The schools inspectorate Ofsted has published a new report on the state of school governance, called Improving governance: Governance arrangements in complex and challenging circumstances..
The report draws on responses to Ofsted’s public call for evidence last autumn, 96 routine inspections or monitoring visits, and dedicated visits made by inspectors to 24 schools which had recently improved standards. The report outlines the barriers faced by governors in these schools and the actions taken to strengthen their professions skills to fulfil their roles.
The report identifies “three critical factors that made improvements possible” in schools where weak governance had improved rapidly:
1) the schools became aware of the weaknesses in their governance arrangements
2) professional knowledge, understanding and insight was developed within the governing board
3) clarity about governors’ roles, responsibilities and lines of accountability was established.
The report also identifies a number of common issues where governance was not effective:
· many governors lack the expertise to hold school leaders to account
· governors need better access to educational expertise and professional clerking
· recruitment and retention of governors is a challenge in many areas
· clarity about lines of accountability, role and responsibilities is an essential part of effective governance
· weak governance is at risk of going undetected until inspection
· paying chairs of governing boards can act as a means to create a more professional partnership between the board and school leadership team
· commitment to and knowledge of the school’s local community is essential to governance.
Haringey’s Governance services can offer you support and training to ensure that you are operating effectively. In addition please contact us if you would like to commission an external review of governance.
Competency Framework for Governance and New Governance Handbook
The Department for Education (DfE) has published a Competency Framework for Governance, detailing what the department define as the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed for effective governance in maintained schools, academies and multi-academy trusts.
The guidance, whilst non-statutory, outlines DfE thinking on the essentials of effective governance and the expectation is clearly that governing bodies and academy trust boards should be mindful of these competencies both in recruiting governors and trustees and in shaping the development and training priorities for governance in their own school or trust. The DfE are recommending that governors refer to this new guidance alongside the new Governance Handbook, republished at the same time as this framework was released. Academy Trusts are reminded that they should also refer to the 2016 Academy Financial Handbook.
In total there are 16 competencies within the framework but these are encompassed within six key competencies:
These key competencies are then underpinned by seven principles and personal attributes which the DfE see as qualities which will enable governors and trustees to “use their skills and knowledge to function well as part of a team and make an active contribution to effective governance.”
The principles and personal attributes, identified by the DfE, spell out that all those involved in governance should be:
The guidance makes clear that the DfE envisages the framework to be a source of reference to governing bodies and academy boards of trustees which should inform practice and processes rather than be a template for what governance in 2017 should look like in ever school in England.
Governors training programme 2016/17
2016/2017 Governor Training Programme from Haringey Governor Services.
This training programme provides governors with the skills and knowledge to be effective members of their governing body. Some of the courses covered include the following:
Current statutory requirement and best practice
New Governor Induction
New to the programme
HR Panel Roles and responsibilities
Using Budgets effectively
Quality of teaching
Governance Handbook - November 2015
On Thursday 26 November, the Department for Education (DfE) released its latest edition of the Governance Handbook (previously Governors’ Handbook). This handbook is an essential resource for governors and trustees.
Statutory school polices 2014
This is the latest DfE guidance on statutory policies for schools.