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JULY 2011 / ISSUE 71

EDUCATION EXECUTIVE JULY 2011 / ISSUE 71

EDUCATION EXECUTIVE supporting business and financial excellence in schools and colleges

CAREER SERVICES  SUMMER SCHOOLS  PRIMARY ACADEMIES

LACK OF GUIDANCE

Are we heading towards a career guidance meltdown?

SUMMER LOVIN’

Make the most out of your empty school WWW.EDEXEC.CO.UK

DON’T BE SCARED

We find out what’s putting primary schools off becoming academies

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editor’s letter

EDUCATION EXECUTIVE

JULY 2011

www.edexec.co.uk

Education Executive is the first business management magazine written exclusively for school business managers and bursars, bringing you the latest issues affecting your role, from finance to premises, procurement to HR. EdExec delivers the lowdown on all the hottest topics in education management right here, every month.

EDITOR julia dennison julia.dennison@intelligentmedia.co.uk DEPUTY EDITOR matthew jane matthew.jane@intelligentmedia.co.uk SUB EDITOR allie anderson allie.anderson@intelligentmedia.co.uk PUBLISHER vicki baloch vicki.baloch@intelligentmedia.co.uk SALES EXECUTIVE francis maitland francis.maitland@intelligentmedia.co.uk DIGITAL MANAGER dan price dan.price@intelligentmedia.co.uk DESIGNER sarah chivers sarah.chivers@intelligentmedia.co.uk PRODUCTION/CIRCULATIONS natalia johnston natalia.johnston@intelligentmedia.co.uk

Education Executive is published by intelligent media solutions suite 223, business design centre 52 upper street, london, N1 0QH tel 020 7288 6833 fax 020 7288 6834 email info@intelligentmedia.co.uk web www.intelligentmedia.co.uk

Be prepared

A

s we go to press, schools are facing a very real and difficult decision: will they stay open on 30 June – D-day for national teacher strike action? While it’s easy to be sympathetic to the teachers’ cause, school business managers and headteachers will have to choose to close their schools, keep them open on reduced staff or look elsewhere for cover – the latter inevitably incurring disapproval from the teaching unions. By the time you read this, the decisions will have come and gone and schools will have survived. However, more industrial unrest threatens in the autumn, so it’s a good opportunity to learn from this summer’s experience to ensure you’re prepared for next time. To help, we bring you top tips on what to do in a strike (on page 36). Besides preparing for further strikes, there is more a school needs to do to ready itself for the new academic year. If this issue takes any theme, it’s about learning from experiences and making 2011/12 the best year it can be. Our diary this month (page 14) features columnist Maria Morris, who looks back on year one of being an academy – congratulating herself for her achievements and also making note of what she would have done differently with hindsight. On page 32 we take a look at what you can do with an empty school. From leasing space to summer camps and investing in solar panelling to feed electricity back into to the grid, there’s plenty you can do to make the most of the empty space during the holidays. We’ve soon learned that an empty school is a missed opportunity for a fundraising top-up. Lastly, another topic we address is the changing face of careers services in schools (page 26). To sum up: as with many things, this is an area in which schools will have to learn to fend for themselves as local authority support is increasingly depleted in favour of autonomy on the ground. It’s the coalition government’s stance right the way through and careers will be another area schools will have to find more budget to cover. As some of you may remember, EdExec doesn’t have an August edition (we’re following you lot to the beach), so watch this space for a stellar September issue, brought to you alongside another addition of Independent Squared, our magazine aimed at independently-thinking independent school leaders. See you in September!

Follow Education Executive on Twitter at Twitter.com/edexec Printed in the UK by Buxton Press www.buxtonpress.co.uk

EDITOR


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Contents

16

36

22

sector

rocure

lan

the lowdown on the business management world

make your school’s budget go further

06 Sector news

30 Case study

The latest school business management news

08 Event review

ASCL Business Management Conference This year’s event focused on achieving more for less

32 Fundraising

10 Reader survey

Budget cuts 2011 We survey EdExec readers to find out how hard they’ve been hit

14 Diary

Academy: one year on Maria Morris looks back at a year of transformation

16 Interview

Cash rich North Liverpool Academy has a sound business model

Global strategy West Kirby Residential School reaches out to the world Summer lovin’ How to make the most of an empty school

management

tune up your management skills

34 Legal

What mess have I got myself into? The changing face of school governors under academies

36 Top 10 tips

schools in focus

what’s happening at a primary or secondary school near you PRIMARY update 20 Primary school news and views

What to do in a strike Prepare your school for a season of walk-outs

40 WORK/LIFE

Break time Put your feet up and take your break right here

22 Why so scared?

We find out what’s putting primary schools off becoming academies

SECONDARY update 24 Secondary school news and views

26 Lack of guidance

Could the education bill cause a career guidance meltdown?

For the latest news and views check out

www.edexec.co.uk

Turn to the back for July’s edition of ICT Matters


06

sector Sector news is brought to you by Free banking for all state funded schools and academies supported by local specialist relationship managers Lloyds TSB – well education banking

STRIKE WATCH SCHOOL LEADERS MOVE CLOSER TO STRIKE ACTION

STORY OF THE MONTH BUSINESS MANAGERS FURTHER IN DEMAND A majority of schools say they are likely to make greater use of school managers to manage their budget as a result of ruthless budget cuts. Schools polled last month by Syscap believe the answer to mitigating the impact of funding cuts is new and improved management and buying techniques and 64% said they were likely to make greater use of school managers to manage their budget as a result. Fifty-eight per cent of schools say they are likely to use collective buying, while 64% said they will seek to form shared service partnerships with other schools and 55% said they would look for ways to spread the cost of investment in technology for their schools.

WALES FALLS BEHIND

In line with teaching unions ATL and the NUT, which went on strike on 30 June, the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) is balloting its members on whether to strike in the autumn, while the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) is considering industrial action as a last resort. NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby said: “With great reluctance, faced with threats and a refusal to negotiate from the government, we feel we have no option but to demonstrate our anger at this attack on the teaching profession. “Like everyone else, teachers have paid the price for the recession in taxes and pay cuts. They are now also being taxed to pay for the mistakes of others. We fear for the future of a system with a demoralised and devalued profession. We fear that we will not be able to attract people to become heads at a time when targets and workloads are rising. In planning the timing of this ballot, we feel that we have created a proper window for negotiations to continue and, hopefully, prevent the need for action.” The NAHT blamed “procedural reasons” for not joining teaching staff on 30 June’s picket line. Meanwhile, Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) says his members would only go on strike as an “absolute last resort”. The union’s council is currently surveying its members to gauge opinion and will decide on whether to go on strike based on that feedback.

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Meanwhile, England is much better served with school business managers than Wales, according to Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). “It would be just about unheard of for a school in England not to have a fairly senior business manager as part of its leadership team,” he said in an interview with the Western Mail. Lightman said Wales could learn from England and there needed to be more investment in the school leaders in order to make the profession “world-class”. “If I’m going to be critical, in Wales I don’t think we have invested enough in continuing professional development – and that’s an issue that we would ignore at our peril,” he commented. “We’ve got some very good school leaders but a lot of them are approaching retirement and we have a high age profile. We need to bring on the next generation of people in a climate where our expectations of the system have never been higher.”

STATS & FACTS

227

Of the mainstream free school applications for 2012, there were...

