Updates, News & Resources
DfE Governance Handbook - March 2019
The DfE have updated the Governance Handbook which provides guidance on the roles and duties of governing and trust boards for maintained schools, academies and multi-academy trusts. The Governance Handbook explains:
- the boards’ core roles and functions;
- summarises and provides a first point of reference on all the legal duties on boards, signposting to more detailed information, guidance and resources;
- providing information on the support available for boards to be effective;
- the main features of effective governance.
Copies of the Governance Handbook may be downloaded directly from the DfE website via the following LINK
DfE Guidance on Supporting Governors and Trustees to Reduce Workloads
The Department for Education has published materials and guidance to help boards and trustees support workload reduction in their school(s) and for themselves. The materials are intended to help governing boards and trustees:
- support workload reduction in their school(s)
- review and streamline their own practice to reduce their workload
A three-stage guide to ‘Reducing workload in your school’ explains how to use the workload reduction toolkit and related materials.
The materials can be downloaded via the DfE website using the following LINK
DfE Best Practice Guidance for School Complaints 2019
The Department for Education has published its awaited revised best practice guidance for school complaints.
All maintained schools and maintained nursery schools must have and publish procedures to deal with all complaints relating to their school and to any community facilities or services that the school provides, for which there are no separate statutory procedures.
The duty to establish procedures for dealing with complaints lies with the governing body and the Department has produced the guidance to share and encourage best practice and to help schools avoid common pitfalls.
The Department has also published a model policy, in addition to the serial complaints policy, which can be tailored to the school should the board choose to adopt.
The Governance Services Team will provide further guidance through the Clerking and Support Service. Copies of the best practice guidance and model policies can be downloaded via the DfE website using the following LINK
** Update **
The Primary Head Teacher Policy, Planning and Resources Group met on 1 March 2019 and noted the following recommendations:
- Members agreed that the DfE model complaints and managing serial and unreasonable complaints policies were useful in their current format and that the timeframes as included within the current LA model policy be recommended.
- It was also agreed that further right of response be offered following the outcome of stage 1, rather than just progression to stage 2. For example, the complainant may have additional queries of the Head Teacher that can be resolved at that stage. However, this should not prevent the complainant from progressing to stage 2 if they wish.
Complainants should be given the opportunity to complete the complaints procedure in full, unless the school possess clear evidence that the complaint meets the serial and unreasonable complaint criteria.
The duty to establish procedures for dealing with complaints lies with the governing board. If the board chooses to adopt DfE model policies, they should be tailored to their school.
Elected Governor Guidelines 2019
The Local Authority is the appropriate authority for maintained community, community special and voluntary controlled schools and as such must make all necessary arrangements for the election process for parent and staff governors. These arrangements are detailed within the Bolton Elected Governor Guidelines. Maintained voluntary aided schools and non-maintained schools, including academies and free schools, are free to determine their own procedures; however, many choose to follow and adapt the local authority model.
The guidelines have been recently updated to provide current guidance related to the definition of ‘parental responsibility’ in line with DfE guidance and other minor amendments regarding pre-appointment procedures and updated wording. Model letters and ballot forms are also included to provide further assistance to schools and ensure processes are managed effectively.
A copy of the revised guidance may be downloaded below. Word version templates of the model letters and forms may be downloaded via the Elections and Appointments page.
Governance Services - Privacy Notice
Bolton Council has core data protection obligations and commitments which are set out in the council’s primary privacy notice at www.bolton.gov.uk. The Governance Services Team has a separate notice which provides additional privacy information for people accessing Governance Services and partners working with Bolton Council.
It describes how we collect, use and share personal information about our governors, trustees and leaders in relation to Governance Services and the types of personal information we need to process. The information we hold will vary dependent on the services used and relate to matters of school or academy governance only, for example, providing clerking and training services, booking on training and development sessions and applying to become a school governor.
It is important that you read this notice, together with any other privacy information we may provide on specific occasions when we are collecting or processing personal information about you, so that you are aware of how and why we are using such information.
Throughout the spring term, we will request all service users to complete an eligibility and privacy consent form. This will ensure that the information we hold is correct and up to date.
If you have any specific questions relating to the privacy notice, please contact John Ashworth, Governance Services Manager via email at email@example.com or via telephone on 01204 338603.
A copy of the privacy notice may be downloaded below.
Section 128 Check Guidance
Further to the Keeping Children Safe in Education update in August 2018, a further revision took place in September which gave an additional recommendation for maintained school to undertake a section 128 check for their governors. Academies, Free schools and independent schools are already required to undertake this check as detailed in the Academies Financial Handbook.
A section 128 direction prohibits or restricts a person from taking part in the management of an independent school, including academies and free schools.
All maintained governors, academy members, trustees and local governors that do not have unsupervised contact with children and young people, continue to be required to undertake an enhanced DBS check on appointment. Those that conduct regulated activity, that is they may have unsupervised contact with children, must have an additional barred list check.
Further guidance about the section 128 check and extracts from the Keeping Children Safe in Education Guidance is enclosed within the report which may be downloaded below.
Pupil Absence in Bolton Schools (Autumn Term 2017 and Spring Term 2018 Combined)
The Early Intervention Team have provided a briefing detailing a summary of the Bolton, England and statistical neighbour pupil absence in state funded primary and secondary schools during the autumn term 2017 and spring term 2018.
The information is taken from the National statistics release published by the Department for
Education in October 2018. The Department for Education uses two key measures to monitor pupil absence – overall and persistent absence. Final absence statistics relating to the full 2017/18 school year are intended for publication in March 2019.
The briefing may be downloaded below. For further information please contact Steve Berryman, Service Manager, Early Intervention Service on 01204 334202 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Development of Bolton’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements
In 2015 the government commissioned a national review of the effectiveness of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs)
The review recommended replacing the existing arrangements for LSCB’s with a new, more effective statutory framework that sets out the strategic multi-agency arrangements for safeguarding. There is a national requirement that all arrangements have to be in place and operational by September 2019.
A copy of the briefing note that sets out the context and plans to support Bolton Safeguarding Children Board’s transition to Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements, may be downloaded below.
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.