School Governance
Reforming Governance: Challenging Governing Bodies
High quality governance is crucial
 To children’s education and life chances
 To holding heads and schools to account
 ...
We want all GBs to operate as non-executive boards
focused on three core functions – as reflected in
Ofsted’s inspection c...
A range of policy objectives underpin this vision of
more ‘professionalised’ school governance
1. Inform: Improve informat...
Aim 1: Inform

We want governors to be informed about the nature of
their role and responsibilities, and about their schoo...
Aim 2: Re-model

We are creating a more flexible legal framework to
enable but not mandate better models of governance
We ...
Aim 3: Recruit

We want to attract more high quality governors

SGOSS

Employers

Recognition

 Funding committed to 2015...
Aim 4: Build capacity

We are increasing our support to GBs
NLGs

 300 National Leaders of Governance by March 2014

 Ch...
Aim 5: Sharpen accountability

We are working with Ofsted to make sure underperformance is identified and addressed
 Expl...
Our Challenge to Governing Bodies
 Focus on the core strategic functions
 Recruit people with the right skills to be gov...
For more information please visit
www.gov.uk
and search for Governors’ Handbook
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Reforming Governance: Challenging Governing Bodies

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Department of Education's Iain Campbell talks 'Reforming Governance: Challenging Governing Bodies' at Governor Live 2014.