DIARY 8-11 July 2011 BELMAS Annual Conference 2011: Educational Leadership in an Age of Globalisation – experiences from around the world The Robinson’s Executive Centre, Wyboston Lakes, Near Cambridge 11 July 2011 Special Educational Needs (SEN) Conference ICO Conference Centre, London 13 July 2011 Children’s Centres Conference – Future Vision and Strategy Cavendish Conference Centre, London

81

secondary schools

65

all-through schools

77

primary schools

04

sen schools

15 July 2011 School Buildings: achieving productive relationships between school settings and educational activities Daysh Postgraduate Suite, Newcastle University


sector NEWS

PICTURE STORY

INBRIEF HEALTHY EATING

The Food for Life Partnership project, which advocates healthy food in school, has transformed the 3,800 schools that have taken part. More than twice as many primary schools received an Ofsted rating of outstanding following their participation (37.2% compared to 17.3% outstanding pre-enrolment) and headteachers reported a positive impact on pupil behaviour, attention and attainment. Disadvantaged pupils are also benefitting: over a two-year period, free school meal take-up went up 13 percentage points in FFLP schools, 20.9 percentage points in secondary schools, and by 21 percentage points across the board in schools achieving the Silver or Gold award. Nationally, 20% of primary school pupils and 30% of secondary school pupils eligible for free school meals don’t take them for reasons including fear of stigma and the lure of fast food.

LEASING AGREEMENTS

Children at Littlehampton Swimming and Sports Centre interact with the ‘Active’ wall, part of a new interactive fitness and playroom installed by Pulse. The audio and visual effects of the interactive equipment provide sensory stimulation for children with special educational needs

What we learned this month

Banning cornrows in school is considered indirect racial discrimination. A school’s banning of a boy wearing cornrows has been ruled “unlawful, indirect racial discrimination” by the High Court. While the fact St Gregory’s Catholic Science College in Harrow banned the hairstyle in general was not deemed unlawful, the judge said the school should have taken into account the now 13-year-old boy’s family traditions. The boy, known as G, was refused entry to the London school in 2009 because of his braids.

They said... Poaching students will destroy the collaboration and sharing of best practice on which lasting improvement has been built Russell Hobby of the NAHT responding to the notion that free schools might ‘poach’ mainstream pupils

A new guide has been published by the National Association of School Business Management (NASBM), Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) and Department for Education as a checklist to help schools avoid the potential pitfalls of leasing agreements and avoid making costly errors. Titled ‘Tips for Successful Leasing in Schools’, the guide will be available to download through the NASBM, FLA and DfE websites.

ACADEMY FUNDING

The Department for Education was under fire last month over errors surrounding academy funding. Education Secretary Michael Gove blames a complex local authority funding formula for the reason some academies received an extra £300 per pupil, worth around £300,000 a year to the average secondary academy. Speaking to the BBC, Gove said the errors were caused by “individual mistakes made by local authorities”, and that he was “not aware” of any mistakes made by anyone in the DfE. Instead, he said the overly complicated funding system led to councils making errors in funding applications and that the system would be reformed. Academy top-up funding (LACSEG) is calculated on the basis of info given to the department by local authorities. This is via the section 251 form, which is a complex form and according to the DfE, sometimes local authorities put some spending into the wrong category. Because the government relies on this data, if it’s wrong then some academies get too much or too little top-up funding.

www.lloydstsb.com/schoolsbanking | 0800 681 6078 www.edexec.co.uk

/ july 2011

07


08

sector event review

More for less:

ASCL conference 2011 As SBMs continue to be at the forefront of the changing education sector, we bring you a round-up of the ASCL’s second annual Business Management Conference

L

ast month around 230 business managers arrived at the Birmingham Metropole Hotel to attend the Association of School and College Leaders’ (ASCL) second annual Business Management Conference. Now a must-attend event on the association’s calendar, this year’s show proved particularly popular, having been oversubscribed since before Christmas. General secretary Brian Lightman opened proceedings by endorsing the significant contribution that business managers make in the context of school and college leadership, emphasising that there has never been a time when the unique skills of business management colleagues are more appropriate and in demand. The morning included keynote sessions from Sarah Healey, director of strategy and performance at the Department for Education and Roger Sykes, head of studies at the Audit Commission. In between sessions, delegates had the welcome opportunity to assimilate different perspectives on current key issues, pose some direct questions of the presenters, air their own views on issues like the proposed replacement for FMSiS currently under consultation, and were generally heartened at this move towards consultation. Continuing on the event’s theme of ‘Achieving more for less’, delegates had the opportunity to choose from a series of workshops throughout the day, offering information on academy conversion, managing staff reduction, partnership working, costing the curriculum and income generation.

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The day concluded with an inspirational session delivered by Rory Underwood (ex-England Rugby International and RAF pilot), focusing on the leadership and management of highly performing teams. Val Andrew, the association’s business management specialist who organised this year’s event, was delighted that the conference had been such a success. She spent the first six months in her new role speaking to business managers from a variety of regions and using their feedback to inform the planning for the event. “It was interesting to see that around 75% of the delegates were either already working in academies or in the process of conversion,” she commented. “This is clearly going to be the priority focus for many in the profession in the coming months, and we have arranged some new academy briefing sessions for business managers to support them through the process.” The other key issue highlighted throughout the day was the increasing diversity evident in the role of the business manager, as federations and partnerships become more commonplace, which is leading to the establishment of business management teams in many areas, which work together and support each other. Overall feedback from the day was very positive, with members finding it a useful day out of the office. Planning for next year’s event, on 17 May 2012, is already underway. The ASCL is opening the floor to suggestions for topics to include on the 2012 agenda. They are encouraging anyone with ideas or suggestions to email val.andrew@ascl.org.uk.

It was interesting to see that around 75% of the delegates were either already working in academies or in the process of conversion


More, for less. ASCL is the only trade union in Britain to speak exclusively for the leaders in secondary schools and colleges. We’re constantly working with the government on members’ behalf, fighting for better pay, campaigning for reduced bureaucracy and improved funding. ASCL members have access to the very best professional advice and personal legal support from our team of solicitors, field officers and hotline staff. Our membership numbers continue to grow as more education leaders recognise the benefits of joining an association that so clearly addresses their needs.

Can you afford not to join them?

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10

sector analysis

With budgets under scrutiny, EdExec surveyed its readers to find out just how hard, if at all, their schools were hit by cuts to funding this year. Julia Dennison hears from readers coping with less

Coping strategies

W

ith over half of school leaders reporting a reduced school budget for 2011, according to recent reports, EdExec felt it was time it surveyed its business management readers to find out just how hard their schools have been hit financially, if at all, and what they plan to do about it. We posted links to the survey on our website, sent an e-shot to our email database and tweeted our Twitter followers and the result was as expected – though still quite shocking: 80% of readers who responded said their school budget was less than it was last year, 13% said it was about the same and only seven per cent said they enjoyed an increase in funding.

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12

sector analysis

The only real cuts we can make are in our staffing budget. We are in a highly deprived inner city area and the parents are strapped for cash themselves. Any PTA fundraising gets spent on ‘nice’ things for the children, which is how it should be

We then asked those who said their budget had decreased to tell us what they feared the impact would be – and unsurprisingly, many feared the associated cuts to capital expenditure, staff and curriculum would have a negative impact on attainment. Coincidentally, as we went to press, a similar survey was undertaken by education finance provider Syscap and came to a very similar conclusion: 85% of schools it surveyed fear this year’s cuts to budgets may have an adverse effect on teaching standards in the UK.

Budget cut fallout For 67% of the schools with less money, the axe has unfortunately had to fall on staff, with redundancies in the pipeline for staff at some of our readers’ schools. Responding to the survey, one business manager in a Derby secondary school has had to reduce the number of teaching assistants and employ new teachers on fixedterm contracts. An assistant headteacher at a secondary school in Bradford was in a similar situation. “Staff cutbacks have had the worst effect on staff morale,” he commented. This has also meant that in some schools, such as one all-ages independent in Devon, there is very little internal cover available when staff are sick. Seventeen per cent of schools with tighter budgets have had to make cuts to the curriculum, in the shape of larger class sizes and fewer groups. This was even more the case in Syscap’s study, in which 45% of its surveyed schools said an increase in class sizes is likely, while 51% said the extra curricular activities on offer at schools will have to be cut back. Some schools, like one south coast secondary school, say they will have to cut back on capital purchases of software and hardware, which the bursar there worries “limits our progression to provide more IT for the pupils”. Most school leaders fear all these changes to what’s on offer to pupils is to the detriment of attainment, and that achievement will undoubtedly be affected.

