has been developed by Consortium 52, comprising LAs and diocesan authorities based in the north of England. The training for clerks builds on Clerking Matters, a report produced by Information for School and College Governors (ISCG) to evaluate the importance of clerks to school improvement. The main purpose of the training programme is to enable clerks to develop the competences necessary to provide the Level 2 Clerking Service, and for experienced clerks to refresh, consolidate and further develop their competences.

Clerk Employment Contract

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Complaints: Responsibilities of a Governing Body


Under Section 29 of the Education Act 2002, the governing body of all maintained schools and nursery schools in England are required to have in place a procedure to deal with complaints relating to the school and to any community facilities or services the school provides. The law also requires the complaint procedure to be publicised.

The governing body should note the following recommendations:

General parental complaints

The day-to-day running of the school is the responsibility of the headteacher, the governing body and the LA. Initially, it is recommended parents put their concerns in writing to the headteacher of the school and if this fails to resolve the issue, concerns should then be raised with the chair of governors. A complaint may be made to the Secretary of State for Education if a person believes a governing body or LA is acting unreasonably or is failing to carry out its statutory duties properly. The complaint should set out fully the concerns and reasons why the complaint is being submitted, enclosing all previous correspondence relevant to the complaint. The complaint should be mailed to the Department.

Roles and actions

Department guidance on developing and applying complaints policies and procedures strongly encourages schools and governing bodies to differentiate between concerns and complaints and in both cases, to keep procedures for dealing with them as informal as possible.


The Department has produced extensive guidance, including example policies and procedures. Brief guidance on general complaints and curriculum complaints can be found in Chapters 3 and 6 respectively of the Guide to the law for school governors

The law

Consult the Education Act 2002 for further details.
  • Procedures relating to general complaints do not replace the LA's procedures relating to curriculum and collective worship complaints.
  • Certain forms of complaint, e.g. staff grievance or disciplinary procedures, also fall outside the scope of these general complaints procedures.
  • Third parties that use school premises for any purpose should be encouraged to adopt their own complaints procedures.
  • Schools and governors are encouraged to involve their LA and teachers' associations in drawing up these procedures:
    • establish a member of staff who will act as complaints coordinator and who will take the initial responsibility for handling complaints
    • take a two-stage (small schools) or three-stage (larger schools) formal procedure to reviewing and resolving complaints
    • have formal, published procedures with time limits
    • form a governors committee to deal with complaints that can not be resolved by the complaints coordinator or the headteacher
    • record complaints so the overall level, nature and outcome of complaints can be reviewed and any necessary steps taken to improve policies and procedures.
Education Act Chapter 32

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

School Governor allowances and expenses


The Department considers that governors should not be out of pocket and should be able to claim allowances for legitimate expenses incurred in carrying out their duties. The allowances paid should relate to actual costs incurred, apart from mileage costs where any payment should not exceed authorised Inland Revenue mileage allowances. However, attendance allowance and payments for loss of earnings may not be paid.

Allowances may be paid to governors and associate members of the governing bodies by the governing bodies of maintained schools that have delegated budgets. The LA may pay allowances to governors of a maintained school that does not have a delegated budget and to persons appointed to represent the LA at an institution providing higher or further education, or on the governing body of an independent school or non-maintained special school.

Travel expenses must be paid at a rate not exceeding the maximum level of the Inland Revenue authorised mileage rate. Other governors' expenses must be paid on provision of a receipt at a rate determined by the governing body, and will be limited to the amount shown on the receipt.


Paying allowances to school governors (from September 2003) was sent to COGs, diocese and LAs in May 2003 and was revised in August 2003 due to two minor amendments and again in October 2003 when minor changes were made to the document with regard to the payment of authorised mileage rates. This leaflet is available to download.
The HM Revenue and Collection website provides information on current Inland Revenue mileage rates for private use of cars.

Good practice

The National Governors Association (NGA) has produced the Good Practice Guide in Developing an Allowances Policy for Governing Bodies 2005. This document contains recommendations from the NGA as well as a model allowances policy. Visit their website for further information.

The law

The Education (Governors' Allowances) (England) Regulations 2003 were laid before Parliament on 12 March 2003 and came into force on 1 September 2003, revoking the Education (Governors' Allowances) (England) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/0703) from that date. Visit the website to view these regulations.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Governing body - an overview of responsibilities

In carrying out its day-to-day work, the governing body should give consideration to certain procedures the Department of Education requires or recommends it follows.

