Updates, News & Resources

BECOME – Children in Care: Guide for Governors & Trustees

BECOME – Children in Care: Guide for Governors & Trustees

BECOME, a charity for children in care and young care leavers, in partnership with Aaron King (9000 have created a Children in Care, Guide for school governors and trustees.

This is a short handbook that tells governors and trustees what they need to know about children in care (CIC). It explains the basics quickly and clearly, as well as giving sensible questions for governors to ask of their leaders.

The guide brings together the latest knowledge from both a national charity and local school perspective, it covers CIC from EYFS classes all the way up to Year 13. It applies to both academies and local authority schools.

BECOME use the term ‘children in care’ (or CIC for short). However, these same pupils are sometimes described as Looked After Children (LAC) or Children Looked After (CLA).

The guidance can be gained directly from the BECOME charity website, using the following LINK

Bolton Family Hubs Launch

The first Bolton Family Hubs will open their doors with five launch events taking place across the borough from September 30 to October 14. The sessions will herald the first wave of what will eventually be a network of eight Bolton Family Hubs which will be open by March 2025.

The hubs will provide joined up services supporting families with children up to the age of 19 years old, and up to 25 years for those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. The hubs will help ensure families have the knowledge, skills, and support to best care for their children, as well as looking after their own health and wellbeing.

The free drop-in sessions will feature fun activities, including face-painting, freebies, refreshments. Families will also be able to have their say on how the hubs should be developed and help design the Bolton Family Hub branding.

The new hubs are a result of Bolton being one of 75 local authorities to receive a share of the Government’s £302m Family Hub and Start for Life fund. The hubs are being delivered in partnership by the Council, Greater Manchester Mental Health and Bolton NHS Foundation Trusts, Bolton Together, Bolton Community and Voluntary Service and other community organisations. They will bring a wide range of family services together in one place to provide a broad range of support that will include advice and guidance on issues such as debt, welfare and housing.

Events will take place at:

  • Tonge Family Hub: 10am-3pm Sat, September 30 (Starkie Road, BL2 2ED)
  • Great Lever Family Hub: 12pm-5pm Wed, October 4 (Leonard Street, BL3 3AP)
  • Alexandra Family Hub 12pm-5pm Friday, October 6 (Blackledge Street, BL3 4BQ)
  • Farnworth Family Hub 12pm-5pm Friday, October 13 (King Street, BL4 7AP)
  • Oxford Grove Family Hub 10am-3pm Sat, October 14 (Oxford Grove, BL1 3BH)

Further information can  be downloaded via the ‘download’ button (to the right).

Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC): Guidance for Responsible Bodies

The Department for Education (DfE) has published updated guidance for responsible bodies of state funded education estates in England that have confirmed or suspected reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in their buildings. The guidance advises responsible bodies to vacate and restrict access to the spaces with confirmed RAAC. Spaces should remain out of use until appropriate mitigations are in place, even where they would have been deemed ‘non-critical’ previously.

The guidance is for school and college leaders, staff and governing bodies in further education colleges and designated institutions, sixth form colleges, maintained schools, academies and free schools, pupil referral units, city technology colleges, non-maintained special schools and maintained nursery schools.

Where RAAC is confirmed or suspected in these settings, leaders and relevant responsible bodies may want to consider the principles and approaches set out in this guidance in relation to managing their buildings and the mitigating actions necessary to ensure continuity of provision.

The guidance is available to download via the website using the following LINK

Ofsted – School Inspection Handbook Update 2023

Ofsted has updated the school inspection handbook which comes into force from 1 September 2023.

Updates include an added section on ‘schools raising concerns’, which sets out when and how concerns can be raised about an inspection process. The handbook also details revised terminology relating to school governance roles and school structure to ensure consistency of understanding.

A summary of changes is available, and the full school inspection handbook can be found via the website using the following LINK

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023

The DfE (Department for Education) has updated its Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance. The statutory guidance, which comes into effect from 1 September 2023, applies to all schools and academies and sets out the legal duties that must be followed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18 in schools and colleges.

The full table of substantive changes, may be found at Annex F of the Keeping Children Safe in Education document; however, the following changes are highlighted:

  • Filtering and Monitoring – clarification around the roles and responsibilities of education staff in relation to filtering and monitoring. (ICT system to ensure a safe online environment for children)
  • Behaviour in Schools’ – links with the behaviour in schools’ guidance with revised wording, for example, ‘discipline’ is now ‘sanction’ throughout the document).
  • Children Absent from Education – clarification that being absent, as well as missing, from education can be warning sign of a range of safeguarding concerns.
  • Use of School Premises – information on responding to allegations related to organisations or individuals using school premises in line with existing school procedures.
  • Shortlisted Candidates – additional information on online pre-recruitment checks for shortlisted candidates with regards to online searching.

