DfE Updates Governance Guidance

DfE Updates Governance Guidance

On 22nd March, DfE issued updated Governance Guidance.  The new Governance Handbook sets out the roles, functions and legal duties of governing boards in maintained schools, academies and multi-academy trusts. It also describes the main features of effective governance and where governing boards can find support.  Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association, gave it a lukewarm welcome: Continue reading “DfE Updates Governance Guidance”

Free FFT Aspire Dashboard Webinar

fft aspire

Free School Governor Dashboard Webinar from FFT Aspire

Due to demand, an extra FFT Governor Dashboard webinar has been added to the autumn term series of free webinars. Education data specialists, FFT, are set to host the online event for school governors on Tuesday 13 October at 2pm.

The FFT Governor Dashboard, has been developed in partnership with the National Governors’ Association and the Wellcome Trust, and is now available through FFT Aspire, FFT’s new reporting and data tool for schools, local authorities and academy trusts.

All subscribing schools can download the Governor Dashboard from FFT Aspire, and share it easily with governors.  Alternatively, governors can be provided with their own account, giving access to not only the Governor Dashboard but also a range of other information to aid their ‘support and challenge’ role.

Through a simple, six-page dashboard, governors can see how their school attainment and pupil progress compares to the national average, how it performs in different subjects, and whether any specific groups of pupils are under-performing, making it the ideal overview for planning towards Ofsted and Estyn inspections too.

The online events which last for thirty minutes will allow you to interact with webinar hosts and presenters by asking questions. FFT Managing Director Paul Charman says:

The great thing about the online sessions is that you can log on from anywhere – your own school, workplace or home – without the need of an outside venue.

The free webinar: FFT Overview for School Governors takes place on October 13, at 2pm.

To book a place on the free webinar please visit http://bit.ly/Governorwebinar.

Governance is on the radio!

David Owen - The Discovery Show
David Owen – The Discovery Show

Governance is on the radio!

On Friday 26 June, between 4 – 6 pm David Owen (Governance Trainer and Disc Jockey) will be playing an interview recorded with Kathy Dunnett, in her role as Vice Chair of Herts Association of School Governors) talking about governance and how to be a governor.  It will be played around 4.45 – 5pm.

The station is internet based and you can listen via:

There will be a catch up of the interview online via the show’s webpage after Friday:

If anyone knows anyone with a fascinating story or passion for a subject, David is always looking for people to interview!
Contact David Owen on   thediscoveryshow@nullgmail.com

UKGovChat – What’s That?

twitterWhat is UKGovChat?

UKGovChat is a weekly Twitter discussion normally taking place between 8:45 and 9:15 every Sunday evening, providing a home for Governors  to learn, share, challenge and support each other and improve the governance of all of schools to the benefit of the children and young people. From the original concept being born in 2013, well, as the website says:

Exactly a week later #UkGovChat was born, delivered to over 400 eager followers in a fast and furious chat encompassing “top tips” for new governors and the biggest challenges to effective governance.

The website remains totally independent of any government or commercial interest.  To find out more visit UKGovChat at ukgovchat.wordpress.com, search Twitter for hashtag #ukgovchat or follow the group @UKGovChat.  The site also has an impressive list of inks to a range of useful blogs and archives of weekly chats going back to 2013.  Recent chats were on subjects such as:

  • What is the GBs responsibility as far as Health and Safety is concerned?
  • What are your hopes for the newly announced Foundation for Leadership in Education?
  • What is your school doing about the DfE challenge of ‘character education’?
  • What is a Coasting School?
  • What will inspection of governance look like under the new framework? Ofsted Special with Sean Harford.
  • Your Hopes and Fears for the Next 5 Years.

Some recent news updates from UKGovChat

[rssonpage rss=”https://ukgovchat.wordpress.com/feed/” feeds=”5″ excerpt=”true” target=”_blank”]

New Statutory Duties – July 1st 2015

Counter-Terrorism-&-Security-Act-2015New Statutory Duties – July 1st 2015

Schools should be aware that they have a new statutory duty from 1st July 2015 to have due regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism. (Schools should be alert to issues around staff, pupils and parents).

The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 was published on 12th March 2015.  Section 26 of the Act places a duty on schools in England (and Wales) to prevent people being drawn into terrorism. This duty applies to all schools, whether publicly-funded or independent, and organisations covered by the Early Years Foundation Stage framework. Statutory guidance has been published.  See:

Schools leaders (including governors) must:

  • establish or use existing mechanisms for understanding the risk of extremism,
  • ensure staff understand the risk and build capabilities to deal with it,
  • communicate and promote the importance of the duty,
  • ensure staff implement the duty effectively.

