Hopefully you have returned fresh and full of energy after the half-term for what is now, officially, the 'Consultation Season'. The biggy (at least in terms of numbers of pages with the supporting documentation) is the Schools Financial Consultation, which is now open and closes 4pm 29th November. Also out now is the Intervention Support Consultation and coming soon, the Consultation on Admission Arrangements for 2014/15. Apologies if we have missed anyone's consultation out, but please let us know and we will advertise it for free.
The documents for the Finance consultation can be found in the following article- here. Following the last funding formula review, a number of schools found themselves struggling to make ends meet. It is not for us to judge why this might be the case, but we would strongly urge all governing bodies to review the proposals and make a response. There was a very well attended briefing session provided by Pete Hughes this week and the main areas were covered in some detail. One contentious issue was whether Pupil Premium was being used as a means to reduce the level of funding for Deprivation. The main aim of the Review Group set-up to look at the funding formula was to try to come up with a fairer system that directed more funding to Basic Entitlement, which is the per pupil funding. If this was to happen, it could only realistically come through a reduction in the Lump Sum and/or Deprivation factors. The discussions that followed within the Group led to a general, though certainly not universal, acceptance that the level of Pupil Premium could not be ignored when looking at Deprivation, as there is a close correlation. There were certainly some concerns raised during the briefing session over this issue. That said, the proposals that have been put forward still present two options that would keep the current 10% funding level for Deprivation, including the current formula. We would urge you to take the holistic approach to what is best for Stockport's children as a whole (and then vote for the one that is best for your school!)
The Intervention Support Consultation is based around the need to save £1.2 million from this service. Again it is open now and runs until 28th November 2013. It is our understanding that schools have not been consulted in formulation of the proposals, so we would strongly urge governing bodies to discuss this with their schools and submit a response.
Pupil Attendance Registers - this is a secondary school issue relating to pupils who are on study leave. Schools should mark pupils (s), which is the legal mark for study leave and counts as an absence. As a result, there has been a tendency to mark them as present, which could lead to safeguarding issues. It is important that you are at least aware of how your school is tackling this issue.
Stockport's School Improvement Service Plan 2013-2015 - a useful reference tool for all governors, outlining the five priorities for 2013-15 to support and challenge schools. Read it -here --
Teachers Pay & Conditions Policy - you should have now received the final version of this from the Local Authority. Although you do not have to adopt the model policy, this would be the safest option in the short term, and you can always amend it later to better serve your own particular interests. Although very thorough presentations were provided by the LA in the Summer Term, GOVAS recognises that this could become a major issue for schools in 2014 and are prepared to offer further training/guidance if this proves to be the case. We would therefore welcome any feedback on this matter.
A repeat of a request from earlier this year, for a Parent Governor to sit on the CYP Scrutiny Committee. It is important that there is a governor voice on these committees, so please take a look at the role. Information here, also take the time to read the details of a recent meeting - here- . Please contact GOVAS through the site if you are interested, and we will put you in touch.
Finally, finally - the next Stockport Governors' Conference will be at Marple High School on Saturday 29th March. The working title at the moment is "The Future of Education". Please make a note in your diary.