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  • The future success of our schools is in the hands of our governors. That is why every school needs a good governing body.
    In our increasingly autonomous schools system - we need governing bodies to create robust local accountability.
    While there’s strong and growing consensus about the increasing importance and nature of good governance, there’s still a job to do. Ofsted data suggests that about 40% of GBs are less than good, and do not hold leaders to account sufficiently for school improvement.
  • People hold different views on the role and purpose of school governing bodies. Our Minister’s vision for the primary role of governing bodies is clear – they are non-executive boards – akin to the board of charity trustees or company directors. They are strategic leaders driving the success and effectiveness of their organisation. They set the long term vision for their school and hold executive leaders to account for the school’s performance – both educational and financial. This role is now defined in legislation for maintained schools, described in the Governors’ Handbook for all schools and academies. It is also reflected in the criteria Ofsted inspectors use to judge the effectiveness of governance.
    Being on the board of an organisation with a multi-million pound turnover is a demanding task, and many governors may be feeling the pressure.
    Governors may be volunteers - but it’s a vital role and expectations are high. We need more professional standards of governance. We need governing bodies that are skilled and confident to not only ensure schools’ compliance, but to take the lead in shaping schools’ long-term goals and strategic priorities and establishing robust arrangements for holding heads to account for progress towards them.
    The Government’s aim is to deliver a programme of reform to stimulate and support change.
  • The Ofsted inspection framework is a powerful tool. It focuses the minds of our governing bodies on what is expected of them. We have also set clear expectations through:
    The Governors’ Handbook for both academy and maintained school governors
    Departmental Advice on the Roles, Procedures and Allowances regulations – which covers their core functions, powers and limits of delegation, and the importance of the role of the chair and the clerk.
    Consulting on draft new statutory guidance – which covers size, composition and skills.
    Governors need to know their schools – but it’s worth emphasising that that doesn’t mean governors inspecting lessons or making their own judgement about the quality of teaching. But it does mean understanding in detail the performance of the school – pupils; teachers and finances – by interrogating both national data sets and by requesting and scrutinising appropriate and relevant in-year data from headteachers.
    There are a growing number of both national and local products in the market aiming to provide governing bodies with reports or ‘dashboards’ of information to monitor performance – the Department’s aim is improve the collection, storage and dissemination of all the data we hold: to both encourage and enable these products to continue to develop, but also to replace all of our existing systems including RAISE online with a new portal in place during 2015 to provide much easier access to timely performance and benchmarking data.
  • We see the purpose of regulations and other legal frameworks as creating the powers to enable and support effective governance. We don’t want them to constrain or limit the freedom of governing bodies to operate as they think best.
    At school level, we have increased the flexibility for governing bodies to recruit people for the skills they can contribute – maintained schools can now opt into the more flexible 2012 regulations, and academy articles of association provide considerable freedoms. We are encouraging schools to see conversion as an ideal opportunity to review and reform their governing body to be fit for purpose.
    For maintained schools we are consulting on proposals to go further to amend the 2012 Constitution Regulations to ensure that all appointed governors are selected because they have the skills for the role. We are also proposing to repeal the 2007 Constitution Regulations, so that there is a single flexible framework across all maintained schools – the flexibility to co-opt governors means this won’t necessitate changes to the membership, but our aim is that this will stimulate governing bodies to consider if their constitution and membership is fit for purpose.
    We recognise the value of governance spanning more than one school or academy – the opportunity for a more strategic perspective and ability to contrast between schools. The regulatory framework is in place for maintained schools to collaborate or federate, and academies to do likewise through Umbrella Trusts or Multi Academy Trusts. In the next version of the model funding agreement, we’ll be offering MATs even greater flexibility by allowing LGBs to govern more than one school, and removing the requirement that every school has its own LGB. We’ll also be standardising on the use of the term ‘trustee’ for anyone on the board of the academy, and ‘local governor’ for anyone who sits on a local governing body within a MAT.
  • The effectiveness of governing bodies is dependent on the quality of the governors they recruit – and we want to help them recruit governors with the skills they need.
    Being clear about the nature of the role will help to attract the right kind of people.
    SGOSS offers a free service to schools, academies and LAs – their aim to reach 25% of schools by end of this financial year.
    We are also in early discussions with SGOSS, NGA, CBI and others to think about how we can do more to encourage employers to support their staff to volunteer as governors. Not just because governing bodies need their skills - but because governors benefit from support from their employer and because of the benefits that being a governors offers to individuals and their employers – particularly in relation to their learning and development
    We recognise the huge commitment of volunteers and want their efforts to be worthwhile by ensuring they are focused on priorities and operating effectively. We aim to recognise as many outstanding governors as possible through the Honours system – and we need a continuous flow of high quality nominations focused on the impact that individuals have had. The school governance unit is ready and willing to help draft nominations, so please get in touch if you know anyone who particularly deserves recognition in this way.
  • The Government has no plans to mandate training, but it has made perfectly clear in guidance, as it is in the inspection framework, that it is the responsibility of governing bodies to ensure that they have skills and capacity to deliver their functions effectively.
    We recognise that there is a wide range of resources and organisations aiming to support governing bodies – and it’s right that they are free to select the support that best meets their needs. Our approach has been to mobilise peer-to-peer support, invest in training development programmes in specific high impact or high priority areas, and address some specific gaps in the market. In July 2013, Lord Nash announced a doubling of the investment in governance NCTL programmes:
    We are continuing to expand the NLG programme – to 300 by March 2014. 28 NLG advocates have been appointed to support recruitment of NLGs and promote awareness of their role and the level of take up by schools.
    NCTL is also
    Expanding it’s chairs development programme, with 50% subsidy for all participants to March 14
    Developing a new training programme for clerks available from summer 2014, recognising clerks key role in advising GBs on their role and functions
    Developing specific training workshops for governors on specific policy priorities – PRP (Jan 14), RAISE online data (Feb 14) , and financial efficiency (Mar 14)
    We also think it’s important that there remains a free national service to offer advice to GBs on their specific circumstances /issues – so we’re re-contracting for the Governorline service.
  • There is a strong focus on governance in Ofsted inspections – and indeed Lord Nash told the Select Committee that he thought the Ofsted inspection framework was the sharpest tool in the box for improving the quality of governance.
    The 9 criteria in the inspection framework for judging the effectiveness of governance are a powerful benchmark for every GB . From July these were tweaked to include a stronger focus on: GBs evaluating their own impact; development their own skills; and using data to create robust accountability.
    There is no longer a separate judgement on governance, but there is an explicit comment on governance in every inspection report. Where governance is weak in RI schools, an external review will be recommended. There’s advice, which NCTL is updating, on how to commission and conduct and effective review, but there’s no regulation or management of the market and schools are free to commission whoever they want. There is however a very high expectation that reviews will lead to rapid and material change to address the weaknesses identified. Inspectors will be looking for this in their monitoring visits and commenting on it explicitly in their follow up letters. Ensuring that we see impact from external reviews and what to do if we don’t is a matter of interest at the highest levels within the Department and Ofsted – so any GB in receipt of a recommendation for a review would be advised to heed the wake up call and seek and act quickly on some high quality support and advice.
    Finally, the SoS has a range of means and powers of intervention – including the use of IEBs and/or help to find an academy solution.
  • The reform programme we have put in place in itself represents a challenge to governing bodies – but it also provides a source of support to enable all governing bodies to thrive.
    There has never been a more important time to be a school governor. Governing bodies have a central role to play in driving forward success in our schools and ensuring that there is proper accountability in the schools system. That is why one of the Department’s top priorities is professionalising school governance. The reforms we are making – through improved sources and quality of information, greater freedom to operate, support in finding skilled governors, better training and support from the National College through NLGs training for chairs and clerks and on key issues like pay reforms, as well as sharper accountability through Ofsted and - will help governing bodies meet those challenges.
  • We will be closing down the Department’s site as we move .GOV website.
  • Reforming Governance: Challenging Governing Bodies