Other duties on schools include:

  • effective partnership working with other local agencies, eg. LSCB, police, health, etc.,
  • information sharing,
  • maintaining appropriate records,
  • assessing local risk of extremism (including Far Right extremism),
  • demonstrating they are protecting children,
  • developing clear protocols for visiting speakers,
  • safeguarding policies that take account of LSCB policies and procedures,
  • training staff to give them knowledge and confidence,
  • ensuring there are robust ICT protocols that filter out extremist materials,
  • school buildings must not be used to give a platform to extremists.

Ofsted are responsible for monitoring how well schools are implementing this duty.

New Approaches to Assessment

Herts for Learning - AssessmentNew Approaches to Assessment

Herts for Learning (HfL) recently undertook briefings on the their new Assessment Framework for Primary Schools. It was presented to over 400 school Governors. Ben Fuller’s 45 minute briefing is now available for wider viewing and can be seen below:

This presentation addresses the following key themes:

  • why have ‘levels’ gone?
  • how will children be assessed in statutory national assessments without levels?
  • how might schools track pupil progress without levels?
  • what information could governors expect to see to support them with the task of holding the school leadership to account?

(Alternate link – http://vimeo.com/128528519).

For further information of the HfL approach to Assessment please review the download below or contact Ben Fuller, Lead Assessment Adviser, Herts For Learning Ltd., by email on Ben.Fuller@nullhertsforlearning.co.uk.


Governor Recruitment Roadshow

Kathy Dunnett Vice Chair of HASG and Mayor of Broxbourne
Kathy Dunnett Vice Chair of HASG and Mayor of Broxbourne
Vice Chair of HASG MP Broxbourne and interested volunteer
Vice Chair of HASG MP Broxbourne and interested volunteer

Governor Recruitment Roadshow Comes to Cheshunt – 16th May, Wolsey Hall.

Schools and Academies in the Cheshunt, Broxbourne and Waltham Cross areas were rallied with the support of the Hertfordshire Association of School Governors (HASG) to recruit people for their governing bodies. They held a successful Governor Recruitment Roadshow Event at the Wolsey Hall last Saturday 16th May. This was one of a series of events which will take place throughout May and June in other areas across Hertfordshire.

The national organisation which supports governor recruitment – School Governors One Stop Shop (SGOSS) and the local governance team from Herts for Learning also supported the event. The Mayor of Broxbourne Mayor, Cllr Mrs Bren Perryman attended in the morning and local MP Charles Walker during the afternoon (both pictured right), and both were delighted to meet experienced and potential governors from the locality.

Mike Scandrett, Chair of the Hertfordshire Association of School Governors stated…

Being a Governor is not just about attending meetings.  It is much more about being part of your local school and local community while making a contribution towards the development and learning of young people who are the citizens of tomorrow.  Governors are there to ensure that schools are run well, to shape their future and that children thrive and enjoy learning.  Being part of that is a reward in itself.  Be proud to be a Governor.  I am.

As a school governor you are part of the strategic leadership team for the school. You will steer the school vision, aims and objectives, ensure financial best value and support and enable the staff to provide an excellent learning environment. Could you be a school governor?

  • If you have the time and commitment to help improve the education of the pupils in your chosen school
  • If you are prepared to attend governors’ meetings and visit the school
  • If you are prepared to attend training to ensure that you fully understand your role

Then you would make an ideal school or academy governor!

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a school or academy governor, please try and attend the events at Stevenage on the 6th June at the council offices by the bus station and 27th June at Hemel Hempstead in the volunteer centre at Marlowes Shopping Centre.

Mike Scandrett, Chair of HASG chair@nullhertsgovernors.org

‘Hertfordshire Governor’ – Summer Edition

Herts Governor Summer Edition Issue 79‘Hertfordshire Governor’ – Summer Edition

The summer edition of Hertfordshire Governor published by Herts for Learning (HfL) is now on-line and can be accessed online by logging on at www.hertsdirect.org/governors (select ‘Hertfordshire Governor – current issue’ under ‘Signpost’ at the foot of the page) or click the picture.

The Introduction:

Message from Governance

Dear Governors

As we enter into the summer term and head towards the end of the 2014/15 academic year it is a good time to reflect on the work carried out this year and the impact it has had on the progress and attainment of pupils.  The pace is fast so we are very often only looking forward and thinking what needs to be done next, however as the academic year comes to an end it is important that you celebrate past success as well as identifying key actions for addressing in the future.

This term we have received feedback on an eSafety focus during recent Ofsted inspections within primary schools and academies, with governors knowledge being put to the test.  Our eSafety Adviser has provided a useful summary for governors which you can find in the News section.  Have a go at answering the questions included in the article and if you don’t know the answer that’s an action after Easter.

Also in the News section we have included a Health & Safety update on abestos.  This is particulary relevant as we head towards the summer holiday season and many large building projects are planned in schools/academies.

We are also pleased to inform you of our forthcoming Governor Recruitment Roadshow supported and sponsored by Governance Team, Hertfordshire Association of School Governors (HASG), and School Governors’ One Stop Shop (SGOSS). Do you have vacancies on your governing body? If so, why not come along and help to recruit new governors and promote the role of governance in schools and academies –  raise the profile of governors and give it  the status it deserves!