What schools are doing about it Readers with tighter budgets have little choice but to look outside of government funding for additional revenue. This includes applying for grants, selling or leasing school facilities, sharing staff expertise with other schools for a fee, charging parents for extracurricular activities, getting pupils involved in raising money through events like bake sales and car washes, being more energy efficient, and in some cases, considering the temporary funding benefit of academy status. However, raising money is not always possible for everybody. “Raising money is a nonstarter; there are no

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grants available anymore especially for a small primary such as ours,” said a business manager in Nottingham. “The only real cuts we can make are in our staffing budget. We are in a highly deprived inner city area and the parents are strapped for cash themselves. Any PTA fundraising gets spent on ‘nice’ things for the children, which is how it should be.”

The lucky ones? It wasn’t strictly bad news for all. Many schools said that while their budgets are numerically about the same as last year, costs have gone up so in real terms, their budgets have fallen. “Although the budget is about the same, with inflation levels high and [the] public sector being unable to support the school, costs are set to increase,” said a finance manager at a secondary school in Greater Manchester. “In addition, the allocation for capital has been cut considerably. This means we have had to reduce staff numbers and the amount spent on capital t his year.” This was the similar situation for a primary school in the Nottingham area. “Although our budget is about the same – in real terms it has fallen and will continue to do so for the next three years,” said the frustrated school business manager. “We will of EdExec readers say their get no further LA funding for the next four school budget is less in 2011 years but staffing costs are still rising, and as than it was last year they take up more than 80% of our budgets, we will be in a deficit budget situation by next financial year and will need to make staffing cuts just to stand still. This only includes a £30,000 contingency for emergencies and as our building is 60 years said it was about the same old this could be eaten up in the first year!” As for the small percentage of readers surveyed who reported an increased budget this year, success was attributed to the kismet of factors like growth in pupil numbers and extra support from grants made available that were formerly ringfenced by the local authority. said it was more It seems that while schools can’t do much about restricted budgets coming from central government, the forward-thinking business managers out there are doing everything they can to ensure that every little thing they do, helps.

80%

13% 7%

Didn’t get the chance to participate? We still want to hear about your experience for future issues. Email editor@edexec.co.uk with your story.


14

sector academies

DIARY

A learning curve A year into academy status, Maria Morris, vice principal (Resources) at Somerset’s Taunton Academy considers what has worked well, lessons learned and what she would do differently with hindsight

T

he Taunton Academy (TTA) is an ‘old style’ academy, established through the merging of two community schools. We currently operate from two sites; however have been awarded £10.7m to refurbish/rebuild our north site by 2013. A challenge in merging former community schools has been the matter of Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) in relation to our staff. Most staff transferred to TTA but the transition proved far more stressful than it might have been for staff working in foundation schools. Staff in foundation schools will be familiar with the concept of the governing body as employer; however the shift for community school staff is far greater and should not be underestimated. Thorough consultation with unions and work to allay staff fears is essential. On arrival a year ago, the support structure for my role was inadequate, as a structure more suitable to relatively small community schools existed. However, I received tremendous support from the governing body and senior colleagues in understanding the requirements attached to academy status and in implementing a more appropriate structure. Developing a new academy, while maintaining the day-to-day business, is challenging. This can only be achieved through a good understanding of the new demands and planning an effective structure well in advance of opening, as effective structures will create space to focus on strategic development. I am a member of the executive team at TTA; this is essential to my role and would be important for any person holding a similar position. In converter academies the bursar or business manager might take this role and will need to work as a member of the senior team. This may represent a particular challenge for those with a community school background with little experience of this model, but nevertheless support from the governing body and senior staff is essential in establishing the lead on the finances, company/trust matters and other non-teaching functions. Ensuring access to effective HR, finance and legal support and advice is key to implementing a good infrastructure and similarly, careful research in relation to new systems, for example accounting software, is important. Opportunities to visit other academies and experience systems in operation can be helpful. Expect the unexpected and should a system prove unsuitable, the courage to make the change is equally important! Academy status can bring rewards and freedoms and can offer flexibility to engage with the wider community and develop in new directions. The journey at TTA has been a steep learning curve, but with many academies now in existence, there is a pool of experience and support on which to draw.

july 2011

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Developing a new academy can only be achieved through a good understanding of the new demands and planning an effective structure well in advance of opening


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16

sector INTERVIEW

Live and let Liver

july 2011

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sector

INTERVIEW

By having sound financial and business systems in place, the North Liverpool Academy is in a strong position and subsequently able to help its pupils, the local community and beyond. Matthew Jane met director of finance Ste Hughes to learn how

T

hrough all the confusion and unanswered questions surrounding the benefits of academy conversion, the North Liverpool Academy has stood as a beacon of what can be done with a solid business model, good teamwork and strong leadership. The academy was born through a merger of two predecessor schools, with the newly-formed academy moving into stunning custom-built accommodation in September 2009. “That’s the school that looks like an airplane,” explains the taxi driver through a thick Scouse brogue as we approach the impressive building. With its domed frontage and unique features, it is easy to see where the comparison is derived. For director of finance Ste Hughes, the building reflects the transition and advancements the academy has undergone since 2001 when the academy idea was first proposed. “We were operating from one of the predecessor schools from 2006 until we moved in here,” he says. “It was a 1930s building with narrow corridors and dark classrooms. It was a charming building, but what we have now is just amazing.” With such a fantastic building at their disposal, Hughes is regretful that educational building projects have been hit by the closure of the BSF project. “It’s a real shame that so many projects fell through,” he says. “The buildings really do help. The students here love the building and they really look after it well.” Having a project that started with a blank canvas has also enabled the academy to incorporate some inspirational areas for vocational training, with a motor vehicle repair shop, engine fine-tuning workshop, and hairdressers. “You can’t really do that in a building that has set perimeters, but we were able to include whatever we wanted,” he explains.

FUNDING THE ANSWERS While many schools may be considering closing out-of-hours services such as breakfast clubs in the wake of reduced budgets, the North Liverpool Academy is determined to continue allocating resources to these areas. “Funding is what it is and it is pointless letting it affect you every day; schools have to make the best of it,” comments Hughes. “You have to make tough decisions around what your priorities are. For me, funding isn’t the biggest issue. We have to go VAT-registered for example, which is a bigger challenge, so there are operational issues that are a more pressing concern.” The financial processes the academy has in place stem from the business experience that Hughes and his team bring with them. “A few of the support staff are from business, but we are clear to remind everybody that we

above | Director of finance Ste Hughes

fact box School North Liverpool Academy Type 11-19 mixed academy Pupils 1350 rising to 1750 over the next three years Annual budget £9m Teaching staff 97 Support staff 81 FTE Name Ste Hughes Position Director of finance Background Worked mainly in manufacturing businesses prior to joining the world of education in 2006

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18

sector INTERVIEW

are a school not a business, and in everything we do the children come first,” he says. “We manage budgets, we manage resources, we manage cash, but it is all about the students and their experiences and what we do for them. “The financial reality in schools is finally happening,” he continues. “I don’t think that is such a bad thing. The idea of having directors of finance and business managers who are commercially and financially aware is a sound principle.” Hughes admits the pupil premium the government introduced will work favourably for the academy. “We have got 44% of our students on free school meals, which works out at 583 pupils, so the pupil premium will be fabulous for us. It will allow us to do some fantastic things for the students.” One such scheme already in operation is a free breakfast for every student. “We are really keen to expand on that. Next year we are looking to offer a free tea as well. The food is very simple – breakfast is toast and cereal, and the tea would be soup and a sandwich, but these are things that prove really popular.” The breakfast club is particularly important given that the school is located in a deprived area and the educational benefits of eating healthily being well-documented.

