Governor Support - Latest notices and COVID-19 updates

In recognition of the frequent changes within the education world, governors can find regular up-to-date information on the Department for Education (DfE), National Governance Association (NGA) and Cumbria County Council (CCC) websites.

We would like to draw your attention to some useful information and reminders:

Appraisal procedures: Following engagement with Trades Unions Cumbria County Council (CCC) have produced an updated appraisal procedure for school based teachers and centrally employed staff. All LA maintained schools must use this procedure. Other schools are welcome to use it if they wish.

Important note on pay scale progression

Given the impact that school closures will have on some teachers meeting their targets, as well as the substantial and sustained contribution teachers have made on the continuing education of the children of Cumbria throughout the summer term, unless there were written concerns relating to their performance prior to March 2020, then all teachers will progress up the pay scale and receive their appropriate increment. This is in line with Cumbria County Council's pledge of no detriment due to COVID-19.

Estate management guidance: Department for Education (DfE) has updated guidance on good estate management. It now includes an easy to read list of the benefits of good estate management, as well as an updated section, which serves as a checklist that governing boards can use to make sure that land and buildings are managed effectively and efficiently.

New study on online tutoring for disadvantaged pupils: A new study released by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) this week explores the role of online tutoring as a "powerful tool" in helping disadvantaged pupils during school closures. The research found many positives to online learning with children enjoying the one-on-one support that they receive through tutoring, not fearing judgement from their peers as well having time and space to learning at their own speed.

The study sits alongside EEF's Teaching and Learning Toolkit, which provides a summary of educational research, including  how "high-quality tutoring can deliver approximately five months of progress on average".   

Headteachers' standards: Department for Education (DfE) has published new headteacher standards to replace the National Standards of Excellence for Headteachers 2015. 

Cumbria County Council support for children with SEND in Early years: CCC have produced guidance which outlines the provision to support children with Special Education Needs or Disability (SEND) in Early years.

Governance Handbook Updated: Department for Education (DfE) has released the updated governance handbook.

Governance structures and roles: DfE has released a useful document to provide key information about the governance roles and responsibilities in maintained school governance. 

Being Strategic: a guide for governing boards and school leaders: National Governance Association (NGA), the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) have jointly developed a guide to Being Strategic. 

School and trust governance investigative report: DfE has released a research report on school and trust governance, from a survey of 1,207 schools, academies and trusts, and 30 interviews with individuals.

Equality within educational settings: NGA (National Governance Association) has recently highlighted that research finds a third of pupils have witnessed racism at school. 

A commitment to equality should extend beyond legal obligation, as such, governing boards need to ensure that all governors understand how they can encourage equality and inclusion through their functions and duties.  

School attendance: The DfE checklist for school leaders on behaviour and attendance may assist school leaders. As governors continue to support schools in ensuring attendance expectations are met, boards are being encouraged to continue monitoring attendance and other issues following full school openings. 

What maintained schools must publish online: DfE has updated the information that schools maintained by their local authorities must publish on their websites. Schools must now publish specified financial information. 

Data protection: privacy notice model documents: DfE has updated suggested privacy notices for schools and local authorities to issue to staff, parents and pupils about the collection of data.

Introduction of T Levels:  DfE has released more information about the new T Level study programmes. 

Teachers' pay grant methodology: DfE has released guidance for schools and local authorities on the teachers' pay grant.

School exclusion: DfE has updated statutory guidance on the exclusion of pupils from local authority maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units. The school exclusion process includes clarification on the conditions for virtual governing boards and review panels and procedural guidance on virtual meetings. 

Early years foundation stage statutory framework (EYFS): DfE has updated guidance to reflect new regulations which allow temporary coronavirus (COVID-19) disapplications to re-apply if a provider is prevented from complying with the EYFS due to coronavirus (COVID-19) related restrictions or requirements. 

NEET (not in education, employment and training) and participation:  statistics around 'Participation in education, training and employment: 2019' have been published.  

Changes to the School Admissions Code:  DfE are seeking views on a revised version of the School Admissions Code to support vulnerable children.  The consultation will close on 16 October 2020. 

In addition, the DfE has updated guidance on the admission of summer-born children in schools which provides advice and information about requests to delay the admission of summer born children to reception: Summer-born children: school admission.

The prime minister announces transformative school rebuilding programme, which sets out a ten-year rebuilding programme for schools across England. In addition the Secretary for state for education has announced Funding allocated for 580 building projects at academies, sixth form colleges and voluntary aided schools in England.  

Relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education:  RSE curriculum will be compulsory from September 2020.  Schools should start teaching from that date if they meet the statutory requirements. If they are not ready, or are unable to meet the requirements, they should begin teaching by at least the start of the summer term 2021.  

