To: The Education and Children s Services Scrutiny Board (2) Date: 2 July 2015

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1 Briefing note To: The Education and Children s Services Scrutiny Board (2) Date: 2 July 2015 Subject: Support to School Governors 1 Purpose of the Note 1.1 To review changes to the Governor Support Service; considering possible implications, particularly for governor training. 2 Recommendations 2.1 The Educations and Children s Services Scrutiny Board is recommended to: 1) Note the content of the report and identify any recommendations to the appropriate Cabinet Member 2) Consider an overview of course evaluations completed at the end of each event at a later meeting for Members to monitor the quality of courses on offer. 3 Information/Background 3.1 From September 2015, the Senior School Support Services Officer (SSSO) will cease employment with Coventry City Council because he has been allowed to leave as part of the most recent ER/VR round. The SSSO role covers a range of responsibilities including maintaining oversight of the governors clerking service, supporting effective links with the Coventry Governor Association, convening and managing link governor meetings, coordinating the Coventry Link Governor programme, maintaining oversight of Local Authority governor appointments and reporting to Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education. The change to constitution arrangements for local authority maintained schools will be fully implemented by 1 September 2015 and the briefing note taken to all maintained schools is attached at Appendix I 3.2 All the statutory functions currently required of the local authority such as local authority appointments and approval of instruments of government will be maintained, but these will be managed by different officers in the service. Appendix II gives the current elected members appointed to governing bodies. 3.3 The fully traded clerking service will remain within the Education and Inclusion team. This team will be directly line managed by one of Coventry s Improvement Partners. It is expected that once the team is in receipt of the new technology which allows them to receive and make telephone calls in any location, they will move to work alongside Coventry Improvement Partners; enabling easy communication and early alerts so that emerging concerns and issues can be resolved swiftly.

2 3.4 One of the SSSO s key functions was to produce a service level agreement for schools which provided a range of training and support for school governors at all stages of their experience and development. A full range of training and support will continue to be provided, but in a different way, through The Coventry Teaching School s Alliance. Events will include: new governor induction, effective challenge and support, getting to good and outstanding, effective monitoring and evaluation, safeguarding for governors, governors role in performance related pay and appraisal, new Ofsted inspection framework training, good governance: knowing your school plus cluster or bespoke training requested by individual governing bodies or school networks. 3.1 The reduction in SLA income to the Governor Support Service as a result of this activity transferring to the Coventry Teaching Schools Alliance is in the region of 12k for the period September 14 to July 15. This reduction in income is being managed through the deletion of the SSSO post at the end of the Summer term All training events will be publicised in the joint Teaching School s Alliance brochure which is shared with all schools. A PDF brochure will be shared with all governors in the same way that the previous training booklet was publicised. 3.3 Consequently, although the post holder will be leaving the City Council, the range of training and support will not diminish. The range of training and support currently offered for governors will not be reduced or lost to the city. 3.4 Communication systems are well established with the Coventry Governors Association. A series of training and briefing meetings have already been scheduled for the next academic year and regular monthly meetings have been programmed with the nominated Improvement Partner. 3.5 Termly link governor briefings and the termly Directors and Cabinet Member (Education) briefings will continue as before. 3.6 Regular governor newsletters will signpost what training is available and where, so that governors can register in good time to participate. As is the current case, if the event does not achieve an optimum number, then the course will not run. Similarly, if there is great demand for a particular course, additional courses will be provided to meet need. 3.7 As is the current position, if a review of governance is recommended by the local authority or Ofsted, this can be commissioned from a variety of sources. The school s improvement partner will indicate a range of providers from which schools are able to choose. 3.8 A Chair s development programme and clerks development programme will still be offered but independent of the Teaching Schools Alliance because it is licenced by the National College for Teaching and Learning. Dates for this training will be communicated before school s break up for the summer. 3.9 The proposed arrangements for the training and support to be made available from September 2015 has been regularly communicated to headteachers, chairs of governors and training link governors since January 2015 and comments received have helped shape the provision to be made available The link to the Coventry Teaching Schools Network website is found here: The course and events programme will be published and available at the end of June Paul Weston Head of Education Standards and Improvement Education and Inclusion Service, People Directorate 2

