Updates, News & Resources
ESFA Understanding Your Data Guidance
The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has published a guide for governing and trust boards on understanding data. The guide sets out the information boards may consider whilst undertaking their core functions of setting the right strategic direction for the school or trust, holding school leaders to account for educational performance and ensuring financial probity.
The guidance will help the board to understand the issues and challenge leaders to understand and contribute towards school improvement.
Academies Financial Handbook - 2018
The Academies Financial Handbook has been updated to come into effect from 3 September 2018. The revised handbook contains a number of updates which Academy and Multi-Academy Trust Boards need to be aware of.
Key updates include:
- An overview of the Secretary of State’s role with regard to removing trustees and members.
- Regularity of trust board meetings in order to discharge duties effectively.
- Provision of management accounts to be shared with the trust chair each month.
- Further emphasis on executive pay – to ensure a transparent, proportionate and justifiable process in relation to setting pay.
- Trusts must now report all Related Party Transactions to the ESFA ahead of the actual transaction taking place from April 2019, and must await the ESFA’s approval for transactions over £20k.
Revised Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance - 2018
From 3 September 2018, the Department for Education have published a revised edition of Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance.
The guidance outlines what schools must take into account to safeguard and promote children’s welfare. This document is statutory guidance that schools, governing and trust boards must follow and is essential for ensuring that safeguarding arrangements are compliant with the law.
Safer Recrtuiment - Disqualification Orders
The School HR Team have provided a summary of the changes related to safer recrtuiment, specifically Disqualification Orders, which may be downloaded below.
Understanding and Dealing with Issues Relating to Parental Responsibility
Schools are required by law to engage with pupils’ parents in a number of different ways. They can find themselves caught up in disputes between a number of adults, each claiming to have parental responsibility for a particular child. Schools are also expected to navigate complex living arrangements, particularly for children who are living in social care, where parental responsibility can be confusing or unclear. The Department for Education have produced guidance to help schools understand their obligations and duties in relation to the rights and responsibilities of parents, as recognised by education law.
Schools must not restrict eligibility to nominate, vote or otherwise participate in parent governor elections, to parents holding parental responsibility. Under the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012, ‘parent’ includes not just those with parental responsibility but biological parents and anyone who cares for a child. The Bolton LA Elected Governor Guidance will be revised in response to this updated guidance.
Penalty Notices for Irregular Attendance
From September 2018, the criteria for issuing a penalty notice in Bolton will be reduced and a fine will be considered where a pupil has had 10 sessions (equivalent of five days – consecutive or otherwise) of unauthorised absence over the period of two consecutive half terms.
This change has been introduced because of:
- Requests from Bolton Head Teachers to strengthen sanctions for unnecessary absence from school.
- Increasing numbers of pupils who are classed as persistently absent.
- An increase in the amount of absence due to family holidays in term time.
In the autumn term 2017 the Bolton Early interventions Team carried out consultation with schools and results were unanimous in favour of reducing the current trigger of 20 sessions (10 days). Political approval has been granted to revise the code of conduct and Bolton has brought it in line with the codes of the majority of other local authorities around the country.
A copy of the letter sent to all Bolton Head Teachers may be downloaded below.
General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to all organisations that process personal data, including schools and academies, from 25 May 2018. This replaces the Data Protection Act.
Governors and trustees should have an awareness of the changes and ensure that their schools are compliant with the new regulation as the governing and trust board are ultimately responsible for this. Whilst the general concept and principles of the Data Protection Act will remain the same, there are new obligations for organisations including stricter sanctions and further rights for individuals.
Further Information may be downloaded below.
Governor and Trustee Recruitment
In a bid to generate interest in the vacant governor potions in Bolton, the Governance Services Team have provided a flyer which provides information about the role and the support available for new governors. Please feel free to downloaded, print and provide these to prospective governors in your local community (print PDF to 'actual size'). Paper copies may be provided on request from your clerk to governors.
If you are experiencing difficulties in recruiting to vacant positions, as well as accessing support through the Governance Services Team, the following external providers may be able to assist :
Governors for School (SGOSS): www.governorsforschools.org.uk
Inspiring Governance: www.inspiringgovernance.org
Academy Ambassadors www.academyambassadors.org
Leadership Development Programme
Bolton Governance Services in partnership with the National Governance Association has been contracted to deliver the Leadership Development Programme for Governors.
This Leadership Development programme is funded by the Department for Education and provides Chairs, Vice Chairs, Committee Chairs and future Chairs opportunities for developing leadership skills. The programme offers a blend of flexible learning and takes three terms to complete.
Funding from the DfE is available making this training completely free for a limited period. The usual cost would be £500.
Further details may be downloaded below.
Unfortunately the current cohort is now full. Please contact Marie Foley on 01204 332116 to register your interest for the next cohort.
Staffing and Employment Advice to Schools
The Department for Education has recently published new staffing and employment advice to schools. This guidance is relevant to school leaders, governing bodies, academy trusts and local authorities.
This advice is designed to help employers in all schools with staffing and employment issues, and to inform their decision making. It advises on matters contained within the School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009 for maintained schools and for independent schools, which include academies and free schools, the Education (Independent School Standards)
It draws attention to relevant legislation and sources of up-to-date guidance and advice that employers need to consider, some of which may be statutory guidance.
Careers Guidance and Access for Education and Training Providers
The Department for Education has recently published the ‘Careers Guidance and Access for Education and Training Provider’. The statutory guidance which is for governing boards, school leaders and staff, reflects policy changes announced in the Government’s careers strategy published on 4 December 2017.
The Bolton Connexions Service have summarised the key points from the guidance and a copy of the summary may be downloaded below.