GOVAS works closely with the Stockport Children and Young People Directorate, but we are a fully independent association of governors affiliated to the equally independent National Governors Association. Every governor in Stockport is automatically a GOVAS member (as long as your institution pays their subscriptionof £10.00 PA)and our Management Committee is made up exclusively of serving volunteer governors in Stockport’s schools – nursery, primary secondary and special. Our biggest strength is our links with all the school governors in Stockport through our newsletter, special communications, and this website.
Chairs, and governors, may or may not be aware that the both primary and secondary Stockport headteachers' consortia are promoting "A Day of Positive Action by Stockport Schools" on Friday 12th October 2018. The aim is to highlight the impact on childrens' education of the funding pressures all schools are facing in the Borough, with Stockport continuing to be one of the lowest funded Council's for schools in England. A letter from Stockport headteachers will be in your school (copy here), and they are hoping heads will encourage parents to write to and talk to their local MP to share their views and any concerns.
GOVAS has been asked to encourage Chairs and governors to discuss the day of positive action with their headteacher and be supportive of suitable school based consideration of how to best raise the concerns about school funding, and look further into how more funds could and would enhance the learning experiences for our children.
Andy Kent ( GOVAS CHAIR)
Last July, the secretary of the Stockport National Association of Headteachers (NAHT),Jim Nicholson, asked to meet with GOVAS representatives to share some issues about governors and governance raised by Stockport Heads over the previous twelve months.
The context for this discussion?
Stockport NAHT concerns about: headteacher workload and work life balance ; occasionally that governors are felt to behave inappropriately, or lack commitment to or understanding of the role the governor role; the extraordinary complexity and turbulence in education policy at a national level, with all the ensuing strains and tensions and challenges this brings to each school. (Yes, some opportunities also). To find out more about the matters raised and the GOVAS response please follow this -CLICK HERE-
End of school year update from GOVAS- July 15th 2018
HMI Anne Seneviratne gave a highly thought provoking and very well received presentation on Ofsted's latest thinking on the curriculum at the GOVAS AGM and Summer term meeting held at Priestnall school earlier this month. Slides from the presentations are available -here-.
Anne began with a summary of the Ofsted report on " Key Stage 3: The Wasted Years", and then moved on to summarise the progress Ofsted had made to date in rethinking its approach to the curriculum for all schools , in part in preparation for the anticipated new inspection framework for schools, to be introduced in September 2019.-click this link for details-
Amongst the key messages was the central importance of "mutually respectful" primary- secondary partnerships, which required strong headteacher leadership and commitment and an associated professional understanding of pupils prior learning in KS2. Governors. She said "some North West LAs" ( Stockport included) have been actively seeking to support and challenge leaders to develop and deepen their focus on transition, in particular around pupil learning, and that Ofsted itself is focussing more closely on this and looking for evidence at secondary level of KS3 being given high priority by headteachers. Governing Boards need to be involved in this.
For a while now, the new Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman (HMCI) has been stressing the importance of a broadly-based curriculum , and this message came through very strongly in the second half of the presentation, reflecting Ofsted’s ongoing work on the inspection framework. “The curriculum is going to be massive”, Anne said , stressing that the September 2019 new inspections will have “…at their heart …[the] school’s curriculum”. Literacy (especially),“ The gateway to all learning”) and mathematics remain fundamental, but rote learning is to be avoided and the links between subjects emphasised. She added that findings from Ofsted’s recent school curriculum survey had shown weaknesses in curriculum knowledge and expertise, a narrowing of the offer to pupils, ‘teaching to the test’, and real concerns about social justice. This latter point was a theme throughout the evening, with pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds more likely to be heavily reliant on school input, rather than from family and friends. Some secondary schools decision to reduce KS3 to 2 years was a real concern for Ofsted we were told, raising issues of “…equity, entitlement, and [premature] student subject choices.” Schools continuing to opt for a 2-year KS3 can expect heavy scrutiny in any inspection.
Rather than a “ broad and balanced” curriculum discourse, perhaps we should be thinking of it needing to be “deep and rich”, and considering the knowledge we wish children to acquire.