3 Briefing Note Autumn Term 2014 APPENDIX I From: Director, Education & Inclusion Services To: Community, Community Special, Voluntary Aided, Voluntary Controlled and Trust School Governing Bodies Title: The School Governance (Constitution & Federations) (England) Regulations Purpose To inform governors of the requirement to reconstitute the size and composition of the governing body to comply with the new 2014 Regulations by 1 September 2015, at the latest. The 2014 Regulations amend the 2012 Constitution Regulations to make them compulsory for all governing bodies that have not already changed their composition to comply with the 2012 Regulations. The 2014 regulations come into effect from 1 September Recommendations a) Governors are asked to consider the implications of the new regulations and determine a process and timescale for changing the current composition of their governing body to ensure compliance by 1 September b) To adopt the LA governor appointment criteria contained in Appendix 2 3. Statutory Framework Education Act 2002 Education & Inspections Act 2006 Education Act 2011 The School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012 The School Governance (Constitution & Federations) (England) Regulations Background The Government has concluded that there is correlation between the effectiveness and size and composition of school governing bodies and particularly that smaller, better skilled and trained governing bodies are the most effective. In response to this the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012 where introduced, initially as an optional change. The 2012 Regulations allow more flexibility on the size and composition of governing bodies and reduces the minimum size of a governing body to seven whilst maintaining the stakeholder model. The 2014 Regulations now make the 2012 Regulations compulsory for all LA maintained schools that have not yet reconstituted. 3

4 The 2014 Regulations also make changes to the way that governing bodies are required to action the removal of surplus governors in each category, making this more flexible. The process for change requires the governing body to determine the new size and composition, within the regulatory framework, for their governing body and draw up an instrument of government for submission to the Local Authority (LA) and relevant diocesan authority or Trust for schools with foundation governors. 5. The 2014 Regulations The Regulations define and set out: The different categories of governor The principles in relation to the composition of school governing bodies. The ability to set criteria, with the agreement of the LA, for LA governor appointments who are appointed by the governing body following recommendation by the LA. The circumstances in which a person is qualified or disqualified from being a governor and the tenure of office. As a general rule governors can normally be removed by the persons that appointed them, subject, in some cases to following certain procedures. The content and form of the instrument of government. The procedure for making the new instrument of government which must be drafted by the governing body and submitted to the LA which is responsible for making (or approving) the instrument. Where a school has foundation governors the draft instrument must also be approved by the appropriate diocesan authority or Trust before being sent to the LA for making. Arrangements for the review of the instrument of government which may be reviewed by the governing body or LA at any time after it has been made. Each party must inform the other of any proposed variation. Outline arrangements for the election and appointment of parent governors and the election of staff governors. Arrangements for the removal of surplus governors where a governing body chooses to reconstitute under these Regulations. Appendix 1 to this briefing note outlines the new composition details for all categories of school. 4

5 6. Other issues related to these changes LA Governor Appointments As all governing bodies will only require one LA governor following reconstitution it has been agreed with the Cabinet Member (Education) that any vacancies arising prior to reconstitution will not be filled unless it is the only LA governor position in your current composition. Any current LA governor whose term of office is due to end before a governing body reconstitutes will be re-appointed in order that the governing body has choice as to the most appropriate governor to remain in the category. Criteria for LA Governor Appointments In preparation for these changes the Cabinet Member (Education) has agreed a revised set of criteria for all future LA governor recommendations for appointment. These are attached as Appendix 2. It is recommended that all governing bodies adopt the criteria, not just for LA governors, but for consideration for any vacancy that may arise. 7. Timescale The Regulations came into effect on 1 September 2014 and all governing bodies must comply by 1 September Further Information: General Enquiries Dave Wallis, Senior School Support Services Officer: Tel or Specific governing body issues The school s governing body clerk in the Governor Support Service. 5