The NGA is providing DfE funded CPD for boards and clerks.  Due to Covid-19 all workshops will be delivered via online classrooms. Groups/cohorts will be kept small to ensure to replicate as much as possible the face-to-face environment.  The Leading Governance programme consist of:

  • Development for Chairs: up to two places per governing board, worth £500 each, for aspiring chairs and/or those who currently chair, to develop their leadership skills.
  • Development for Clerks: £350 worth of funding from the DfE (additional payment of £99 required per participant) and access a nine-month programme resulting in a fully accredited Level 3 qualification.
  • Development for Boards: work with an NGA consultant on an area of whole-board development or choose a whole-governing board training workshop delivered by an NGA consultant. Available for all boards who govern more than one school; MATs; federated boards of both academies and maintained schools; and governing boards of single maintained schools in specified opportunity areas (Allerdale and Eden) currently rated by Ofsted as RI. The programme includes a fully funded place on the Development for chairs programme. It can be fully funded by the DfE, with up to £2,500 of funding available per eligible trust or board.

To discuss further or apply for a funded place call 0121 237 3780 option 4 or visit the NGA website

Reception Baseline Assessment:  In response to the 2017 primary assessment consultation, the government announced plans to introduce a statutory reception baseline assessment (RBA) in autumn 2020.  Due to the challenging circumstances faced by schools in the context of the covid-19 pandemic, statutory introduction of the RBA has been postponed to Autumn 2021.  Instead, schools have the opportunity to sign up to the RBA Early Adopter year.   

School uniform guidance:  Non-statutory guidance from the DfE relating to best practice on developing school uniform policy.  There is no legislation in place that deals specifically with school uniform or other aspects of appearance, but DfE do expect schools to take full account of the guidance.

PE and sport premium for primary schools:  Department for Education (DfE) has updated details for the 2020 to 2021 academic year, including condition of grant. Updated sections relating to coronavirus (COVID-19), accountability and how to use funding.

The School Teachers' Pay and Conditions document (STPCD): DfE has been published the latest STPCD and confirms the new teacher and school leadership pay rates for 2020-21.

Summary of financial support for schools: Cumbria County Council (CCC) have produced a summary of COVID-19 financial support opportunities available to schools.

October budget submissions: Due to uncertainty around costs associated with COVID-19, CCC have asked that all schools submit revised 3 year budget plans (deadline 31 October). 

Teachers' pay grant methodology: DfE has released guidance for schools and local authorities on the teachers' pay grant. 

Service pupil premium (SPP): information for schools: DfE has updated information regarding how much Service pupil premium (SPP) funding schools get, and details of which children attract the funding.  

Pupil Premium: The new rates for each type of pupil premium can be found on the DfE website.   

The National Funding Formula guide contains details of funding allocations to mainstream, state-funded schools in England. 

The consultation on Financial transparency of local authority (LA) maintained schools and academy trusts ran from 17 July to 30 September 2019.  It sought the views of LAs, maintained schools and other interested organisations or individuals.  

The consultation outlined the current financial transparency arrangements for maintained schools and academy trusts, and put forward a number of proposed changes. As the current transparency measures used in academies are generally stronger than those in the maintained school sector, the consultation focused on using or adapting existing academy measures to help change and improve maintained schools' financial transparency and financial health.    

Teachers set for biggest pay rise in fifteen years, the Education Secretary accepts all recommendations to award teachers the largest pay increase in a generation.  

Safeguarding and remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19): DfE has updated guidance for educational settings to support pupils' remote education during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

The government has released their updated guidance for safeguarding in schools, Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020 (KCSIE). 

Multi-agency statutory guidance on female genital mutilation: the government have produced Multi-agency guidelines on FGM for those with statutory duties to safeguard children and vulnerable adults.   

Operation Encompass - sharing data to protect children:  CCC and the Police Crime Commissioner have agreed a joint funding package for Operation Encompass for the next three academic years - September 2020 until July 2023.  Education settings are being asked to: 

  • Ensure that there is a nominated DSL or equivalent at your establishment and send contact details of the DSL to: Operation.encompass@cumbria.police.uk 
  • Nominate relevant staff to take part in Operation Encompass training sessions in September.

Governance has never been more critical, and governors and trustees have continued to provide support and strategic challenge within their schools and trusts.

In recognition of the frequent changes within the education world, governors and trustees can find regular up-to-date information from various sources: 

The Local Authority (LA) continue to circulate communications via email, to leaders in schools.  These updates contain up-to-date information for schools and early years setting, some of which may also be useful to school governors and trustees.  All Covid-19 Schools updates can be viewed on the Cumbria County Council (CCC) website. 

The National Governance Association (NGA) latest COVID-19 information and guidance for governors, trustees and clerks provides a wealth of information.

The Department for Education (DfE) continue to regularly update guidance for educational settings. The actions for school during the coronavirus outbreak page is a useful resource which is kept up to date with information for schools and academy trusts over this period. In addition, the information and guidance contained within school governance updates highlights recent updates for the attention of all governors and trustees. 

We hope the information and links above will provide support during this time, however, If you have further queries please contact: gst@cumbria.gov.uk.

For your information, when schools were closed earlier this year, governance still needed to continue and the Governor Support Team provided support and advice as usual.  Additionally we provided a number of Information Sheets in relation to Covid-19, which can be found below: