Welcome to the fourth issue of GoverNews, and the first of the 2018 – 19 academic year. Each term we aim to keep you up to date with information pertinent to governors in all Northumberland schools.

A new school year is upon us and the summer holiday has been a busy one for all involved in education. The DfE published a great deal of information over the summer (most of it on the first weekend of the holidays!), mostly linked to teacher workload…

Other highlights have been the updating of Keeping Children Safe in Education, the EPI annual report on Education in England, and updates to what maintained  schools should publish online (and academies/free schools). Saving time for the Head by having a governor check that your school website is compliant would be a great help.

There has also been a debate in the press and on social media about the rates of exclusions nationally, and in particular schools. It is worth reflecting on exclusion rates in your school for a moment.

Examination results at Key Stage 2, 4 and 5 have been published and the county has seen improvements in many areas. Further details will be provided at the Chair’s and Vice Chair’s briefings this term. There are still gaps for disadvantaged and SEND pupils – no doubt your Head will provide analysis for your Pupil Premium and SEND governors to dissect.

In other news:

  1. GDPR should be embedded in your school, the Local Authority have an SLA to provide schools with a dedicated Data Protection Officer. Full details can be found here, if you are not signed up already.
  2. OfSTED made some minor amendments to the inspection handbook in July 2018. The handbook is here.

Whatever changes may be thrust upon us the role of governors continues to be:

  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
  • Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils
  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction

We will continue to offer training to governors – details of the training available will be posted on the training offer page of the website. If there are particular training sessions that you would like to see please let your Clerk know.

If you would like to spread your experience of successful governance further you may wish to consider becoming a National Leader of Governance. Full details of the criteria and how to apply are available here.

We are always looking out for good news stories on how governing bodies are working effectively – please do pass any examples to Sandra Hunter.

As the terms progress, and Ofsted visit our schools, we will endeavour to speak with governors about the experience and pass on their thoughts to you. Many schools report a much more positive experience than in previous years.

The Governor Support Team should be your first port of call with any queries you may have. Their contact details can be found here.

Best wishes.

Sandra Hunter (Governor Support Manager)