    1. 1. School Governance Reforming Governance: Challenging Governing Bodies
    2. 2. High quality governance is crucial  To children’s education and life chances  To holding heads and schools to account  To the future of schools  To making the most of the time invested by dedicated volunteers Yet Ofsted find too many schools have governance that is less than good 1
    3. 3. We want all GBs to operate as non-executive boards focused on three core functions – as reflected in Ofsted’s inspection criteria Core Function Ofsted criteria for effective governance  Setting strategic direction clarity of vision and ethos  engaging stakeholders  meeting statutory duties   Creating robust accountability Using data to provide challenge and hold leaders to account for teaching, achievement, behaviour and safety strengthening school leadership, including skills of GB  performance managing the headteacher  contributing to school self-evaluation and evaluating GB’s impact  Ensuring best use of financial resources solvency and effective financial management  use of Pupil Premium and other resources to overcome barriers to learning 2
    4. 4. A range of policy objectives underpin this vision of more ‘professionalised’ school governance 1. Inform: Improve information, data and guidance for governors 2. Re-model: Create greater freedom for more effective models of governance 3. Recruit: Attract more higher-quality governors with the skills GBs need 4. Build capacity: Improve training and support to increase GBs’ effectiveness 5. Sharpen accountability: Inspect and intervene to judge and improve performance 3
    5. 5. Aim 1: Inform We want governors to be informed about the nature of their role and responsibilities, and about their schools  Governors’ Handbook and Academies Financial Handbook Clear policy framework  Roles, Procedures and Allowances regs and Departmental Advice  Draft revised statutory guidance on 2012 Constitution regulations Good school performance data  Ofsted dashboard, and new shorter RAISE online Summary report  New data warehouse and portal from 2015 for all DfE data 4
    6. 6. Aim 2: Re-model We are creating a more flexible legal framework to enable but not mandate better models of governance We want GB constitution to focus more on skills At school level Consultation on changes to 2012 Constitution regulations Considerable freedom for academies – transition to academy status key opportunity to review GB structure and membership We want to enable more effective governance structures Across groups of schools Federation and Collaboration regulations for maintained schools Flexibility of MAT and UT structures for academies New NCTL guidance on governance in MATs and Federations 5
    7. 7. Aim 3: Recruit We want to attract more high quality governors SGOSS Employers Recognition  Funding committed to 2015 to enable growth in free service to schools, academies and LAs  Working with partners to plan campaign to engage more employers to support staff to volunteer as governors  Honouring and celebrating achievements 6
    8. 8. Aim 4: Build capacity We are increasing our support to GBs NLGs  300 National Leaders of Governance by March 2014  Chairs leadership development programme – 2,300 by 2014 National College Training and Development GovernorLine  New training programme for clerks benefiting 2,000 schools by 2015  Training workshops for governors – on Teachers’ PRP, RAISEonline, and financial efficiency available in 2014  New contract in place by March 2014 7
    9. 9. Aim 5: Sharpen accountability We are working with Ofsted to make sure underperformance is identified and addressed  Explicit focus on governance in every inspection report Inspection  External reviews in all schools where governance weak, with robust monitoring of impact  NCTL guidance on external reviews being updated  Warning notices and IEBs Intervention  Termination of academy funding agreements  Help for failing schools to find high quality academy sponsor 8
    10. 10. Our Challenge to Governing Bodies  Focus on the core strategic functions  Recruit people with the right skills to be governors  Take training needs seriously  Appoint a chair with the skills to make the governing body operate effectively  Employ a clerk who can provide sound advice 9
    11. 11. For more information please visit www.gov.uk and search for Governors’ Handbook

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