The statutory guidance can be downloaded directly from the website by following this LINK

Parental Responsibility: A Guide for Schools and Local Authorities

Schools are required by law to engage with pupils’ parents in a number of different ways. They can find themselves caught up in disputes between a number of adults, each claiming to have parental responsibility for a particular child. They are also expected to navigate complex living arrangements, particularly for children who are living in social care, where parental responsibility can be confusing or unclear.

The DfE have produced guidance to help schools understand their obligations and duties in relation to the rights and responsibilities of parents, as recognised by education law. Whilst the guidance should not be treated as a complete and authoritative statement of the law, it refers to legislation that sets out schools’ legal duties.

The guidance may be downloaded via the website using the following LINK

Academy Trust – Schedule of Musts 2023

Alongside the Academy Trust Handbook, the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) have published a Schedule of Musts for 2023. These are the requirements in the Academy Trust Handbook brought together into one list: the ‘musts’.

It abbreviates these requirements and so cannot be used as a substitute for the full handbook. References to the relevant sections are included, which must be read in full. The tool is an entirely optional resource, and there is no requirement to submit it to the ESFA.

The ‘Schedule of Musts’ is in a spreadsheet format and can be downloaded via the website via the following LINK

ESFA – Academy Trust Handbook 2023

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) have published the new Academy Trust Handbook , which comes into effect from 1 September 2023.

This year the handbook has been sharpened and shortened, and trusts should ensure that they are aware of and apply the supplementary guidance signposted throughout the handbook. It contains several key changes, including:

  • related party transactions: an increase in the threshold beyond which ESFA approval is required for related party transactions from £20k to £40k
  • annual reporting: removing the requirement for explanations in annual accounts when holding fewer than 6 board meetings per year
  • budget setting: providing an additional month to submit annual budget forecast returns
  • budget monitoring: providing more discretion in the distribution of management accounts
  • sustainability: confirming that salary sacrifice schemes can be set up for electric vehicles, in most cases without our approval

The ESFA have summarised the changes to the 2023 edition on page 7 of the guidance. The Handbook can be downloaded via the website via the following LINK


DFE – Suspension and Permanent Exclusion Guidance 2023

The Department for Education has updated the Suspension and Permanent Exclusion Guidance which comes into effect from 1 September 2023.

The guidance is for maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England. The updates are in addition to those already established in the 2022 guidance and reflects the government’s ambition to create high standards of behaviour in schools so that children and young people are protected from disruption and are in a calm, safe, and supportive environment that brings out the best in every pupil.

This guidance provides schools and other bodies involved in this process with information so that they can continue to use suspensions and permanent exclusions appropriately. In addition, specific changes to the legislation governing the disciplinary school suspension and permanent exclusion process have been made and so changes have been made to the guidance to reflect this. The following is a list of updates:

  • New guidance and amended regulations about a headteacher’s ability to cancel an exclusion before the governing board has met to consider whether the pupil should be reinstated. This practice is sometimes known as withdrawing or rescinding an exclusion. If this occurs, the parents, the governing board and the local authority, must be notified and, if relevant, the social worker and VSH. Further information on other actions that should take place following a cancelled exclusion is set out in paragraph 13.
  • Governing board reinstatement meetings and IRPs can now be held via the use of remote access (for example, live video link) for suspension and permanent exclusions if requested by the parents, provided certain criteria are satisfied. Meetings held via the use of remote access should not be a default option and face to face meetings should always be encouraged. Further information is set out in Part Eleven.

The revised guidance can be downloaded via the website using the following LINK

Collecting and Publishing Board Diversity Data

The DfE (Department for Education) has updated guidance on what maintained schools and academy trusts need to publish online.

To help boards ensure they are reflective of the communities they serve, the DfE is encouraging schools and trusts to publish diversity data on governing and trust boards. The DfE state “Diversity is important, and we want  boards to be increasingly reflective of the communities they serve. We encourage schools to collect and publish board members’ diversity data. Information must be widely accessible to members of the school community and the public. Board members can opt out of sharing their information, including protected characteristics, at any given time including after publication.”

The guidance can be downloaded directly from the website by selecting the following links:

What maintained schools must or should publish online

What academies, free schools and colleges must or should publish online

Bolton Governance Services through the NCOGS (National Co-ordinators of Governance Services) national network have provided an example on how this information might be presented which can be downloaded via the ‘download’ button (to the right).

Whilst there is no prescriptive way to collect diversity data from volunteers, the NGA (National Governance Association), have produced a diversity indicators form that can be used by governing boards in all types of school structure to gather diversity data on their membership and use this as a basis for discussion and action. This can be downloaded directly from the NGA website via the following LINK

Virtual School Conference 2023 – Working Together and the Power of Relationships

Bolton’s Virtual School are delighted to invite educational professionals, including Nominated LAC Governors and Trustees, to their summer term Virtual School Conference. The event will discuss the impact of the Virtual School over the last academic year, updates from the Department for Education and look at how we can continue working together to raise the aspirations of care experienced children in Bolton.