The edition includes

  • Governor Recruitment: Details of forthcoming ‘Governor Recruitment Roadshows’.
  • eSafety (tips from the eSafety Adviser following feedback from recent Ofsted inspections).
  • Health & Safety update ahead of building projects over the summer: Managing asbestos in your School.
  • Summary of changes to recently updated DfE statutory guidance – ‘Keeping children safe in education’ and ‘Working together to safeguard children’.
  • Changes to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.

Contact Cathy Irons Cathy.Irons@nullHertsforlearning.co.uk of the HfL Governance Unit for any questions or if you would wish to contribute to a future on-line edition.

Governance Update – March 2015

Herts for Learning - Closing GapsGovernance Update – March 2015

This update from Kathy Dunnett covers three topics:

External Reviews of Governance

These are fast becoming a useful tool to demonstrate and improve the effectiveness of your governing body. The review was originally designed for ‘Requires Improvement’ (RI) schools and is led by the National College for Teaching and Leadership. It has become more popular with governing bodies wanting to be Outstanding, and Outstanding governing bodies needing to run a ‘health check’ to ensure they are in line with the current framework.

In Hertfordshire the framework has been modified over the last two years, and a team of external reviewers have been trained and mentored. This good practice has been nationally recognised and, more recently, Hertfordshire (HfL Governance) has been involved in updating the national guidance and training which is currently being rolled out.

The Hertfordshire reviews are rigorously quality assured by the governance team, and the reviewers (all selected through an interview process) are given regular updates to ensure their work is of a high standard. Kathy Dunnett, Governance Officer and a National Leader of Governance, is leading on the process. She said, “More and more is being asked and expected of governors.  A review can encourage a governing body to reflect and regroup.  It is developmental and enables governors to know they are on the right track.” 

To book or enquire about an External Review of Governance, please contact: kathy.dunnett@nullhertsforlearning.co.uk

For more information see: https://www.gov.uk/reviews-of-school-governance.

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Governor Recruitment Roadshow

HfL’s Governance Team are linking up with Hertfordshire Association of School Governors (HASG – www.hertsgovernors.org/) and SGOSS Governors for Schools (voluntary governor recruitment agency – www.sgoss.org.uk/) to run a series of weekend roadshows during May and June to support schools in recruiting governors, and to raise the profile of the role.

The responsibility of a school governor has changed dramatically over the last five years and so have the expectations. School governance is now a professional role, and governors therefore need the right skills and training to make the greatest impact. With current demands on everyday working life, recruiting good governors has become more and more difficult in some parts of the county.

To support governing bodies and schools, six dates have been confirmed with possibility of the Hertfordshire County Show (to be confirmed):

(9am – 4pm)

  • 16th May – Wolsey Hall, Cheshunt
  • 6th June – District Council Offices, Stevenage
  • 27th June – The Roundhouse Volunteer Centre, Hemel Hempstead

HCC Offices (10am – 3pm)

  • 9th June – County Hall, Hertford
  • 15th June – Apsley, Kings Langley
  • 29th June – Stevenage

If you would like to book a slot at one of these events or get involved in raising the profile of the governor role, please contact:  kathy.dunnett@nullhertsforlearning.co.uk.

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Outstanding School Governor Awards 2015

Sponsored by the Hertfordshire Association of School Governors, and organised in association with Herts for Learning

These awards aim to celebrate outstanding and distinguished service of school governors in Hertfordshire, and are an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to governors that demonstrate exceptional practice. The winners will be announced at the Hertfordshire Governors’ Annual Conference in November 2015.

Awards & Prizes

  • each winning governor (total of three) will be awarded a £50 prize
  • prizes of £500 will be awarded to the schools of the three winning governors. The £500 is to be spent so it directly benefits the students; it is not to be spent on teaching or teachers as we would like the money to be spent on something the school has not included in its budget
  • all nominators will be put into a prize draw and three will be drawn at random and be awarded a £25 prize.


The awards are for individual school governors’ work, service, or commitment and not that of a governing body as a whole; the submission therefore needs to make clear the specific role that was played by the governor. Nominated governors will need to have given a total of at least five years’ service within Hertfordshire schools. However, this is not restricted to governorship at any one school.

Closing date for nominations: Friday 22nd May 2015

Nominations must be emailed/posted to HASG; entry forms  and information on where to send them can be found here: http://www.hertsgovernors.org/2015/02/outstanding-governor-awards-2015-nominations/

Shortlisting will take place during the summer of 2015.  A member of the judging panel will then visit finalists’ schools for discussions with the nominator(s).

Further information has also been sent out via the Chairs Service; if you have any other queries please contact: admin@nullhertsgovernors.org or kathy.dunnett@nullhertsforlearning.co.uk.

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