You have to go for it and be positive in it. We will put as much time and effort into a bid for £800,000 as we will for a grant of £800

THE EXTRA MILE

The team is also active at securing grants to bring in huge amounts of additional revenue. There is a group of six people who form a bid team. “We don’t have formal meetings, but we will catch up over lunch and discuss any opportunities that people might have seen in the press for example,” explains Hughes. “We generate lots of extra funds, which admittedly are harder to get now, but in one year we had as much as £750,000 in extra money from grants and other agencies.” Hughes suggests the secret to a successful bid is to apply for everything and approach it in the same manner. “You have to go for it and be positive in it,” he says. “We will put as much time and effort into a bid for £800,000 as we will for a grant of £800. You are more likely to get the £800 funding, and when you think about it, that will pay for free breakfasts for a week.” Any additional funding can be used to enhance student experience, such as the occasion the school bought every pupil a bag rather than just asking those who could afford it to pay. “We wanted them all to have a bag, and now they have them it really makes them feel part of the team,” says Hughes. One way the academy is able to get good value from

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their money is through careful procurement strategies. “We will go to market for just about everything,” says Hughes. “For things like stationery, we will occasionally test the price of a basket of goods, but we have a local supplier who is always cheaper.” They have recruited a buyer who ensures every purchase is the best value possible. “The amount of money he has saved us over the past three years has been immense,” Hughes admits. “Whatever our first quote is, he will often be able to get at least 20% off that.”

PROVIDING FOR ALL With the academy’s impressive facilities, it is also able to fully utilise its own resources to provide services to students and the wider community. Hughes says the building is used a lot to hold public events. “We generate a little bit of income from it, but it is more about the community and allowing them to get involved,” he says. For example, the AstroTurf pitch is used by visuallyimpaired people one evening, a deaf group the next, and a young girls’ team another night. The academy will be hosting its first wedding this summer after being approached by a couple needing a venue for 500 people. The opportunities for continued development and training are available to all staff at the academy and it is something they are keen to promote. Every staff member, including support staff, takes part in training days and they are appraised on an annual basis. “It means the staff feel good, which not only boosts morale, but can also help save money. Staff are more than happy to do that little bit more for the greater good,” says Hughes. One of the standout messages the academy promotes is helping the community, and the ties it has with local primary schools and beyond sets a great example. “We are a school and we are about sharing – education is about sharing and good practice is about sharing,” says Hughes. One example he describes was when the school moved to the new premises and had 300 laptops that were deemed surplus to requirements. “We were offered £6,000 for them from the company that installed our new system, but we decided to ask on various networks if any school could use the equipment,” he says. “In the end we sent them to a couple of schools in Leicester, and they were really grateful for it. We would have generated next to nothing for them, so this was the best use for the kit.” With an admirable attitude to supporting education within the school and community, the North Liverpool Academy sets an impressive tone in the educational world. With the quality of leadership and sound business acumen of the team behind the scenes, the academy looks set to go from strength to strength, which should allow it to spread its benefits even further.


schools in focus

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east lothian

primary update

spalding stourbridge

What’s going on in the world of primary school and nursery management

Photo: Department for Education

Gove turns weakest primaries into academies

Education Secretary Michael Gove has set out plans to further shake up the delivery of education, with an expansion of the academies programme and a particular focus on the primary sector. Speaking at the National College conference in Birmingham last month, Gove announced plans to convert the weakest 200 primary schools in England to academies by 2012/13. Having suggested that the previous government had “lost momentum” with primary

A wish is granted for Wordsley pupils

Children and staff of Wordsley Preschool & Playgroup in Stourbridge celebrate the results of their new shade sail system canopy, provided by Able Canopies, which means the children can play outdoors in all weather

july 2011

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focus, Gove said: “As an urgent priority, we will start work on turning around the 200 schools that have most consistently underperformed by finding new academy sponsors for them so that most can reopen from September 2012. We want to work closely with the schools involved and their local authorities to make this happen.” Following his speech, one headteacher asked Gove how the academy programme would impact on a rapidly improving school, to which Gove promised that he would never impose academy transition on a school and that it is ultimately for individual school leaders to decide on the best course of action for their school. The unions were concerned about Gove’s plans, with the National Union of Teachers (NUT) accusing him of “breathtaking ignorance” in his belief that forcing primaries to become academies would improve standards. NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “Simply closing schools and replacing them with academies will not have the impact sought but will cause a great deal of confusion and distress for parents, pupils and staff.”

What we learned Every day in Britain, 10 children and young people are killed or seriously injured on the roads. As road safety is as an important topic that is not currently part of the national curriculum, the Beddy road safety scheme, launched by logistics company Bedfords Transport and backed by Brake UK, aims to help educate children aged five to seven about road safety to help combat the high number of children involved in road accidents.

london

LITERACY WATCH London hit by reading crisis

Thousands of children start secondary school in London with a reading age of seven, according to data published in the Evening Standard. The London newspaper found that as many as one in three children in parts of the capital is behind in literacy skills. The findings revealed that the capital’s illiteracy crisis is far worse than was thought – with one in three children in Wandsworth, Haringey, Hillingdon, Bromley, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Brent starting secondary school with a reading age of seven, far higher than previous research that showed one in four cannot read or write properly. The newspaper reported the capital’s worst ward for literacy rates as Kenley in Croydon, where they said half of all 11-year-olds achieved only Level 3 or below. However, a Croydon councillor has hit back saying the statistic gave a false impression. While the article claimed that 47% of all 11-year-olds in Kenley achieved only Level 3 or below in their Key Stage 2 reading exams, Councillor Tim Pollard, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for children, young people and learners, said the figure related to data from only two of six primary schools in Kenley, one of which is for children with special educational needs. At the remainder of the schools, he said, teaching staff boycotted the tests that year. The actual figure in Kenley, based on 2010 results (when taking into account teacher assessment for the schools that boycotted), was much better, with only 10% Level 3 and below in reading. Meanwhile, London mayor Boris Johnson launched a campaign last month that seeks to raise £3m to increase literacy and numeracy rates among the capital’s children under 12.

Key facts

 One in three teenagers reads two books or fewer a year  Seven per cent of children never read outside the classroom


schools in focus primary news

news INBRIEF Live opera for primaries

Jedward visit Windygoul Primary School in Tranent, East Lothian, as part of the Promethean and ChildLine ‘Give Every Child a Voice’ campaign in Scotland

X-Factor win for primary school Windygoul Primary School, Tranent, East Lothian

Pupils at Windygoul Primary School in Tranent, East Lothian, were thrilled last month as they welcomed The X-Factor and Eurovision superstars Jedward to the school. Windygoul was announced as the winner of the once-in-a-lifetime visit after working tirelessly over the last eight months to collect mobile phones for recycling campaign ‘Give Every Child a Voice’. The school was one of over 300 schools across Scotland that signed up to the campaign, which is run in partnership with NSPCC’s ChildLine service in Scotland and technology company Promethean, to raise vital funds to support children and young people in the country. All schools were tasked to collect as many old and unwanted mobile phones as possible before 13

May to be in with a chance of winning the special celebrity visit, as well as a set of hand-held learning devices for the school. Jedward arrived in style at Windygoul Primary School to congratulate the pupils on their achievements and act as special guest judges at the highly anticipated annual talent contest. Reece Lockhart, age six, was announced the winner of the talent contest with his rendition of the Ghostbusters theme tune, and upon being announced the winner, was joined on stage by Jedward for an encore. “Our pupils and staff were delighted to welcome Jedward to Windygoul,” said Ann Malcolm, headteacher at Windygoul Primary School. “As a green school, with a strong environmentally friendly ethos, the recycling campaign has been really important to us.”