In the case of matters relating to constitution of the governing body, this article contains information drawn from the School Governance (Constitution)(England) Regulations 2007.


The governing body has general responsibility for the conduct of the school with view to promoting high standards of educational achievement. This general responsibility gives rise to a wide range of specific responsibilities which in turn require the governing body to establish a range of procedures.
  • Allowances and expenses for governors
    • Governors should have a policy on payment of governors expenses. For more information see chapter 4 of A guide to the law for school governors.
  • School prospectus
    • Each year the governing body must publish a school prospectus for parents and prospective parents. For further information on the school prospectus see chapters 12 and 25 of A guide to the law for school governors.
  • Complaints (general and curriculum)
    • The governing body is required to have procedures in place for handling complaints of a general nature and for applying the LA's procedure for complaints about the curriculum.
  • Constitution of the governing body and instrument of government
    • Chapters 2 and 3 of A guide to the law for school governors provide detailed information on how the governing body is constituted, the different types of governors and how they are appointed.
  • Committees formation, delegation and operation
    • Although there are no statutory requirements for committees other than in relation to staff grievance and pupil discipline, many of the governing body's responsibilities and functions can be delegated to committees or individuals. For more information see chapter 3 of A guide to the law for school governors.
  • Meetings of the governing body and its committees
    • Detailed information on meetings of the governing body and its committees is available in chapter 3 of A guide to the law for school governors. This includes information on quorum and when it is necessary to withdraw due to conflict of interest.
  • Register of business interests of governors
    • The governing body is required to keep a register of business interests of its members. Further information about business and pecuniary interests can be found in annex 2 of A guide to the law for school governors.
  • Standing orders and terms of reference
    • Many of the requirements and responsibilities placed on governing bodies are covered by legislation and well defined by guidance and recommended procedures. The Department recommends that for other procedures, the governing body develops a set of standing orders. These should clearly define how the governing body intends to establish and review these additional procedures.


Chapter 3 of the Guide to the law for school governors provides detailed information about governing body procedures.

The law

The School Governance (Procedures)(England) Regulations 2003, as amended, provide the statutory requirements for governors procedures.

See the School Governance (Constitution)(England) Regulations 2007.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Governor visits to the school

While not a statutory requirement, the Department recommends that the governing body draws up a policy on governor visits to the school. This policy should take the following into account:
  • Governors do not have any rights of access to the school.
  • Visits should be undertaken as part of a strategic programme to:
    • improve governor knowledge of the school, its staff, needs, priorities, strengths and weaknesses
    • monitor and assess the priorities as outlined in the development plan
    • assist the governing body in fulfilling its statutory duties.
  • Before visiting the school the governor(s) should:
    • inform the school of the visit and seek approval of the arrangements
    • ensure that they are familiar with health and safety procedures including what to do in the event of a fire.
  • After visiting the school the governor(s) should:
    • complete a visit report outlining the objectives and results of the visit
    • report back to the committee or governing body as appropriate
    • provide constructive feedback as appropriate.
It is important that governors remember the purpose of governor visits is not to assess the quality of teaching provision or to pursue issues that relate to the day-to-day management of the school other than as agreed with the headteacher or SMT.

A manual for governing bodies and their clerks, is published by the Information for School & College Governors. It includes suggestions for a suitable school visits policy and a protocol for governor visits. You can order an updated version from the ISCG website .

The document Policy and protocol for governor visits is based on the 2003 edition of the manual and is available to download.

Policy and Protocol for Governor Visits

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The role of governor within the governing body

On 12th December the DfE udpated their website on School Governance

The purpose of having a governing body is to
  • help the school to set high standards by planning for the school's future and setting targets for school improvement
  • keep the pressure up on school improvement
  • be a critical friend to the school, offering support and advice
  • help the school respond to the needs of parents and the community
  • make the school accountable to the public for what it does
  • work with the school on planning, developing policies and keeping the school under review
  • exercise its responsibilities and powers in partnership with the headteacher and staff
  • not intervene in the day-to-day management of the school unless there are weaknesses in the school, when it then has a duty to take action.
A school's governing body is a corporate body. This means it has a legal existence separate from that of its individual members. As long as governors have acted honestly, without ulterior motive, and reasonably, within the law and regulations, the governing body can't be held to account as individuals for any liabilities incurred by the governing body.

