Latest Updates

Here you can get information from EES for Schools Governor Services (Governance Support) on key changes in legislation and the latest DfE regulations, most of which affect both maintained schools and academies. There are also Ofsted revisions, Essex updates and good practice reports.

Spring Term Governors' Update Meeting

Free to governors whose schools subscribe to EES Governance Support, Governors' Update meetings are a great opportunity to network with local governors, explore local and national developments and share good practice.

The spring term Governors’ Update meeting included a comprehensive session on EYFS for governors led by Jon Griffiths, EYFS Adviser, to help governors get more up to speed with the expectations for early years education. We are finding that this currently has a raised profile with Ofsted. The Statutory Framework for the EYFS sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. Foundation Years website  has a wealth of useful information around early years which you may find useful.

Ofsted Update

Ofsted have published their March newsletter, which gives a useful update on information about their inspections, including clarification on inspecting exempt schools, the inspection of schools with a religious character, and what inspectors should look for in relation to careers provision in schools. Paragraph 17 of the School Inspection Handbook has been updated to clarify the position for inspecting exempt schools.

School Readiness and Transition to School

The Early Years team has developed a holistic approach to transition and school readiness in the form of the new Essex My Transition to School Passport (see Information Library - guidance and model policies) and accompanying poster Starting School to secure successful transition processes for the children that are due to start in Reception. Schools may already have approaches to transition that work well, as it is good practice to ensure continuity for children during periods of transition. The intention of the new materials is to complement what is already in place, or to offer something that can be used as a standalone model, or something to be developed further to personalise the experience for children in your own school.

Careers Strategy - Making the Most of Everyone's Talents

The Government published their new Careers Strategy in the autumn and in January published updated Statutory Guidance for governing bodies, school leaders and school staff: Careers guidance and access for education and training providers.

The guidance is primarily aimed at secondary schools and states that 'The governing body should provide clear advice and guidance to the headteacher on which he/she can base a strategy for careers education and guidance which meets the school's legal requirements, is developed in line with the Gatsby Benchmarks and informed by the requirements set out in this document. Every school should have a member of their governing body who takes a strategic interest in careers education and guidance and encourages employer engagement.' as well as a named careers leader with details of the careers programme published on the school's website.

The Governing body must also make sure that arrangements are in place to allow a range of education and training providers to access all pupils in years 8 - 13 to inform them about approved technical education qualifications and apprenticeships, and that a policy statement setting out these arrangements is published.

Changes to Free School Meals Eligibility

DfE has published its response to their consultation on changes to free school meals and early years pupil premium eligibility in light of the national roll out of universal credit.DfE guidance about free school meals and transitional protection arrangements for them under Universal Credit is now available together with a  model form that schools can use to determine eligibility for free school meals and the pupil premium

Outcome to Safeguarding Consultations

Following their consultation on proposed reforms on reporting and acting on child abuse and neglect, DfE have issued their response and have not implemented the proposal.

In the autumn, DfE consulted on its proposed revisions to statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children. The outcome has now been published. Updated guidance will be published in due course with a 12 month lead in time for local areas to develop their safeguarding arrangements, and an additional three months for full implementation of those arrangements.

EES for Schools is getting GDPR ready - are you?

To help schools prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force on 25 May 2018, DfE has released a video highlighting the main issues schools need to consider including the appointment of their DPO and a beta version of a data protection toolkit for schools, to support schools to manage data protection and implement the new data protection regulations.

Improving Outcomes for Children with Additional Needs

DfE has announced an externally led review of school exclusions which will look at why some children, especially those with SEN, children with autism or in care, are more likely to be excluded than others.Plans also include a £4 million fund to develop new ways to help children with additional needs move from alternative provision in to mainstream education or special schools and measures to drive up standards in alternative provision education settings.

Automatic Disqualification Rule Changes - Academies and MATs

The Charity Commission has recently announced changes to disqualification rules, affecting trustees as well as CEOs and CFO’s which take effect from 1 August 2018. See 'Information for Academy Governors' for more details.

New survey reveals half of school children aged 12-16 regularly worry about school

A survey by Barnados has found that half of school children between 12-16 feel sad or anxious at least once a week, with 75% believing it would be helpful to have a professional such as a counsellor at school to talk to when they’re upset. School is cited as the main source of stress, followed by worries about their future, problems at home, being bullied (not online) and their weight.  

Start of Trials for New Multiplication Tables Check

Year 4 pupils in around 290 primary schools will begin trialling the new on-screen multiplication tables check from March 2018. The five minute test is designed to help teachers identify pupils who need additional support, but it won't become compulsory for schools until 2019-20.

Retaining and Developing the Teaching Workforce Inquiry

Many schools, especially secondary schools, are struggling to recruit and retain teachers, with many saying workload pressures are the key reason staff are leaving. The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has released a report on teacher recruitment and retention with seven recommendations for the DfE. The first of these is that 'The Department should, by April 2018, set out and communicate a coherent plan for how it will support schools to retain and develop the teaching workforce'.

2018 is the Year of Engineering

A campaign has been launched to transform the way young people see engineering and inspire a new generation of world-class engineers. Although engineering is one of the most important sectors in the UK, a shortfall of 20,000 graduates each year is damaging growth.  There is also a worrying lack of diversity with a 91% male and 94% white workforce.How is your school helping to inspire a new generation of engineers?

School Kitchen Staff Feel Under-Valued and Under-Trained

Unison's survey of 1220 kitchen staff across the UK revealed that 46% of respondents felt that it was impossible to do their jobs within the allocated hours, with a third saying they had not received any training over the past year and 35% saying they felt excluded from the school as a whole.

Review of Governance

Effective governance is pivotal to school improvement and the continued success of the school. Since April 2013 over 120 governing boards have benefited from an EES for Schools Review of Governance (RoG). They have become an established tool to support proactive governing boards in their self-evaluation and as a health check in preparation for inspection.
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Frequently Asked Questions

The world of school governance is constantly changing. Please visit our FAQ page to view the questions we are most frequently asked. If you can't find the answer to your question, or wish to discuss in confidence, please contact the Governor Services team on 033301 39833 or email us.