In an initiative aimed at fostering an appreciation and understanding of the classical arts among young children, Pavilion Opera, a London-based touring chamber opera, will perform Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore at state primary schools across London this summer, including some in Harrow, Hillingdon, Haringey and Merton. A total of 49 schools will be participating in the programme. The Pavilion Opera Educational Trust (POET) works with local authorities to provide primary school children with the opportunity to explore music, drama and history through live performances. Schoolchildren aged nine and 10 study an opera as part of Key Stage 2 prior to a live performance of the opera sung in its original language by members of Pavilion Opera to a piano accompaniment. These performances take place in the hall of a host school where the children are brought as close as possible to the performance after which they are given the chance to meet the cast and musicians to discuss the characters and story and collect autographs.

Primary boarding school

The government has ring-fenced £17m to help an inner London primary school offer its pupils free places at a new state boarding school in Sussex. The trust running the Durand Academy bought the 20-acre Sussex school site for £3.4m last year, using income from a gym and flats on its London site, the BBC reports. Durand Academy, which has a high proportion of pupils on free school meals, plans to open a new junior school on its site in Stockwell, south London, in 2012. It also hopes to open a boarding school in Sussex, which students would attend from the age of 13, in 2014.

Lincolnshire school harvests power from the sun Long Sutton Primary School, Spalding

Long Sutton Primary School in Lincolnshire has installed photovoltaic (PV) panels on its roof to help generate power for the school and feed it back to the national grid. Eco Building Products supplied 42 Hyundai 230 Watt PV panels containing polycrystalline modules for the installation, which will generate more than 9kW of electricity for the school when operating at full power. This has substantially reduced the school’s bills for electricity. Long Sutton Primary School will also benefit from the government’s Feed in Tariff (FIT), which guarantees payments for the generation of energy from renewable energy technologies such as PV panels. The school’s governing body is reinvesting the money generated from FIT in further energy-efficiency projects at the school.

Long Sutton Primary School has installed solar panels to save on energy bills

The new installation is the first part of the school’s ambition to achieve success through the Eco Schools scheme. It is currently working towards the Bronze award which the school should achieve over the next term. The school governing body’s long term vision is to reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions

and energy costs at the school. At the same time it is seeking to engage the pupils and staff with coordinating its current sustainability activities, such as waste recycling and monitoring energy usage, with its teaching and environmental education goals. School bursar Mark Lunn said: “Long Sutton Primary is a friendly, exciting school to learn in. We pride ourselves on making education stimulating, meaningful and fun and wholeheartedly believe in teaching our children the value and importance of how to look after our environment.”

SEND IN YOUR STORIES We are always looking for local school news. If you have a story to share, email editor@edexec.co.uk

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schools in focus

Primary concerns As more schools apply for academy status, primary schools still seem reluctant to convert. Matthew Jane looks at some of the reasons for this and speaks to one headteacher who has turned down the opportunity to apply

I

n the past year, the academy programme has continued apace, with over 700 academies now open, over two thirds of which have opened since September last year. This has been a rapid rate of change for the education sector, yet for many primary schools, the option of converting is still not something being considered. Of the total of 704 academy converters and sponsored academies, only 100 were at the primary level at the time of going to press. The Department for Education points out that until September 2010 only secondary schools could be considered for conversion, making it inevitable to see a lower rate of conversion among primaries. But the figures still suggest that primary schools have been reluctant to embrace the academy programme. The conversion rates are coming more into line, with almost as many primary applications received last month as in the secondary sector (84 primaries against 88 secondary). Then came the announcement right before going to press that the DfE plans to turn 200 of the worst performing primary schools into academies by 2012/13, so the number of primary academies is set to at least triple. A spokesperson for the DfE highlighted the advantages to all schools of becoming an academy, with benefits such as greater freedom, autonomy and more time to focus on key activities. “In particular, primary schools will benefit from a range of federation and collaborative models, which enable academies to work together, support each other and raise standards,� he said. While the figures suggest the conversion is coming more into line, there are still statistically far fewer primary academies, prompting questions over what is deterring them from making the transition. One school that has opted against becoming an

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schools in focus academies

academy is Penryn Junior School in Cornwall, which will retain its current set-up, despite recently being awarded an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating that would have allowed it to fast-track through the application process. Having spoken out against the academy programme in the past, headteacher Robin Cowen explains that it was his duty to assess the best ways to move the school forward. “When we became an ‘outstanding’ school, we looked into the academy option in more detail and did a business case to see whether the financial arguments for converting made sense,” he says.

STAYING THE SAME There were a number of factors that dissuaded Cowen from recommending Penryn Junior School press ahead with academy conversion. One of the main factors was that it would not have given him much more freedom in decisionmaking than was already in place. “In terms of the curriculum, we already have a tremendous amount of freedom,” he explains. “There is also enormous freedom in our purchasing, as we can choose to go through the local authority or elsewhere. For example, our supply cover is sourced through the local authority, whereas other primary schools don’t. It is down to individual choice.” The fact that a level of autonomy already exists within the local area has resulted in Cowen enjoying excellent levels of service from the authority. “It is up to the local authority to ensure that the services they offer, such as legal and accounting, are competitive and high quality,” he explains. “We get a good service from the authority – they always provide a good level of support whenever we need it and we didn’t want to risk giving up that productive relationship.” He adds that some of his colleagues admit their experience with the LA has not been as good, and are therefore more interested in converting to an academy. Another concern Cowen has about academy status is the fact that academies are accountable directly to the secretary of state and not the local authority. “I much prefer local accountability as they know the context of the school, such as the specific challenges and the community.” The financial implications of becoming an academy could be viewed as a selling point, but this is an area that Cowen views with caution. “We ran the business case and initially it looks as though you get more money,” he says. “But you need to be a bit canny with this. Once we considered the range of risks, seen and unseen, and put a price against these, we soon realised that there isn’t a genuine long-term advantage.” There are also specific concerns that would affect any conversion of Penryn Junior

School, such as the fact it is a PFI school. “It means there are more complications in terms of contractual changes. They can be overcome, but it is something that schools need to consider.”

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE While Cowen is convinced that becoming an academy would not benefit his school at present, he is open to discuss it in the future. “We will look at it again,” he says. “The governors are agreed that we should look at it on a term by term basis, [so] the picture might change.” The government it has made it easier for schools to convert to academies and is pleased with the progress of its plan. “We provide a range of support...to help schools decide if academy conversion is right for them – including online information, peer-to-peer advice and a named contact within the DfE for every school that registers an interest in converting,” said a spokesperson. “We are keen for successful primary schools to become academy sponsors and support underperforming primary schools.” It is crucial for a school looking to be an academy to have high quality leadership and management in place. “Many primary schools don’t have the economies of scale that the secondaries do,” suggests Cowen. “We are fortunate to have a business manager, but many others don’t. The management is absolutely vital to make a success of an academy. You must have outstanding leadership and strong capacity to take on the new challenges... But it would be a shame if this was to break up the national system.”

We get a good service from the authority – they always provide a good level of support whenever we need it and we didn’t want to risk giving up that productive relationship

Academy fast facts 704 academies and sponsored academies open in England

n There are

100 of these are at primary level Last month, there were 84 primary academy applications, compared with 88

n Only n

secondary schools

200 of the worst performing primary schools acadaemies by 2012/13

n The DfE plans to make

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schools in focus secondary news

middlesbrough

secondary update

derby

What’s going on in the world of secondary schools and further education

Green light for £6.5m sixth form centre middlesbrough college Middlesbrough

A new sixth form centre accessible to students from across the Tees Valley has been given the go-ahead. Middlesbrough College’s governing body gave the green light to plans to spend £6.5m on the new college that will specialise in AS and A Levels. It is expected the new centre will attract 300 more students into AS and A Levels in the town and allow the college to offer a wider choice of subjects. Designed by Niven Architects, the centre will include 13 classrooms, tutorial rooms, a student lounge and a café. The plans also include new sports facilities including a full size flood lit Astro turf pitch and a ‘high ropes’ centre with zip wires etc. The ambitious scheme is funded from the college’s reserves and work is due to start later this year – in time for construction to be completed for the 2012 academic year. As well as creating jobs during construction, the centre will create 19 full-time posts when it opens. It will be built opposite the existing college. Chairman of governors Bob Brady said: “Middlesbrough College had a financial surplus after its reorganisation three years ago and this provided us with a great opportunity to improve sixth form provision for the town – by changing those reserves into resources. “The new sixth form centre will be part and parcel of the total regeneration of the town in the same way that the college as a whole is integral to the exciting changes and advances now taking place.”

