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Governance Services Update

Governance Services Update

Upon the early retirement of Annette Harris at the end of the summer term and following a rigorous recruitment process, I’m pleased to report that we have appointed Marie Ahmad to the important role of Governance Development Officer. Marie will bring a vast array of experience both from her current role within the Governance Services Team and also from her previous professional roles and role as a Chair of Governors. Marie will be developing the post further, whilst maintaining the current service offer of bespoke development, external reviews of governance and the usual briefings and events. We have recruited to Marie’s substantive Governance Support Officer role and will provide further information about this within the next two weeks.

Towards the end of the summer term we also unfortunately had to say goodbye to Denise Hark as Governance Support Officer. Denise, like Annette, had worked for the Governance Services Team in Bolton for a number of years and whilst we are sad to see her go; I’m pleased to advise that Denise accepted a promotion as Head of Governance for Salford City College. Denise has always wanted to work in Further Education, and we wish her well for the future. We have recruited to Denise’ post and it gives me great pleasure to welcome Theo Williams to the team in a full-time capacity. Many will already know and have met Theo in his role as Casual Minute Clerk and with his existing knowledge of our systems and practices, his previous professional experience and experiences as a Chair of Governors, we know he will prove to be an asset to the team.

The Governance Services Team in Bolton is recognised as a quality service with high standards and we trust that our recent appointments will continue to secure the very best service for our schools and academy trusts. I will be in touch further to advise on further staffing appointments in due course.

John Ashworth   Governance Services Manager

Keeping Children Safe in Education -2019

The Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance 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.

This guidance is for head teachers, teachers, staff, governors, proprietors and management committee members and supersedes the 2018 version. A summary of the amendments and additions are contained within Annex H of the guidance.

The guidance and related materials can be downloaded directly from the www.gov.uk website using the following LINK

Ofsted Inspections of Maintained Schools and Academies

The Education Inspection Framework came into effect from 2 September 2019. Copies of the School Inspection Handbooks for Section 5 and Section 8 Inspections can be downloaded from the directly from the www.gov.uk website using the following LINK

Further guidance for Inspecting the Curriculum and the methodology to support the framework can also be downloaded.

Academies Financial Handbook – 2019

The Academies Financial Handbook 2019 details the financial management requirements that apply to all academy trusts.

Academy trusts must comply with this handbook as a condition of their funding agreement. It provides an overarching framework for implementation of effective financial management and control. Other resources are available to help boards get the right systems in place.

The guidance can be downloaded directly from the www.gov.uk website using the following LINK

 

DfE Guidance on Supporting Governors and Trustees to Reduce Workloads

The Department for Education has published materials and guidance to help boards and trustees support workload reduction in their school(s) and for themselves. The materials are intended to help governing boards and trustees:

  • support workload reduction in their school(s)
  • review and streamline their own practice to reduce their workload
  • A three-stage guide to ‘Reducing workload in your school’ explains how to use the workload reduction toolkit and related materials.

The materials can be downloaded via the DfE website using the following LINK

Leadership Development Programme – 2019

Bolton Governance Services in partnership with the National Governance Association has once again been contracted to deliver the Leadership Development Programme for Governors and Trustees. This is a great opportunity for existing, new or aspiring chairs of governors.

This Leadership Development programme is funded by the Department for Education and provides Chairs, Vice Chairs, Committee Chairs and aspiring Chairs, the opportunity for developing their leadership skills. The programme does require commitment but offers a blend of flexible learning, with three terms to complete.

Funding from the DfE is available until March 2020, making this training completely free of charge for a limited period. Boards are also now able to secure funding for two places. The usual cost would be £500 per delegate.

Further details and dates for the September 2019 cohort may be downloaded below. Prior to booking, please contact Marie Foley on 01204 332116 or via email at marie.foley@bolton.gov.uk , to register your interest or for further details about the programme.

The 2019-20 cohort is now full. Information about future cohorts will be announced in 2020.

DfE Best Practice Guidance for School Complaints – 2019

The Department for Education has published its awaited revised best practice guidance for school complaints.

All maintained schools and maintained nursery schools must have and publish procedures to deal with all complaints relating to their school and to any community facilities or services that the school provides, for which there are no separate statutory procedures. The duty to establish procedures for dealing with complaints lies with the governing body and the Department has produced the guidance to share and encourage best practice and to help schools avoid common pitfalls.

The Department has also published a model policy, in addition to the serial complaints policy, which can be tailored to the school should the board choose to adopt. The Governance Services Team will provide further guidance through the Clerking and Support Service. Copies of the best practice guidance and model policies can be downloaded via the DfE website using the following LINK

** Update **

The Primary Head Teacher Policy, Planning and Resources Group met on 1 March 2019 and noted the following recommendations:

  • Members agreed that the DfE model complaints and managing serial and unreasonable complaints policies were useful in their current format and that the timeframes as included within the current LA model policy be recommended.
  • It was also agreed that further right of response be offered following the outcome of stage 1, rather than just progression to stage 2. For example, the complainant may have additional queries of the Head Teacher that can be resolved at that stage. However, this should not prevent the complainant from progressing to stage 2 if they wish.
  • Complainants should be given the opportunity to complete the complaints procedure in full, unless the school possess clear evidence that the complaint meets the serial and unreasonable complaint criteria.

Governance Handbook – 2019

The DfE have updated the Governance Handbook which provides guidance on the roles and duties of governing and trust boards for maintained schools, academies and multi-academy trusts. The Governance Handbook explains:

  • the boards’ core roles and functions;
  • summarises and provides a first point of reference on all the legal duties on boards, signposting to more detailed information, guidance and resources;
  • providing information on the support available for boards to be effective;
  • the main features of effective governance.
  • Copies of the Governance Handbook may be downloaded directly from the DfE website via the following LINK

Governance Services Privacy Notice

Bolton Council has core data protection obligations and commitments which are set out in the council’s primary privacy notice at www.bolton.gov.uk . The Governance Services Team has a separate notice which provides additional privacy information for people accessing Governance Services and partners working with Bolton Council.

It describes how we collect, use and share personal information about our governors, trustees and leaders in relation to Governance Services and the types of personal information we need to process. The information we hold will vary dependent on the services used and relate to matters of school or academy governance only, for example, providing clerking and training services, booking on training and development sessions and applying to become a school governor.

It is important that you read this notice, together with any other privacy information we may provide on specific occasions when we are collecting or processing personal information about you, so that you are aware of how and why we are using such information.

Throughout the spring term, we will request all service users to complete an eligibility and privacy consent form. This will ensure that the information we hold is correct and up to date.

If you have any specific questions relating to the privacy notice, please contact John Ashworth, Governance Services Manager via email at john.ashworth@botlon.gov.uk or via telephone on 01204 338603.

A copy of the privacy notice may be downloaded below.

Bolton Elected Governor Guidance 2019

The Local Authority is the appropriate authority for maintained community, community special and voluntary controlled schools and as such must make all necessary arrangements for the election process for parent and staff governors. These arrangements are detailed within the Bolton Elected Governor Guidelines. Maintained voluntary aided schools and non-maintained schools, including academies and free schools, are free to determine their own procedures; however, many choose to follow and adapt the local authority model.

The guidelines have been recently updated to provide current guidance related to the definition of ‘parental responsibility’ in line with DfE guidance and other minor amendments regarding pre-appointment procedures and updated wording. Model letters and ballot forms are also included to provide further assistance to schools and ensure processes are managed effectively.

A copy of the revised guidance may be downloaded below. Word version templates of the model letters and forms may be downloaded via the School Governor Categories page.

ESFA Understanding Your Data Guidance

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has published a guide for governing and trust boards on understanding data. The guide sets out the information boards may consider whilst undertaking their core functions of setting the right strategic direction for the school or trust, holding school leaders to account for educational performance and ensuring financial probity.

The guidance will help the board to understand the issues and challenge leaders to understand and contribute towards school improvement.

A copy of the guidance can be downloaded directly from the Education and Skills Funding Agency via www.gov.uk by using the following LINK

Recruiting a Head Teacher – DfE Guidance

This publication provides non-statutory guidance from the Department for Education and replaced ‘A guide to recruiting and selecting a new head teacher’ published in 2012.

The guidance aims to support the recruitment and selection of head teachers in England and should be read in combination with the head teacher recruitment toolkit.

The guidance has been produced jointly with the National Governance Association (NGA), with support from the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), Freedom and Autonomy for Schools – National Association (FASNA), the Local Government Association (LGA) and a range of other stakeholders.

The guidance and recruitment toolkit can be downloaded directly from the www.gov.uk website using the following LINK