Frequently asked questions

Q. As a parent (or teacher, etc.) governor, do I

a) represent and convey the views/opinions of the parents (or teachers, etc) of the school, 


b) represent the views/opinions of 'a parent' (or 'a teacher', etc)?

A. As a parent (or teacher, etc.) governor, you do represent the views/opinions of 'a parent" (or "a teacher", etc.). You are on the governing body to give a parental (teacher) perspective to discussions and decisions. The governing body is given its powers and duties as an incorporated body. Individual governors have no power except where the whole governing body has delegated a specific power to that individual.

If parents (teachers, etc.) of the school wish to have their views represented or conveyed at a governing body meeting, they should be advised to contact the chair, who will put it on the agenda. As a parent (teacher, etc.) governor, you are then able to express your own views/opinions of the item from your parental (teacher, etc.) perspective, and may if you wish, voice the views/opinions that have been put forward by other parents (colleagues), but are under no obligation to do so.

If parents ask you (as a representative) to deal with problems about their particular child, you should be firm and state that governors deal with school policies affecting all children. If they have a concern about their own child, they must take it up themselves with the head or class teacher. If it can't be resolved to their satisfaction, they may then complain formally to the governors, who will programme it as an agenda item.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

School Complaints procedure toolkit

DfE have been updating the School Governance section on their website.

Section 29 of the Education Act 2002 states the need to have in place a procedure to deal with complaints relating to the school and to any community facilities or services the school provides. The law also requires the complaint procedure to be publicised.
The majority of schools already have a school complaints procedure in place that is generally based on LA or diocesan board models. The complaints procedure toolkit, which you can download from this page, intends to help schools draw up a school complaint procedure if they have not already done so, or to review their existing procedure if they wish. The document draws from existing good practice, key messages and a framework of principles, and covers
  • general principles of complaints
  • the complaints procedure
  • managing and recording complaints.

Download the toolkit

Friday, 9 December 2011

Decision planner for governing bodies

The DfE updated their Governance section of their website on 12th December 2011

The first governing body decision planner formed part of the guidance document The Roles of Governing Bodies and Headteachers, which accompanied the Education (School Government) (Terms of Reference) (England) Regulations 2000 (SI2000/2122).

With the introduction of the Education Act 2002, governing bodies were freed from many of the restrictions placed on them. This allowed them far greater freedom to carry out their roles and duties. Therefore, rather than suggesting particular roles the governing body and headteacher might play (as set out within the previous decision planner), the updated decision planner relates to the delegation of functions by the governing body. It defines if a particular task has to be legally undertaken by the whole governing body or whether it can be delegated to a committee of the governing body, an individual member of the governing body or to the headteacher – in other words, the minimum level to which a task or responsibility of the governing body can be legally delegated.

This version of the planner aims to help governing bodies perform their strategic leadership role more effectively, by delegating tasks and decisions appropriately.

Governing bodies should be aware that if they choose to delegate a function to a committee, they must establish terms of reference for that committee and these terms must be reviewed annually.  PDF Version Word Doc

Thursday, 8 December 2011

DfE is undertaking a review of School Governance

The Department for Education is currently undertaking a review of governance with a focus on the role of governing bodies in school improvement.  The review is examining:
  • what we expect a highly effective Governing Body would do in relation to school performance;
  • the barriers that commonly prevent Governing Bodies from achieving this;
  • the extent to which changes in policy and at local authority level will impact on Governing Body effectiveness;
  • ways in which the DfE could influence practice.
The review, which will report in the New Year, has identified the following issues:
  • Lack of clear focus on raising attainment and narrowing gaps;
  • Difficulty in attracting and retaining the right people and removing governors who are not performing;
  • Difficulty in accessing and acting on information and data;
  • Difficulty in getting the right relationship between the head teacher and Governing Body.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

NGA Poll: Do governing bodies have a role in school improvement?

On NGA’s new website, there is a new monthly poll.  

November’s NGA poll

Last month we asked you:  Do governing bodies have a role in school improvement?  387 of you responded and of those:

91%  Yes, a significant role 353
5%    Yes, a small role 21
2%    No role at all 9
1%    Not sure 4

This question was posed because the Department for Education (DfE) is currently undertaking a review of governance with a focus on the role of governing bodies in school improvement.  The review is examining:

•         what we expect a highly effective GB would do in relation to school performance;

•         the barriers that commonly prevent GBs from achieving this;

•         the extent to which changes in policy and at local authority level will impact on GB effectiveness;

•         ways in which the DfE could influence practice.

