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 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 week I visited the Governor Live conference, held at Manchester Central. It was attended by governors from throughout England and Wales and featured presentations from Iain Campbell (DfE) and Emma Knights (NGA) on the challenges and opportunities facing school governors, as well as Stockport governor Andy Kent, along with Ruth Agnew, who are both National Leaders of Governance. We will try to get a link on the web-site for these presentations. In the afternoon, there were open sessions on topics selected by the audience. By far the most popular was on the subject of governing body self-evaluation.
By coincidence, the Stockport Governor Conference on Saturday 29th March features a workshop on Governing Body Self-Evaluation! By even greater coincidence, it is presented by Andy Kent (by far the most entertaining speaker last week)!
Actually, although not planned, it is certainly not a coincidence, as governing body self evaluation (what is it and how do we do it?) is a topic that is always high up on the list of priorities for all governors. The Conference provides a great opportunity to get up-to-the minute advice on this from Andy, partnered this time with fellow NLG Lynne Tommony.
Another area of governance which we are always seeking to improve on is understanding and working with our parents, to raise attainment. The "Going Forward Together - Parents as Partners" workshop will provide a framework for governing bodies looking to develop more effective relationships with their parents, with plenty of hints and tips to take back to your schools.
The workshops are already filling up and some are already over-subscribed, so please book early to get the ones that you want.
Joint Chair, GOVAS
The government has announced a consultation on changes to some of the governance regulations and advice for maintained schools. The government are proposing a number of things in relation to constitution, including inserting a requirement that for all LA, foundation, appointed parent and partnership governors, the governing body appoints them on the basis that they have in the opinion of the person making the appointment 'the skills required to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school.' Currently this is only the case for co-opted governors.
As was highlighted by the House of Commons Education Select Committee report, currently when there are too many governors in a particular category, the 'last in first out' or juniority principle, applies. The consultation proposes to remove this to give the governing body (or the body responsible for appointing, in the case of foundation governors) the responsibility for resolving any surplus.
The government is also proposing to make all maintained school governing bodies reconstitute under the 2012 Regulations by September 2015.
Changes to the Statutory Guidance on the constitution regulations are also part of the consultation, with the draft guidance having additional advice on the skills that a governing body needs and parental elections.
The government also propose to amend the Federations Regulations top bring them into line with the proposed provisions above for the Constitution Regulations, as well as amend an anomaly relating to staff governor ratios.
None of these proposals will apply to academies.
(article courtesy of the NGA)
The Schools Forum (an elected group of Head teachers, Principals, Governors and other associated members) is the key decision making and consultative group required by DfE regulation which oversees/governs all financial and administrative matters relating to the Schools Budget financed by the dedicated schools grant (DSG).
The roles and responsibilities of the Schools Forum can be found in the new short guide recently published by the DfE (November 2013)- found here -
The DfE has identified as part of their review of Schools Forum that effective best practice relating to Schools Forum and its operational duties includes communication to all the wider stakeholder audience of the business matters discussed and decisions made. (i.e. ensuring all decisions made at forum are duly recorded and shared).
To enhance communication with the wider school audience, the Local Authority will produce a brief overview newsletter of the discussions/views, decisions made and agreed actions in relation to all business matters after each meeting and distribute to stakeholders via the following means:
• Office on-line;
• Council's web-site (see below link);
• Govas web-site;
• Schools Finance monthly newsletter; and directly
• To all Schools Forum members
Welcome to the 2nd edition of the Schools Forum Newsletter........
In this issue, we are including key points from the Schools Forum meeting held on 21 January 2014 particularly;
All Head teachers, School Business Managers/Finance staff and Chair of Governors
Firstly welcome back and a happy new year to you all, please find below a short update on a number of key topics for this term:
Schools Financial Consultation
The Local Authority (LA) launched a consultation document last term with all governing bodies on proposed amendments to:
• The Local Funding Formula; and
• The Scheme for Financing Schools.
The consultation responses are summarised at Appendix 1.
The LA will present detail of the consultation responses relating to the local funding formula proposed amendments to Schools Forum at the meeting scheduled for 21 January 2014 and seek a recommendation to be presented to the LA Executive on 11 February 2014 for decision.
The LA will present a further report to Schools Forum on the proposed amendments to the Scheme for Financing Schools document at the meeting scheduled for 20 March 2014 and seek approval on the LA proposals.
A further update on the above subject matters will be provided in due course to all schools.
Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS)
The Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS) is the mandatory self-assessment process all LA maintained schools are required to undertake as stipulated by the Department for Education (DfE).
The SFVS is based upon 23 questions covering four specific areas of financial management;
• The Governing Body & School Staff;
• Setting the Budget;
• Value for Money; and
• Protecting Public Money
All schools are required to ensure the self-assessment against the 23 questions has been reviewed by the identified school personnel in 2013/14 and the appropriate school return is submitted to the LA by 31st March 2014. The LA recommends that as a minimum the review should be undertaken by the Head teacher, School Business Manager, Chair of Governors and the Chair of Finance Committee.
The DfE announced as part of their autumn term 2013
Did you know that all schools who buy back into the training and development of Stockport LA have automatic membership of the National Governors Association?But you don't get the full benefits automatically.
Once you have submitted the spreadsheet, the NGA office will send instructions to each governor on how to access the members area of the website.
All governors once they are registered will get a very useful summary of news via their e-mail and access to the on-line weekly Newsletter.
2 copies of the high quality magazine 'Governing Matters' (published six times a year) will be sent to the school, and up to 3 individuals can have their own sent to their home address.
There are other useful publications, an annual conference and regional events. The NGA represents schools governors from all state funded schools, including those from LA maintained schools and academies in England. Full details are on the website www.nga.org.uk.
Joint Chair, GOVAS
The latest Fischer Family Trust (FFT) Governor Dashboard for primary schools is now available. This updated version contains 2013 key stage 2 results, improved gauges, and new Department for Education indicators. The FFT Governor Dashboard helps school governors hold schools to account, support and challenge the leadership team, and make more informed strategic decisions. It is essential reading for all governors. If you are a primary school governor, ask your school how to access this information.
The updated secondary dashboard will be available in mid-October