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From building a school to governing a school – moving from being operational to being strategic PaJeS 4 th November 2014 Richard Tyndall NGA Consultant © NGA 2013 1 www.nga.org.uk
© NGA 2014 2 www.nga.org.uk Purpose of the session To develop our understanding of the governing body’s role in ensuring our vision becomes reality. We will cover: 1.The current context for governance 2.Specific responsibilities and freedoms 3.Being strategic 4.Monitoring the strategy
© NGA 2014 3 www.nga.org.uk 1. The current context for governance
© NGA 2014 4 www.nga.org.uk ‘without strong and effective governance, our schools simply won’t be as good as they can be’ HMCI
© NGA 2014 5 www.nga.org.uk January 2014 The ‘board of governors’ should operate at a strategic level, leaving the head teacher and senior school leaders responsible and accountable to it for the operational day-to-day running of the school. The board should avoid its time being consumed with issues of secondary importance, and focus strongly on three core functions: o Setting the vision and strategic direction of school o Holding the headteacher to account for its educational performance o Ensuring financial resources are well spent Departmental advice for school leaders and governing bodies of maintained schools and management committees of PRUs in England The DfE want all governing bodies to operate as non-executive boards
© NGA 2014 6 www.nga.org.uk Governance in the spotlight The great and the good are taking an interest especially since the ‘Trojan Horse’ enquiries A growing body of research confirming the importance of the role of the governing body and the importance of the chair The September 2012 Ofsted framework raised expectations …. the core responsibility of governing bodies is to ensure high standards More autonomy brings more responsibility and more risks More decision-making is being devolved e.g. academy conversion, performance related pay Limited resources require more efficiency We need to learn from other sectors Organisations with strong governance do not fail
© NGA 2014 7 www.nga.org.uk 1. Specific responsibilities
© NGA 2014 8 www.nga.org.uk Legal accountabilities Academies are: ‘Independent’ state schools answerable to the Secretary of State both by statute and the trust’s funding agreement Exempt charities with charitable trustees Companies limited by guarantee with directors of the company Governed by the academy trust, responsible for land and assets but usually with most duties delegated to a local governing body
© NGA 2014 9 www.nga.org.uk Governance and the governing body The trust delegates functions to the governing body The DfE describes the governing body’s key responsibilities as: –Ensuring the quality of education provision –Challenging and monitoring the academy’s performance –Managing the trust’s finances and property –Employing staff The trust and the governing body may be the same … but the trust must report its finances to a meeting of the members once a year
© NGA 2014 10 www.nga.org.uk Maintained school and academy responsibilities Like maintained schools, academies must comply with and/or have regard to: The admissions code Guidance on exclusions The SEN Code of Practice Information to be published on the school’s website (recent funding agreements only) Statutory policies as listed by the DfE
© NGA 2014 11 www.nga.org.uk Additional responsibilities As an academy you: Directly employ staff Have health and safety responsibilities Are the school’s admission authority Must ensure the school undergoes an annual external financial audit You will be responsible for some services (provided to maintained schools by the local authority) such as the assessment of free school meals eligibility, central staff costs (e.g. maternity cover, trade union cover, long term sickness), cost of terminating employment, pupil support (e.g. clothing grants), music services, monitoring of national curriculum assessments
© NGA 2014 12 www.nga.org.uk Governance in practice There are few requirements … the governing body should properly determine: An election process for the chair and vice chair Delegation to committees or individuals Committee terms of reference and review these annually Ensure public liability insurance is in place Declare conflicts of interest and keep a register of business interests Appoint a professional clerk Keep statutory policies and documents up to date
© NGA 2014 13 www.nga.org.uk Academy freedoms As an academy you are free: From local authority control To set your own pay and conditions for staff To set your own curriculum To change the length and time of terms and days To spend your budget as you see fit Many academies buy into a range of local authority services, adopt the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document, follow the national curriculum and continue to sync term times with other local schools.
© NGA 2014 14 www.nga.org.uk 3. Being strategic
© NGA 2014 15 www.nga.org.uk The language we use Vision Aims Mission Values Ethos Priorities Strategy / strategic plan School development plan Targets / key performance indicators (KPIs)
© NGA 2014 16 www.nga.org.uk Being strategic The GB determines the vision and ethos … and a strategy for achieving this The vision and ethos describe the sort of school we want to be in three to five years time GBs do this by: Setting goals or aims and agreeing the school’s development priorities For each priority setting targets or KPIs for the short and longer term Structuring most of the GB business towards monitoring progress against these At the end of the year, formally reviewing and evaluating the strategy
© NGA 2014 17 www.nga.org.uk The school’s vision The vision should: Describe what your school will look like in three to five years’ time –What the children will have left the school having learned –How the children are prepared for the next stage of their education What is measured What is valued Take account of stakeholder views Be developed by the school Be agreed and owned by the GB
© NGA 2014 18 www.nga.org.uk Discussion Look at the handout Some visions Do these constitute a vision statements?