The review, which will report in the New Year, has identified the following issues:

•         Lack of clear focus on raising attainment and narrowing gaps;

•         Difficulty in attracting and retaining the right people and removing governors who are not performing;

•         Difficulty in accessing and acting on information and data;

•         Difficulty in getting the right relationship between the head teacher and GB.

The aim of NGA’s poll in November was therefore to get an impression of how widespread the lack of focus on school improvement and children’s attainment is. The result suggests that while some governors perhaps do not appreciate their role in school improvement the clear majority do.

Please vote in December’s:  The NGA and RM have just issued guidance about RAISEonline 

– do you think your headteacher keeps your governing body sufficiently informed about this issue?

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Are you a National Leader of Governance?

The application round for National Leaders of Governance (NLG) will be opening soon on the National College website.

NLGs are highly effective chairs of governors who will work with other chairs to help them develop and to improve school performance.  The National College is working with NGA and partners to designate around 50 NLG in this first cohort.  NLGs will be deployed to areas of greatest need, where their skills can be most effectively used.  It’s likely that the time commitment for an NLG would be 10 – 20 days per academic year, and this would be made up of around three to six deployments, providing a combination of face-to-face, email and phone support.  The application round for the first cohort of NLG will be open until 16 January.  Applicants who meet the criteria and are successful at assessment will be invited to induction and training in the Spring term.

For further information:

Monday, 5 December 2011

National College Grants of £2,000 for Chair of Governors Workshops

The National College is making one-off grants of around £2,000 available for facilitated workshops, in order to provide opportunities for chairs of governors to share current best practice within their local area on school improvement.  The grant application form, and details of the terms of the grant will be on the National College website from 16 December.  Applications for this limited funding must be submitted to the College by 24 February, and successful applicants must return signed grant letters returned by 31 March

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Shadow Governing Body

 Six months prior to the planned disbandment of an IEB the LA will establish a shadow governing  body accordance with The School Governance (Transition from an Interim Executive Board) (England) Regulations 2010.  The date for the disbandment of the IEB will be given in a further Notice by the LA served under Schedule 1A of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.

The shadow governing body will work alongside the IEB for at least six months, but may take
 over some of the IEB functions prior to that date.  Once the IEB is disbanded the shadow
 governing  body will be expected to act alone as the governing body of the school for up to
 thirteen months. 

During the transition from IEB to shadow governing body, members of the shadow governing
body will be able to attend IEB meetings as observers.

The size and constitution of the shadow governing body will be set out in an arrangement made by the LA.  The arrangement will also state the planned date on which the shadow governing body will vacate office and be replaced by a normally constituted governing body.  This is known as the constitution date and must be no later than thirteen months after the IEB ceases to exist.

The School Governance (Transition from an Interim Executive Board) (England) Regulations 2010

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Interim Executive Boards (IEB)

Interim Executive Boards

An Interim Executive Board (IEB) is a small body appointed on a short-term basis by a local authority to turn around a school that is judged to be in urgent need of improvement. An IEB replaces the governing body of a school that has either been placed in special measures or given notice to improve by Ofsted, or that has not complied with a warning notice from its local authority (LA).
The IEB's main functions are to secure a sound basis for future improvement in the school and promote high standards of educational achievement.
Once a decision has been taken for the LA to put in place an IEB at a school, it issues a notice which provides that from a date specified, the governing body is to consist of interim executive members.  This notice may also specify the date when the IEB is to become a normally constituted governing body, or this may be specified in a later notice. The transition from an IEB to a post-IEB governance structure begins with the appointment of a shadow governing body by the local authority which works alongside the IEB for at least six months.
The School Governance (Transition from an Interim Executive Board) (England) Regulations 2010

Where a school is eligible for intervention there are a number of powers the local authority or the Secretary of State may use to drive school improvement. These interventions are set out in sections 63-66 of the 2006 Act in respect of local authorities and sections 67 to 69 in respect of the Secretary of State. Local authorities must give reasonable notice in writing to the governing body that they propose to exercise their powers under any one or more of sections 63 to 66.