6 APPENDIX 1 THE SCHOOL GOVERNANCE (CONSTITUTION) (ENGLAND) REGULATIONS 2012 (as amended by the 2014 Regulations) GOVERNING BODY COMPOSITION Type of School / Governor Maintained Community/ Community Special Primary / Secondary Voluntary Controlled Voluntary Aided Foundation (Trust) Elected Parents At least 2 At least 2 At least 2 At least 2 Elected Staff Headteacher Local Authority Co-opted Any* Any Any Any 0 At least 2 (no more than a Foundation quarter of total governors) *NB minimum number of governors must total 7 At least 7 (must outnumber all other governors by 2) At least 2 ( no more than 45% of total number of governors) Co-opted Governors CAN include parents, staff (no more than one third including other staff categories), elected members, others with appropriate skills and experience. 6

7 Criteria for LA (and other) governor appointments Essential Desirable 1. Be able to work as a member of a team. 2. Be conscientious and committed to attending meetings regularly. 3. Have good communication skills both written and oral. 4. Have an interest in and a desire to contribute to improving education outcomes in Coventry. 5. Have a willingness to be challenging, supportive and a critical friend to the school. 6. Be supportive of public services and of the role of the City Council in Education. APPENDIX 2 1. Have skills related to finance or accounting, recruitment, performance management, equality legislation, health and safety, interpreting data, leadership and management, quality assurance systems and monitoring and evaluating evidence to show impact. 2. Be forward thinking with the ability to plan strategically 3. Have an understanding of or experience in the local community 4. Be prepared to work with other schools and governing bodies DFE Guidance: The skills governing bodies need (taken from the Governors Handbook, May 2014) 15. The amended Regulations create an explicit requirement that all appointed governors have the skills required to contribute to effective governance and the success of the school. The specific skills that governing bodies need to meet their particular challenges will vary. It is therefore for governing bodies and other appointing persons to determine in their own opinion what these skills are and be satisfied that the governors they appoint have them. 16. Experience has shown, however, that all governors need a strong commitment to the role, the inquisitiveness to question and analyse, and the willingness to learn. They need good inter-personal skills, a basic level of literacy in English (unless a governing body is prepared to make special arrangements), and sufficient numeracy skills to understand basic data. 17. Experience also shows that effective governing bodies seek to secure or develop within their membership as a whole expertise and experience in analysing performance data, in budgeting and driving financial efficiency, and in performance management and employment issues, including grievances. They seek to recruit and/or develop governors with the skills to work constructively in committees, chair meetings and to lead the governing body. They set aside a budget to fund appropriate and necessary continuing professional development for their members. 7

8 Elected Members on Governing Bodies as LA Appointed Governors APPENDIX II School Affinity Federation (Willenhall and Whitmore Park) All Saints C of E Primary Baginton Fields Bishop Ullathorne Catholic Cardinal Newman Catholic Eastern Green Junior Finham Primary Foxford School & Comm College Frederick Bird Primary Grange Farm Primary Hollyfast Primary Holy Family Catholic Primary John Shelton Comm. Primary Limbrick Wood Primary Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary Spon Gate Primary Stoke Park School & Comm Tech Tile Hill Wood Schl & Lang Coll Whitley Abbey Primary Whoberley Hall Primary Name Cllr Dave Chater Cllr. K Taylor Cllr. Taylor Cllr Roger Bailey Cllr A Lucas Cllr J Lepoidevin Cllr. G Crookes Cllr Linda Bigham Cllr J O'Boyle Cllr T Sawdon Cllr David Kershaw Cllr A Lucas Cllr R Lancaster Cllr J Clifford Cllr Seamus Walsh Cllr D Gannon Cllr S S Bains Cllr Kevin Maton Cllr Mrs H Noonan Cllr Bally Singh Elected Members on Governing Bodies in other Governor Categories Hollyfast Primary Broad Heath Primary Blue Coat C of E Academy Grange Farm Primary Longford Park Primary Longford Park Primary Cllr S Thomas Cllr A S Khan Cllr D Kershaw Cllr J Blundell Cllr L Bigham Cllr G Duggins 8

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