GCC Governor Services
Governor Services provides support, advice and guidance to ensure that governing boards have the information to proceed with care and diligence, confident that they are supporting their schools and meeting their responsibilities.
Please continue to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also ring us during office hours on 01452 427803 or 01452 427802.
Keep up to date with the latest information via our regular bulletins in What's Up Gov at https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/schoolsnet/governors/whats-up-gov
Headteacher’s Performance Management and Appraisal, 2021/22
At the start of the new academic year, governing boards will be making arrangements to undertake their headteachers’ appraisal. Given 2020-21 was, again, disrupted by lockdowns, etc. governors should note that whilst there has been no new guidance from the DfE, their advice from last year (when reviewing progress to the previous year’s objectives), should still be followed:
The DfE “expect schools to use their discretion and take pragmatic steps, to adapt performance management and appraisal arrangements to take account of the current circumstances”, and they stated “schools must ensure that teachers are not penalised during the appraisal process or in respect of any subsequent pay progression decisions as a result of partial school closures, where this has impacted on the ability of the teacher to meet fully their objectives”.
And, as a reminder, in the DfE’s Coronavirus school and college accountability guidance, it states “Schools and colleges should not use the 2020 or 2021 results data as part of their teacher performance management process.”
In addition, the National Governors Association (NGA), have advised their appraisal guidance will not be updated this year, as it remains accurate and relevant. And they tell us their advice remains the same “that annual appraisals should be flexible and pragmatic next term, taking into account the unique circumstances and context faced by all schools, rather than simply rigidly sticking to a handful of objectives.”
Under the Education (School Teachers’ Appraisal) (England) Regulations 2012, governing boards have a statutory duty to appoint an external adviser for advice and support on the headteacher’s appraisal. Officers from the LA’s Education, Outcomes and Intervention team are available to act as this external adviser. The External Adviser provides impartial, professional support for the process of headteacher’s appraisal, attends the meeting during which governors review progress to the previous year’s objectives and agree new objectives for the coming year, and prepares the written appraisal report. This service can be purchased as a traded service from GCC+ (link here).
In addition, governor training for those governors involved in the headteacher’s performance management and appraisal is recommended for all governors but especially those on the panel. Forthcoming dates are: 30 September (9.30-11.00 am), 11 October (7.00-8.30 pm) and 22 November (7.00-8.30 pm). The training will be delivered online and can be booked here : www.businesssupportservices.org
Important news and communications from the Department for Education (DfE) relating to governance in maintained schools and academy trusts in England.
Governing and trust boards meetings and visits into schools - April 2021
Governing and trust boards should continue to take a pragmatic approach to their meetings. In line with national restrictions, and guidance on social distancing, boards should continue with their alternative meeting arrangements where possible but could consider whether a blended approach of face-to-face and virtual meetings would be appropriate if needed.
Chairs should respond flexibly to the personal circumstances of board members and their clerk/governance professionals, having open conversations about how they wish to join meetings.
Our guidance about governors or trustees going into schools has not changed. This can still happen, if considered essential. Schools will need to consider their own risk assessments and how they will protect the health and safety of any visitors, alongside staff and pupils, in line with our guidance, including on face coverings. Where visits can happen safely outside of school hours, they should. A record should be kept of all visitors with sufficient detail to support rapid contact tracing if required by NHS Test and Trace
Training for Governing Boards
Governor Services is releasing an enhanced package of training and development opportunities for clerks and governors. This includes bite-size clips which introduce you to being a governor in Gloucestershire, the purpose of governance and the role of different categories of governor.
Governors will have the opportunity to find out more about EYFS, Looked After Children, Health and Safety, Succession Planning, School Websites, Well-Being and School Complaints, alongside our current extensive training programme.
Chairs Briefings are now being added to the event schedule – an opportunity to keep up to date and to share good practice.
These notes have been compiled by the LA's Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) team to assist schools’ understanding of the question of liability under the current situation and to assuage concerns that have arisen.
Recruitment: Changes to DBS ID checking guidelines (DfE)
Temporary changes to ID checking guidelines as part of recruitment processes are being made as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
COVID-19: Changes to DBS ID checking guidelines (Published 24.05.20)
DfE: Handling complaints during the coronavirus (COVID-19 outbreak)
Information has been added to the best practice guidance about handling complaints during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. ‘The DfE does not expect schools to handle new or existing complaints while they are closed. Schools should, however, still engage with parents and pupils where they can. Complaints can be considered once the government confirms schools can safely reopen.’
School complaints procedures: guidance for schools
Governance - FAQs
Can quorum be suspended during this period?
From a procedural standpoint, it is not possible to agree to hold an inquorate meeting. The regulations are clear that meetings need to be quorate to be valid. Decisions made via email are also invalid.
Nonetheless, we do understand that these are unique times, and as such schools can be justified in taking a reasoned, pragmatic approach. This means following the regulations where possible, but if you cannot then it is important to minute any departures, and explain why the board chose to take those particular steps.
How can the LA Governor Services team support governing boards?
Governor Services can help in an advisory role by supporting governors to have the best arrangements in place. This could be by helping boards
consider what they should be delegating during this period. Governor Services could also be a ‘sounding board’ for any actions the board may need to take. For example, if the board needs to deviate from the regulations Governor Services could help them ensure the rationale is solid and all potential options have been considered.