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Majority of FE colleges concerned for their future

Survey reveals 60% of colleges worry they will become financially unviable in the future, despite most holding on to their quality of education More than 60% of colleges are concerned that they run the risk of becoming financially unviable in the foreseeable future, according to a recent survey, though 97% say they will continue to focus on quality of learning. “Further education colleges are currently faced with a precarious balancing act,” commented Rob Elliott of Capita Further and Higher Education, which undertook the survey. “On one hand, they are perfectly placed to ensure that the upcoming generation is equipped with the skills needed to breathe life back into the UK’s economy. “On the other hand, in line with all public sector organisations, colleges are being asked to do this with less funding so must find efficiency savings.” He says the consequences of not finding a balance between cutting budgets and quality of learning “could be extreme”. “As well as the potential financial distress, the government is proposing to address underperformance quickly and could remove public funding entirely from inadequate providers,” Elliott explained. According to the survey of 91 colleges completed at a Capita conference hosted by Capita FHE, the top three areas colleges look at for efficiency savings are:

 staff utilisation (85%)  better use of technology (71%)  and a halt on non-essential recruitment (60%). Meanwhile, 27% of colleges indicated they would look at shared services to make efficiency savings and 93% find management information systems useful to pinpoint areas of inefficiency. Elliott continued: “Despite the turbulence in the sector, there have been some encouraging signs – especially in areas like apprenticeships where the government wants growth. “Many colleges were pleasantly surprised by higher than expected funding allocations for 2011-2012, and participation is increasing. We might, therefore, not be seeing the feared ‘more for less’ but colleges still face delivering a lot more for about the same.” To achieve this, he says technology is critical, as it allows quick analysis of how efficiently resources are being used. “For the proactive majority, this time of change and challenge could still have a positive outcome,” Elliott commented. “Colleges have a strong track record of confronting challenges head on, keeping excellent learner outcomes at the heart of everything they do. The survey results demonstrate that once again they are prepared to do this.”


schools in focus secondary news

funding WATCH Schools get their share of post-16 bursaries The Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA) has begun notifying schools and colleges of the allocations they will receive under the new £180m 16-19 bursary scheme. The scheme aims to help 16- to 19-year-olds continue in full-time education, where they might otherwise struggle for financial reasons. It is made up of two parts – a bursary of £1,200 a year to the most vulnerable young people and a discretionary fund for schools and colleges to distribute. Around 12,000 16- to 19-year-olds will be given guaranteed bursaries. This group is made up of children in care, care leavers, those on income support and those in receipt of both Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance. Schools and colleges can distribute the rest of the money to support any student who faces genuine financial barriers to participation, such as costs of transport, food or equipment. It will then be up to the school to decide the scale and frequency of bursary payments. The government says it expects schools and colleges to make receipt of the bursary conditional on students meeting agreed standards, for

example behaviour or attendance. There will also be additional transitional arrangements to help those who are part-way through their studies and are currently receiving the EMA. This will be worth £194.2m for the 2011/12 academic year. Think before you act At a time when the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is encouraging colleges to subcontract services to supplement diminished budgets, one funding expert warns FE institutions to remember the 90s before they do so. In an article in the Guardian last month, post-16 funding specialist Nick Linford explained how institutions used taxpayer money to subcontract out teaching, training and assessment of students to private companies in a bid to boost funding, which would sometimes result in abuse of the system and investigations by the Serious Fraud Office. Linford claims resulting to subcontracting is the “same flawed process” seen two decades ago, when in some cases, colleges subcontracted more than half of their entire budget.

news INBRIEF Stop-and-search: a human rights breach?

In a report published last month, Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) scrutinised the education bill around four human rights issues. Where the bill enhances the powers of staff to search pupils in schools, the committee asked for it to be made clear that searches can only be made for items that could disrupt teaching or learning, threaten the safety of pupils and teachers, or breach criminal law. In terms of searching pupils of the opposite sex, the JCHR requested the bill clarify that a secondary school teacher would do so only “on very rare occasions” and that personal searches (excluding lockers, bags and outer clothing) should only be conducted when there is a risk of serious and imminent harm. The committee also asked for a tighter definition of staff powers to examine and erase data stored on pupils’ electronic devices, as this could potentially represent a serious interference with the right to family life.

sTATs & FACTS

75%

Despite good results, the quality of students’ work, their knowledge and understanding, and their ability to apply learning to unfamiliar contexts and demonstrate higher level skills was often weak at 75% of schools inspected for vocational business courses by Ofsted.

Principal David Croll; head of faculty Eileen Swan; Cllr Carol Hart and college director of enterprise and innovation Louise Curd open a new £1m classroom block at Derby College designed using sustainable materials by Pick Everard at its Broomfield Hall campus after just 24 weeks in construction.

SEND IN YOUR STORIES We are always looking for local school news. If you have a story to share, email editor@edexec.co.uk

www.edexec.co.uk

/ july 2011

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schools in focus career guidance

If the Education Bill passes, schools will be required to ensure their pupils receive quality careers advice at a time when local authority services such as Connexions are being cut altogether in some parts of the country. Julia Dennison finds out what the future holds for career services

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schools in focus career guidance

T

he outlook for UK plc is not good. Youth unemployment has reached record heights in the UK, with recent figures citing more than one in five 16- to 24-year-olds out of work. This, paired with a cut to the Education Maintenance Allowance and the prospect of £9,000 university fees, means the young person of today’s crystal ball is marred by a dark cloud of financial uncertainties. Now more than ever, students will be looking for career guidance to help them make the right choices for their future. Unfortunately, it is within this educational quagmire that the government is seeking to introduce pivotal changes to career services in schools that would require schools to commission their students’ career guidance. Until now, young people have been used to a professional career service provided to every school by the local authority. This could come to an end. Subject to passage of the Education Bill, schools will be under a legal duty from September 2012 to make sure their 13- to 16-year-old pupils have access to independent, impartial careers guidance. The Department for Education intends to extend this duty to 16-18-year-olds, but this is subject to consultation. This careers guidance will need to be commissioned by the school itself and cannot be provided by a teacher or any other person employed at the school. A school may still employ their own careers adviser, as long as pupils have access to an external source of guidance too. That might include (but would not be limited to) access to

online resources, support via a helpline, or face-to-face guidance from a specialist provider.

The devil’s in the details Bill or no bill, local authority-provided career services are in decline and schools are already having to fend for themselves. According to Unison, a staggering 97.3% of LAs are set to make cuts to Connexions services this year and some areas will see their careers service close down altogether. The Association of School and College Leaders says many of its member schools have no access at all to careers guidance at the moment. In a statement from the Department for Business and Innovation Skills on 13 April, it was revealed that a National Careers Service would be established from April 2012 to the tune of £84.4m (compared with £200m previously provided). As well as providing free face-toface guidance to priority groups, the network of organisations, funded by BIS, will offer services on the open market to those individuals/organisations that are willing to pay. It is not yet clear whether a National Careers Service would fulfil the same strategic role as Connexions. If not, the ASCL fears this will mean a less consistent approach to the provision of guidance for all young people and the removal of any element of entitlement. The details as to when and how schools can access the service have yet to be revealed, as well as how it will be coordinated. The concept of a National Careers Service is something school leaders welcome in principle and has

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schools in focus career guidance

worked before; for example, Careers Wales is a coordinated national service that has survived budget cuts. “Even when they’ve had serious cutbacks in funding they are still a national service so they are able to provide the quality that is necessary,” comments Lightman. “I do think [England] needs some coordination [like that].”

