Hello and welcome to the ninth issue of GoverNews and what a strange time we find ourselves in. Many changes occurred at the end of the Spring term which I don’t think any of us could have foreseen. 

With our schools “closed” in the fight against Covid-19, yet asked to remain open to support children of our key workers and those with a social worker or EHCP, many schools found themselves in challenging times. However, our schools have done amazing work and with your support as governors over 130 of our schools in Northumberland remain open and are providing a vital service for many of our families and children.  

Your School Support Officers are now set up and working from home, keeping safe and working hard to support you with anything you may need. At the start of the Easter break a document was sent to you explaining how we have altered our service to you, as governors, for the summer term. That document can be found here for any of you who did not receive it. 

The strong message from the DfE is that they will not be making any changes to the statutory governance functions in any upcoming regulations related to COVID-19 and that governance of our schools should continue.  However, the DfE urge governing boards to be pragmatic in what they cover in meetings during this time, sticking to urgent time-bound decisions. 

We suggest you cover the following items as part of your summer term virtual FGB meeting, along with a more in-depth discussion on safeguarding arrangements. 

  1. Business-critical decisions (e.g. budget approval, ratifying school leadership appointments etc.) 
  2. Monitoring how the school is continuing to provide care for children who are vulnerable, children with EHCP plans and the children of key workers, associated risks, issues etc. 
  3. Any issues arising from how the building is currently being used and remote working for staff 
  4. Support being given to parents and carers to help them educate their children at home 
  5. Monitoring the wellbeing and welfare of pupils, staff and stakeholders


Another point to remember is that for 2020-21 it will be not necessary to gain full agreement of the Governing body or the Resources Committee, we will accept approved school budgets that are electronically approved by the Headteacher and the Chair of the Governing Body or Chair of the Resources Committee.

Some more useful links for you to follow at this time are:

DfE Updates on School Governance

Advice and Guidance from the National Governance Association

Northumberland Education Coronavirus Updates

Please remember to contact your School Support Officer for any support you or your school may need. 

Unfortunately, Sandra Hunter is still unwell and so I have taken on the role of Acting Governor Support Manager. Sandra continues to be a huge miss in the team and we continue to wish her all the best in her recovery. 

Best wishes and stay safe,

Vicki Evans (Acting Governor Support Manager)