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.
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
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.
National Leaders of Governance or “NLGs” are highly effective chairs of school and academy governing boards who are designated by the National College for Teaching and Leadership to provide support to chairs of governors in other schools. There are currently thirty NLGs designated in the Greater Manchester sub region, with three based in Stockport (Stu Foster, Charles Nevin and Andy Kent). Having an NLG “deployed” to your governing body is usually free of charge, as NLGs are as a condition of their designation expected to be available for deployments with no charge for delivery for five working days in total per year. Time spent beyond this may be chargeable; this is entirely a matter for discussion and agreement between the school or other commissioner and the NLG. NLGs can provide support in several different ways.
Further information on NLGs in Greater Manchester may be found on the Greater Manchester Learning Partnership (GMLP) website at www.gmlp.org.uk and via the links below.
What is a National Leader of Governance Deployment?
An NLG is deployed into a school to provide support for its chair of governors. This support can take different forms depending on the circumstances of the school. Examples of deployments are as follows:
Improving school performance:
- Supporting the chair to focus more closely on raising standards and leading improvement
- Helping the chair to understand and interpret strategic school/academy data
Supporting the relationship between headteacher and chair:
- Coaching a chair in developing solutions to identified problems or in providing more effective challenge to senior leaders
- Helping the chair establish and develop an effective professional relationship with the headteacher/principal
Skills and understanding of governance
- Helping the chair to better evaluate their own performance and develop their leadership, effectiveness and confidence
- Supporting a new or recently appointed chair
- Observing a governing body meeting and providing advice to the chair on procedures, protocols and behaviours
- Helping the chair identify priorities for governing body development and draw up an action plan
- Mentoring a chair to provide support through a process, for example relating to complaints or staffing related issues
- Providing expertise to help with an aspect of a GB’s work
- Signposting or brokering additional training and support
- Facilitating a board self-review or undertaking an external review of governance
- Supporting aspects of federation or academy conversion
A review of governance is a deployment and is usually charged for. Reviews of governance may be recommended following an Ofsted inspection or commissioned by a school as part of their own cycle of self-evaluation and development planning. Any arrangements for paid for work are between the school and the individual NLG.
How do I request a NLG Deployment?
An improved schools' financial benchmarking service has been launched online by the Department for Education following feedback from users. The service enables LA-maintained schools and academies to compare their performance data and spending levels with schools that share similar characteristics such as:
- pupil numbers
- school phase/type
- proportion of pupils with special educational needs
- proportion of pupils who are eligible for free school meals
- proportion of pupils with English as an additional language
The benchmarking service will help school leaders and governors consider how they can use available resources to have maximum impact in supporting high-quality teaching and ensuring the best possible educational outcomes for their pupils.
Mrs Dawn Boyes
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