In responding to questions, Anne acknowledged the difficulties many schools were facing in teacher supply, especially in the secondary sector, and that the renewed emphasis on foundation subjects and cross curricular themes creates challenges for subject leaders, especially in the primary sector. Indeed governors need to consider exactly what being a “subject lead” means in practice and how leads can be appropriately supported to make the role “real”, as it needs to be. She concluded by leaders and governors need to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of their curriculum offer- “ is it doing what you set out to do? “
GOVAS Committee Update
One new member was elected, Dayan Atenyam (Norbury Hall Primary school),and
"Effective Governance in Challenging Times"
Key note speaker was Emma Knights, OBE, Chief Executive of the NGA (National Governors Assiciation)
"Emma Knights, OBE, is Chief Executive of the National Governance Association (NGA) - the leading charity for guidance, research, advice and training for school governors and trustees. Prior to her appointment in 2010 she was joint CEO of the Daycare Trust. Before that, she worked in a number of roles in the voluntary sector, particularly in the Legal Services Commission, Citizens Advice and the Local Government Association. As well as leading projects on child poverty and educational attainment, Emma has written on a wide range of topics and is co-author of the NGA’s Chair’s Handbook.
Emma regularly addresses legislators and the media on governance issues, as well as school governors, trustees, clerks and school leaders. She was a governor at a secondary school in Warwickshire for 7 years and is a founding trustee of the Foundation for Leadership in Education.
Emma was awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year's Honours list for services to education."
Emma`s Slide are available here -Emma Knigh Slides-
For the Workshop slides click on the workshop menu on the right -or just click here-
NEWSLETTER 22 – January 2018
The School Forum who are they and what do they do click here for further information
Apologies there were not a Newsletter issued after the December 2017 meeting – please refer to the Council Web-site for full details of the reports and the public minutes.
In this issue, we are including key points from the Schools Forum meeting held on 25 January 2018 particularly; Schools Funding Settlement 2018/19, Annual Pro-forma Toolkit return to DfE, 201819 Budget update and DSG Review Group. A full copy of the minutes will be made available via the Council web-site in due course, see section 7 below.
Schools Forum Meeting 25 January 2018 – Key Points
- Matters Arising from 7 December 2017 Meeting minutes
A discussion took place in relation to the “disappointment” expressed from the secondary sector colleagues that the new Laurus Trust Free Schools now confirmed for opening in September 2018 were not included in the original formula modelling figures included in the Schools’ Financial Consultation last term. The impact of which was that the headroom monies available within the schools’ block of funding for distribution to schools had now been reduced.
The secondary sector representatives indicated that the former vote on the 0.5% transfer from the schools’ block to the high needs block may have been different if all information had been known. The Service Director for Education outlined the LA would have taken such matter to the Secretary of State if Schools’ Forum approval had not have been granted.
Best wishes for 2018, another year of challenges lies ahead, 2017 saw a new ofsted charter rigorously testing our procedures and knowledge and we are confident that this will continue into 2018. So make sure that all of your governors are up to date with what is going on in your school and don`t forget to ask those dificult questions when they need to be asked to the senior team. This is what being a Governor is all about.
NEWSLETTER 21 – September 2017
The School Forum who are they and what do they do click here for further information
Welcome to the 21st edition of the Schools Forum Newsletter……..
In this issue, we are including key points from the Schools Forum meeting held on 28 September 2017 particularly; Schools Capacity/Capital Program update, Terms of Reference Review/Membership update, 2018/19 Schools Funding Arrangements and the National Funding Formula / 2018/19 Budget Options. A full copy of the minutes will be made available via the Council web-site in due course, see section 8 below.
Schools Forum Meeting 28 September 2017 – Key Points
- Matters Arising from 18 May 2017 Meeting minutes
Peter Hughes provided an email update (26 May 2017) to all Schools Forum matters in relation to the administrative cost increase query raised relating to school insurance schemes provided to schools as per item 9 in the minutes.
Furthermore the additional DfE information relating to the construction and values assigned to the local funding formula models of the other 150 LAs across the country was circulated to members further to item 11 of the last meeting.
- SCHOOLS CAPACITY / CAPITAL PROGRAM UPDATE
Report presented as tabled
Discussion: Stephen Bell outlined the key pressure points in the borough (i.e. Marple, Heatons, etc.) in relation to the provision of sufficient school places and provided a further update on the £25m capital investment secured to address both capacity and condition needs of schools in the very near future. A formal working group will be established shortly with representatives of all key stakeholder groups to identify options and discuss LA plans in more detail.
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