The marketplace will open at 12pm providing an opportunity to speak to a range of providers who can support children with a social worker.

This event is open to any education professional supporting Bolton’s children with a social worker, including nominated LAC Governors and Trustees.

Bolton’s Virtual School is committed to raising the educational attainment of all looked after children in the Borough, and in doing so reduce any existing progress gaps between our looked after children and their peers.

A copy of the agenda may be downloaded below and you can book your place on Eventbrite by selecting the following LINK

Safeguarding- Section 175/157 Audit of Educational Settings

As part of a co-ordinated approach, from this year, the Bolton Safeguarding Children Partnership are conducting the Section 175/157 audit on behalf of Bolton Local Authority. This comprehensive annual audit enables your school to capture important information about your safeguarding arrangements, as well providing assurance to the statutory safeguarding partners.

The 175 self-audit is being carried out via a dedicated online self-assessment platform, with each setting across Bolton asked to complete the audit. Detailed supporting information including S175/157 completion guidance, the self-assessment audit link and a variety of frequently asked questions is available via the Bolton Safeguarding Children Partnership website. The self-audit will enable schools and academies to identify and develop an action plan to share with governors and trustees.

The 2022/23 self-assessment is running across the Spring Term 2023. It opened on Monday 9th January 2023 and will close at 1700 on Friday 14th April 2023.

For any questions or queries please contact the Safeguarding Education Team via email or telephone 01204 337472

SEND Review Government Consultation Response

On 2 March 2023, the Government  responded  to  the  SEND  Review  Green  Paper Consultation by publishing its SEND and Alternative Provision (AP) Improvement Plan: Right support, right place, right time. The consultation highlighted very real concerns and a need for change in a system that is hampered by inequity, difficult and lengthy processes, and funding shortfalls. The SEND and AP Improvement Plan outlines the first steps that the government will take in addressing the issues raised. The plan sets out a roadmap to transform the SEND and AP system:

  • Establishing a single national system that delivers for every child and young person with SEND so that they enjoy their childhood, achieve good outcomes, and are well prepared for adulthood and employment.
  • Giving families greater confidence that their child will be supported to fulfil their potential through improved mainstream provision in their local setting.
  • Ensuring children and young people with SEND who do require an Education, Health and Care Plan and specialist provision get prompt access to the support they need, and that parents don’t face an adversarial system to secure this.
  • Strengthening accountability across the system so that everyone is held to account for supporting children and young people with SEND.

Many of the proposed changes will be trialled initially, with nine regional partnerships, covering around 30 LA areas, piloting the changes before they are finalised, meaning it will potentially be 2025 (at the earliest) before legislation is decided upon.

The Plan, and NASEN’s (National Association for Special Educational Needs) response to it,  plus a range of role-specific ‘What you need to know’ guides along with other links to useful supporting materials may be accessed by visiting the NASEN website using the following LINK

Sue Cornwell, Head of Service with Children with SEN, will be proving governors and trustees with an update at the Partnership Forum to be held on Monday 22 May 2023 – bookings via the following LINK

DfE Press Release: Careers Boost for Young People

The DfE issued a press release on 5 January to announce that Primary school pupils will benefit from careers support and a change to law will give more young people access to advice about technical education. The summary of the changes are as follows:

  • New careers programme will open primary school children’s eyes to the world of future job possibilities and challenge stereotypes
  • Young people to benefit from new law so they learn about the variety of exciting career routes available to them including technical routes to jobs as well as academic
  • Part of government’s drive to make sure all young people get high quality advice to make informed choices on the skills needed for a successful career
    Primary school pupils are to benefit from a new careers programme that will encourage them to think about future jobs early, whilst nurturing aspirations and challenging stereotypes.

The full press release van be viewed via this LINK

Careers Guidance and Access for Education and Training Providers

The Statutory guidance for schools and colleges on providing careers guidance “Careers guidance and access for education and training providers” has also been revised. This guidance can be downloaded directly from the website by following this LINK

DfE Governance Update – December 2022

The DfE (Department for Education), as part of their regular governance update, have provided additional guidance to assist governors, trustees and school leaders in their governance roles. You may have already received this update if you are subscribed to the DfE GIAS (Get Information About Your Schools) system. The December 2022 briefing includes the following updates:

  • Increased funding for schools in autumn statement
  • National leaders of governance programme
  • Supporting schools to be energy efficient
  • Access to technical education and apprenticeship providers
  • Baroness Barran message for governance professional pathway

The guidance can be gained directly from the website by following this LINK

Federations: DfE Guidance on the Governance Processes 2022

The DfE have updated their guidance on the Governance of Federations. All categories of maintained school, including voluntary-aided, foundation schools and maintained school nurseries can federate together under one governing body. Academy schools cannot federate or join a federation.