© NGA 2014 19 www.nga.org.uk 3. Achieving the vision In order to achieve the vision, it is necessary to identify: Where the school is now (through self evaluation) Where you want the school to be (the vision) and How the school will get there (by determining the priorities to be pursued and targets to be achieved) which is the … Strategy!
© NGA 2014 20 www.nga.org.uk Question What should a strategy document look like? As a table or a plan? 1 or 3 or 10 or more pages? Is it the same as the school development plan?
© NGA 2014 21 www.nga.org.uk The strategy document Your vision Priorities for improvement Targets for each priority Measurable milestones (termly?) Monitoring arrangements (max three pages?)
© NGA 2014 22 www.nga.org.uk The key priorities –Need to be high level … so a maximum of about 6 –Must be SMART: specific / measurable / agreed / realistic / timebound –Should not just be hard nosed: value what you measure and measure what you value –Should include one for quality of teaching –Must be broken down into measurable milestones (at least termly)
© NGA 2014 23 www.nga.org.uk Who does what We’re always being told to stay strategic and not to involved in the operational. What does this mean in practice?
© NGA 2014 24 www.nga.org.uk Senior staffGB/board Strategy origination Strategy approval Monitoring Review and amendment Framework for strategy development Source: Caroline Copeman, 2011 Strategy implementation
© NGA 2014 25 www.nga.org.uk Staying strategic Distinguish when you are governing and when you are volunteering in another capacity Use your time to best effect - on the key school priorities, not just compliance and ‘policies’ … differentiate ‘principle’ from ‘procedures’ Ensure the school improvement plan has a limited number of high level targets / KPIs with measurable milestones against which the GB can monitor progress Check that school leaders are equipped to do their jobs (including HR, procurement, health and safety) to avoid operational support from governors Do not do someone else’s job: see the joint statement with ASCL and NAHT: “What governing bodies should expect from school leaders and what school leaders should expect from governing bodies”
© NGA 2014 26 www.nga.org.uk 4. Monitoring the strategy The GB needs to decide: What is monitored … and by whom How often to monitor What will be monitored What evidence will be required to back judgments How this will be reported Key documents: Strategy framework which includes the vision / school aims / key priorities / KPIs or targets for each School development plan HT reports on progress being made
© NGA 2014 27 www.nga.org.uk The headteacher’s report - strategy (Governors) should check on progress and review regularly their strategic framework for the school in the light of that progress (Governors’ Handbook) GBs need information and updates on how the strategy is being implemented and that the expected progress is being made. The HT should report on: Progress towards achieving KPIs / targets Reasons for targets not being met as expected - with particular reference to budget allocation and staffing structures and specific initiatives Actions taken to address issues raised Adjustments to the strategy necessary for targets to be met The HT should provide evidence (data) for progress towards and achievement of targets
© NGA 2014 28 www.nga.org.uk Visiting the school Is the purpose of school visits clear? –In order to get to know the school and / or –To monitor the strategy Is there a policy and protocols which have been agreed and shared with staff? How do governors report on visits? © NGA 2013 28 www.nga.org.uk
© NGA 2014 29 www.nga.org.uk Governance making an impact Set the vision and ethos, including what the children should leave the school having learned Stay strategic and focused on improvement priorities: leave the operational to school leaders, and delegate Don’t get overwhelmed by compliance and reviewing policies: focus on principles, delegating procedures Recruit good school leaders (a future challenge) … and trust them to recruit good staff Ensure school leaders are equipped to do their jobs, including HR, procurement, legal advice, and CPD
© NGA 2014 30 www.nga.org.uk Reviewing the session The session has covered … 1.The current context for governance 2.Specific responsibilities and freedoms 3.Being strategic 4.Monitoring the strategy Any questions?
© NGA 2013 31 www.nga.org.uk email@example.com www.nga.org.uk firstname.lastname@example.org 0121 237 3780 © NGA 2013 31 www.nga.org.uk
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