A shift in responsibility In the absence of support from local authorities, the responsibility for commissioning careers guidance services will need to be allocated to a senior leader, likely to be a school business manager. As yet there are no quality standards set for such careers guidance, so without it, sourcing a suitable service would be up to the school. Education leaders fear this could lead to a situation where the quality of careers guidance is diminished and young people left in the lurch. Paul Chubb, director and professional adviser for Careers England, is one of them: “How does it make sense that a school has a duty to provide access to professional career guidance when there’s going to be no quality assurance mechanism for who that individual or organisation is?”

With current services evaporating before our eyes, the lack of any transition plan that would ensure compliance with statutory duties in the meantime, or details on service level agreements, makes it look like the government is fiddling while Rome burns Money problems

There is no information at the moment about whether there will be any additional funding from central government to help schools under the strain of reduced budgets procure these additional services. When asked about funding, a DfE spokesperson cited the Early Intervention Grant (EIG) to local authorities in England as a source of money that could help ensure that young people have access to impartial guidance. However,

the £2.2bn in 2011/12 and £2.3bn in 2012/13 allocated for the EIG is intended to support a wide range of services for young people and the funding is not ring-fenced. It is therefore up to the LAs to do with it as they see fit – which could include career guidance, but doesn’t have to. As per usual, the coalition government is sticking to its policy of autonomy. “Schools and local authorities are the best judges of what young people in their area need, rather than government dictating from the centre,” a DfE spokesperson told EdExec. “Related to that, it is worth mentioning that there is no ring-fencing in school budgets for specific purposes within school budgets.”

A period of uncertainty As schools transition from the current situation to the new requirements on schools, there will undoubtedly be a period of uncertainty. Schools are advised to wait for more detail before they make any rash decisions. “What I worry about is that schools have no funding to do this, and in the current economic climate you could understand why many schools will say: ‘Well, we can’t afford to buy this service,’ ” Lightman comments. “There is a lot of marketing by companies offering services of one kind or another and there is no coherence to it so it appears to be developing into a potential free-for-all.” Schools that wish to maintain the service currently provided to their students by the LA from September 2012 onwards are advised to speak to their favourite careers adviser to find out how they can hold on to them. One thing is clear: there are more questions than answers at the moment. “The only clear detail is the drastically reduced resources available,” agrees Unison’s senior national officer Jon Richards. “With current services evaporating before our eyes, the lack of any transition plan that would ensure compliance with statutory duties in the meantime, or details on service level agreements, makes it look like the government is fiddling while Rome burns.” At a time when future careers for the youth of today have never been more uncertain, many fear removing careers guidance structures could cause long-term damage to the economy. Chubb leaves us with a biting comment: “We are putting at risk a generation of young people and we’re doing so for nothing more than political ideology.”

Who can help? n The Association for Careers Education and Guidance (ACEG) aceg.org.uk n The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) ascl.org.uk n Careers England careersengland.org.uk n The Institute of Careers Guidance (ICG) icg-uk.org n Cegnet cegnet.co.uk

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rocure

lan

Worldly good West Kirby Residential School is a successful non-maintained SEN school involved in a series of exchange programmes with young people abroad. Julia Dennison speaks to principal Gareth Williams about how he makes it all possible

W

est Kirby Residential School is a small, non-maintained residential school of around 100 special educational needs pupils housed in a building constructed in 1881 but modernised to accommodate pupils, of the 21st century. It is well-renowned as a pathfinder SEN institution both in the local community and further afield – it was the first special school to be recognised by the Department for Education back in the 1940s and has remained at the forefront of SEN education ever since. During the past two years, the school has been involved with young people from South Africa and India, visiting their countries and sponsoring them to visit the school on the Wirral. The school also recently acquired International School status and a small group of pupils went back to South Africa in early June, with a trip to India planned for January next year.

A leader in SEN excellence Organising trips for pupils is a challenge for any school leader, but it seems like nothing short of a miracle achievement for an all-ages school for children with complex emotional, social and communication needs. However, it is perhaps an unsurprising feat for principal Gareth Williams, who is a leader in his field. In 2006 he was the first head from the non-maintained sector to become a national leader of education (NLE), and one of the first five for a special needs school. “It’s been a phenomenal challenge,” admits Williams. “I took over in 1994 when there were 34 children here. The school was in deficit and there had been no developments in

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the school for the past 20 years. We never expected to be where we are today.” One of his first tasks when he took the job was to improve relations with the local authority, which sends pupils to West Kirby and pays the children’s fees that are banded depending on that child’s statement of educational needs. “We have an eight-week flat fee for an assessment, during which the child meets with all the educational professionals,” says Williams of the process. “We will then go back to the authority and hold a review meeting and hopefully be able to explain to them what we are charging for that young person.” Eighty to 85% of funding is spent on staff, which is no surprise when you realise the school has a one-to-one pupil-to-staff ratio, necessary to meet the manifold needs of the pupils. But you get what you pay for. “There are national rates and to get the best you have to offer the best,” says Williams on why his staff bill is slightly higher than your average mainstream school. “So instead of just looking for education and admin staff, like most schools, we have to look a bit wider afield.” Indeed, what sets this non-maintained school apart from its state-maintained counterparts in SEN education is that it provides all the services for its pupils under one roof, including access to an in-house educational behaviour support team. “We’ve heard from parents from other local authorities that they haven’t got access to speech and language therapists or educational psychologists at their school, for example,” Williams explains. “We’ve already got all this on site.”

It’s a small world after all With all going well on the home front, Williams decided the best way to expand his pupils’ education was by taking them further afield. The idea behind building ties with


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fact box School West Kirby Residential School and SEN College Type Non-maintained special needs school for pupils aged 5-16+ Pupils 110 (1/3 residential; 2/3 day pupils) Teaching staff 20 Support staff 80

young people in South Africa and India was to give the children at West Kirby the chance to gain some perspective on their own predicaments. “We’re a predominantly white school in a predominantly white society on the Wirral, and we were a little bit unsure as to how to develop the notion that there are lots of different cultures in the world,” remembers Williams. “One of the things we would hear from our young people is: ‘You don’t know what it’s like to be special needs; you don’t know how unlucky we are and how the world is against us,’” he explains. “I would say: ‘The world is not a fair place but there are a lot of people who are a lot worse off.’ I was very interested in developing this understanding that parts of the world are not as fortunate as we are, however we feel about the circumstances that we find ourselves in.” In 2007 Williams met with the school council to explain that he wanted to strengthen West Kirby’s ties with the world. He was met with enthusiasm but also faced with more questions than answers: Where to start? What countries? How will health and safety regulations be met? And, obviously, where will the funding come from? Williams then went out to as many different organisations that had involvement with children in developing countries as he could, but unfortunately doors were closing in his face, predominantly due to concerns around accessibility, cost and the children’ 0s safety. Just when he was about to give up, a teaching assistant at the school from South Africa spoke up – she had also worked in a school in South Africa and was very keen to help develop links between them and West Kirby. Nine months of logistics later (including meeting with the participants’ parents on a weekly basis), a group of pupils and teachers

from West Kirby were on their way to the African country on a 10-day tour to help the school build its library. West Kirby also sponsored subsequent trips for pupils from South Africa to visit the Wirral. Further opportunities for expanding pupil horizons also came in the shape of trips to India, supported by Caldy Rugby Club and Touraid, a charity offering support to schools wishing to host activity-based tours for disadvantaged children from overseas.