The establishment and membership of a federation means that the governors and school leaders commit to improving the outcomes and life chances for all children across the federation, as opposed to just a single school.

The new guidance largely provides guidance on the setting up of a federation and also leaving and dissolving a federation.

The guidance can be gained directly from the website by following this LINK

DfE Governance Update – September 2022

The DfE (Department for Education), as part of their regular governance update, have provided additional guidance to assist governors, trustees and school leaders in their governance roles. You may have already received this update if you are subscribed to the DfE GIAS (Get Information About Your Schools) system. The September briefing includes the following updates:

  • Energy Bill Relief Scheme
  • Publication of the Academy Trust Handbook 2022
  • Publication of Guidance for Federations
  • Find Volunteers to become Schools Governors
  • Consultation: School Food Guidance & Training
  • Risk Protection Arrangement members – cyber cover and regulatory mock trials

The guidance can be gained directly from the website by following this LINK

DfE – Published Information on School and Academy Websites – 2022 Update

The DfE have updated their guidance on what information all LA maintained schools, academies and free schools must or should publish on their websites.

The updated guidance includes new sections on ‘School uniforms’ and ‘School opening hours’.

The guidance can be downloaded directly from the website by selecting the following links:

What maintained schools must or should publish online

What academies, free schools and colleges must or should publish online

DfE Careers Guidance and Access for Education and Training Providers 2022

The DfE have released new statutory guidance “Careers guidance and access for education and training providers” from September 2022. The guidance is for governing bodies, proprietors, school and college leaders, careers leaders and staff in maintained schools, academies and free schools (including alternative provision academies and free schools).

High quality careers education and guidance in school or college is critical to young people’s futures. It helps to prepare them for the workplace by providing a clear understanding of the world of work including the routes to jobs and careers that they might find engaging and rewarding. It supports them to acquire the self-development and career management skills they need to achieve positive employment destinations. This helps students to choose their pathways, improve their life opportunities and contribute to a productive and successful economy.

Schools must provide opportunities for a range of education and training providers to access all year 8 to 13 pupils to inform them about approved technical education qualifications and apprenticeships. Ofsted’s school inspection handbook has been updated to highlight the importance of schools understanding and meeting the requirements of this legislation, as careers information, education, advice and guidance is one of the key areas that informs inspectors’ overall judgements on Personal Development.

The statutory guidance can be downloaded directly from the website by following this LINK

Welcome to the Autumn Term 2022

Dear Governor and Trustee

Welcome to the autumn term 2022 and the new school year! I hope you feel rested after the summer break and ready to take on the opportunities and challenges for the year ahead. As usual the Governance Services Team are here to support you in in all matters relating to strategic governance through our clerking, training and development services.

After a turbulent year in terms of staffing and the effects of the pandemic, I’m really pleased to report that the service is now fully staffed after the retirement of our colleagues, Janet Shallaker-Gill and Carole Brooks. We wish them all the very best for the future and I know many of their schools have been in contact to wish them well.

It’s great to formally welcome our newest members of the team, Amy Appleyard and Rachael Worthington. Amy commenced with the service at the beginning of the summer term so will have already met most of her boards; however, Rachael, whilst commencing towards the end of the summer, will be meeting you for the first time this term. Both have a great deal of experience in the education and legal sector and bring an abundance of skills to the role, and I know they will support you and your boards well.

We have some new and exciting opportunities through the Governance Training and Development Programme this year with over 35 centre-based course areas and 70 e-learning sessions.  All accessible via competitive SLA and Pay As You Go rates. Highlights include new sessions for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, CIAG (Careers Information, Advice and Guidance) and the Role of the Board and Academisation Structures and Processes. The programme also includes a series of new interactive practical workshop sessions for self-reflection and sharing of good practice on various strategic matters.

This year, we are re-introducing our annual Governance Conference, which had been put on hold due to the inability to meet in large numbers. The conference theme this year is “Beyond Barriers: Achieve, Succeed and Belong in Bolton” and will prove to be a informative and thought-provoking event, as well as a celebration of Governance in Bolton.

As usual, our regular offer of termly Chairs’ Briefings, Partnership Forums and Training and Development Lead Briefings continue to support shared learning and external perspectives.

Finally, don’t forget that the service, through our Development Programme, can provide bespoke learning opportunities for your Board on various governance areas, enabling effective strategic working and promotion of best practice and excellence.

So, from myself and the Team, I want to thank you for your support in 2021/22 and I wish you and your school and governance teams well for the term and year ahead.

John Ashworth, Governance Services Manager

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