Local authority powers of intervention

To require the governing body to enter into arrangements.

Section 63 enables a local authority to require a school which is eligible for intervention1 to enter into arrangements with a view to improving the performance of the school. The local authority may give the governing body a notice requiring them:
  1. to enter into a contract or other arrangement for specified services of an advisory nature with a specified person (who may be the governing body of another school)
  2. to make arrangements to collaborate with the governing body of another school
  3. to make arrangements to collaborate with a further education body or
  4. to take specified steps for the purpose of creating or joining a federation.


Where the school is eligible for intervention as a result of being given a performance standards and safety warning notice, this power must be exercised within a period of two months following the end of the compliance period. If the local authority fails to exercise this power within this time, it can no longer be exercised and a new warning notice must be given in order to do so.


Before the local authority can exercise this intervention power they must consult:
  1. the governing body of the school
  2. in the case of a Church of England school or a Roman Catholic Church school, the appropriate diocesan authority and
  3. in the case of any other foundation or voluntary school, the person or persons by whom the foundation governors are appointed.
1 Except where a maintained school is eligible for intervention under section 60A of the 2006 Act

The appointment of additional governors

Section 64 enables a local authority to appoint additional governors where a school is eligible for intervention. The local authority is likely to appoint additional governors when they would like a school to be provided with additional expertise and may appoint as many additional governors as they think fit. In the case of a voluntary aided school where the local authority have exercised the power to appoint additional governors, the appropriate appointing authority in relation to that school may appoint an equal number of governors to those appointed by the local authority.


Where the school is eligible for intervention as a result of being given a performance standards and safety warning notice, this power must be exercised within a period of two months following the end of the compliance period. If the local authority fails to exercise this power within this time, a new warning notice must be given in order to do so. Where the local authority appoints additional governors there is no requirement to consult.

Friday, 2 December 2011

The Case Against Paying School Governors

I wrote an opinion piece for the Times on the case against paying School Governors. It was published on page 27 of today's Times (Friday 2nd December 2011)

This was my original submission before the Times slightly edited it.

The question of paying School Governors is not a new subject but one I feel very strongly should not happen in any form. As a Chair of Governors and an Advanced Skills Governor I often run training workshops to help fellow governing bodies become more efficient. The first question I ask them all individually is “why did you become a governor?” Invariably the answer is something akin to “because I wanted to be part of my child’s education” or “I wanted to put something back into the community” or “I am passionate about Education.”

The 300,000 strong school governing community are the biggest and possibly the most successful volunteer army in Britain and my concern is that, in remunerating School Governors, their independence and passion for the role they freely do would be removed.

The key to modern governance is that a governing body is a ‘corporate body’, sharing the responsibility, workload and decisions. I agree the role has become increasingly more complex, demanding and time consuming but it is also very rewarding. Although the primary goal for any governing body is improving outcomes for children, many governors report that governance also has a beneficial impact on their personal career development. It often teaches them to take a strategic view, looking both forward and outward and learn about skill sets they wouldn’t normally come across in their usual day-to-day lives.

Being a chair of governors has taught me to listen to every other point of view first around the table before putting my own opinion last. It’s about great team work!
I believe paying individual governors undermines this concept and could lead to people entering the profession with the wrong motives from the start.

If school governors were paid, would it give the tax payer value for money? Who would appoint them, who would they report to and who would carry out their performance management? These are all big questions that need to be addressed.

I would be very concerned if any public money was diverted from the Education budget to pay for a governor payment scheme. In these times of financial austerity I am sure the money would be better spent elsewhere to directly benefit pupils.

There is already a legal framework for governing bodies to pay ‘out of pocket’ expenses to their school governors. Legitimate allowances include travel allowances to meetings & training courses, cost of child care while attending meetings/training and the cost of photocopying/printing papers for governing body business. Many school governors do not claim any expenses and the main reason given is that they did not think they should receive any financial ‘reward’ for their role as a volunteer.

I do believe there is room to compensate employers with tax incentives for employees who give up their time during work hours to be school governors. Under employment law, employers must give employees who are school governors “reasonable time off’ to carry out their duties. However there is no definition of reasonable and the time off does not have to be paid. Investing money encouraging businesses to be involved in local schools would be far more beneficial to the employers, their employees and the schools.

A scan of the article can be found here and covers both the for and against arguments.

The scan of the article can be downloaded from here