A global education? Priceless All of this travelling, of course, comes at a price – every trip to South Africa costs the school approximately £10,000. The parents of the pupils travelling contribute a little bit, but predominantly this sum comes from fundraising. “We set targets for every class group to raise,” explains Williams. “We initially started with targets of £100 each, which doesn’t sound a lot but when you’ve got 12 class groups, that’s £1,200 in the pot.” The pupils took this as a fun challenge, with one class group shaving their hair off to raise money for the cause and another undertaking a virtual cycling trip from John O’Groats to Lands’ End on stationary bikes in 24 hours. The rest of the money for the trips is raised by a supportive local community. “We live in a very middle/ upper class area where there’s a lot of support from the locals and quite often a cheque for £200 or £500 will drop in,” comments Williams. “I think every school needs the support of its community and we’re very fortunate to have that.” As we spoke, Williams was preparing to send another group of 10 pupils to South Africa, this time with laptops in tow to donate. For this principal, his pupils and the wider world, the future is certainly bright.

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Summer lovin’ School may be out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean a business manager’s work is over. Matthew Jane looks at some of the options for making the most of the summer holiday

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utside observers may conclude that schools lie dormant during summer months as pupils enjoy six weeks of sunshine and family holidays and teachers give their vocal chords a break and kick back with a well-earned gin and tonic. But, ask any business manager and they will tell you that the long holiday is a time for planning, preparation, and in some cases, making some additional funding. Just because the classroom timetable doesn’t extend beyond term-time, doesn’t mean the work ends with the final summer term bell. After another long academic year, many schools are left looking like the morning after a rock and roll party (hopefully minus the televisions in the swimming pool). The empty classrooms give schools a great opportunity to freshen up any tired décor, add a splash of colour to walls or carry out any small repairs that are inevitably needed with a school full of energetic students. If funds are particularly tight, it could be worth speaking to local parents or businesses that may be more than happy to don a pair of overalls and lend a hand and a lick of paint in return for a cold beer or ice cream. While the economic frailty means this summer’s refurbishments may not be as lavish as in previous years, there is still scope to freshen up tired spaces. “Schools will continue to spend on commodity products like cleaning and maintenance items, but due to the loss of BSF projects, we anticipate that schools may invest on refurbishing their environments this year; therefore a rise in sales of loose furniture pieces is expected,” suggests Emma Williams from educational supplier GLS. One particular area schools may choose to focus on over the summer is outdoor spaces. The dry and hopefully warm weather means work can be undertaken to provide classrooms outdoors. With the advantages of outdoor learning being well-documented and schools constantly looking for opportunities for learning outside the classroom, there are many inexpensive methods for opening up the school grounds, such as canopies to protect against sun and rain, amphitheatres, or outdoor reading areas. “Take advantage of summer offers and the great weather in September to invest in outdoor resources while there is still chance,” advises Williams.

Without the hustle and bustle of everyday school activity it may give freedom for business managers to be able to dedicate time to doing some price comparison checks on key products

EVERYDAY ESSENTIALS As well as the opportunity to explore new areas for school improvement that the summer window offers, it is also a good time to consider stocking up on the more commonly used items as it allows schools the time and space to consider the items they really need. “Throughout term-time normal school pressures make it difficult to stand back and look at the whole picture,” explains Williams. “Summer allows for a full stock check of what the school already holds, they can take time when looking at their usage of key resources and this may then give them opportunities to bulk buy.”

Another advantage to purchasing items during the summer months is that schools can be reassured that they have plenty of the essential items when the academic year starts again. With all the other administrative tasks that need to be carried out during the first weeks back, it is comforting to know that panic buying classroom essentials is not something that will have to be done. Purchasing in advance during the school holiday can also result in better deals or contracts with suppliers. “Without the hustle and bustle of everyday school activity it may give freedom for the business manager, headteacher or school secretary to be able to dedicate time to doing some price comparison checks on key products,” suggests Williams. It is also a perfect opportunity to arrange meetings and visits from key suppliers to see how they can better understand a school’s requirements and undertake a thorough stock check to highlight areas where the school budget could be spent more effectively. For schools planning any bulk summer purchases, Williams warns that it is a good idea to plan well in advance to avoid disappointment. “As you can imagine, most school establishments will be stocking up and purchasing large orders in preparation for the start of the new term. Therefore there could be additional demand on some key resources with suppliers that could result in products being out of stock or delayed,” she explains. “Key lines, such as bespoke exercise books, may take longer to print, especially when everyone will want them in preparation for the first day of term, meaning all these types of orders hit suppliers at the same time.” Similarly less frequent purchases, such as resources for outdoor spaces, can take several weeks to produce and deliver, meaning summer is a great time to prepare for both the everyday and occasional acquisitions.

MAKING SOME MONEY As well as planning the school’s expenditure during the holiday, the empty school can also be used as a means for schools to bring in some additional revenue. Many EdExec readers are planning to do exactly that by leasing out buildings and facilities. One college in Bolton rents out its sports facilities to generate vital income, which is essential for balancing the books. Another school in Liverpool plans to hire out its sports facilities and school hall, which will be used for summer fetes. Through this lettings programme, the school predicts they will generate £1,000 of income, which is not a bad return for a space that would otherwise be left vacant. Obviously the amount of leasing that can take place will be restricted if schools are carrying out refurbishment projects, but any sports facilities, halls, lecture theatres or even classrooms could prove useful money spinners for summer schools, local businesses, weddings, or community groups. As well as bringing in much-needed cash, opening up schools and keeping them occupied during the holiday could also help prevent break-ins, vandalism and arson, as criminals will be less likely to target a building that is in use. There is a host of options available to schools during the summer. With some forward planning, the months when students are away could be used for improving resources, enhancing procurement, and generating additional income revenue. With so much to explore, business managers will need to remember to include ‘taking a break’ on the summer to-do list.

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What have I got myself into? Are you or someone you know going from school governor to academy director and unsure what to do next? Academies expert Geoffrey Davies gives his advice on the changing role of school governor

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legal

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ast time I checked, well over 629 maintained schools had converted to academy status, with many more in the pipeline. The river is now in full spate and in many cases members of the governing bodies of the schools will have become governors of the academies that have replaced them. How many of those governors will have realised the risks – there are no financial rewards – that they have taken on and how much more onerous their new jobs are than their old ones?

The situation at hand Each academy is owned and operated by a company limited by guarantee – strangely referred to by the Department for Education (DfE) by the more cuddly title of ‘academy trust’. Each governor will be a companies act director of that company and personally responsible for it. Although they may delegate some of the managerial tasks to others, they remain ultimately responsible for the work of those to whom they have delegated, and for the overall running of the academy. Many governors will be familiar with the workings of private companies but the burdens associated with running an academy trust are much greater than those applicable to running a family company because academy trusts are also charities. Everything they do must, to the exclusion of all other purposes, advance the objects of the academy trust. The governors must comply both with companies and charities law. Although academy trusts are limited companies, the governors can (and indeed should) be made personally liable if they breach their duties – for example the duties to exercise independent judgement (i.e. not to follow the herd), the exercise of reasonable skill, care and diligence (i.e. to read and understand the board papers and keep abreast of the financial position of the academy trust), and to avoid conflicts of interest (e.g. not to award contracts to family members). If they authorise the academy trust to act outside its objects they too will be personally liable for the loss or expenses incurred. All of these burdens fade into insignificance when it comes to the risk of permitting an academy trust to trade while it is insolvent. Too often in the past, maintained schools have run up deficits the local authority would ultimately have had to cover, however in the case of academies, the DfE requires them to balance their budgets and there is no right for them to go back to the government for more money when it runs out. If a liquidator can demonstrate that at some time before the winding up was started, a director knew or ought to have concluded that there was no reasonable prospect that the company could avoid going into insolvent liquidation, then the director may be guilty of wrongful trading and may be required to contribute to the company’s assets out of their own property. In the most extreme cases they may also be disqualified from acting as a director, or face fines and imprisonment. Any

application for credit made by the director of an insolvent company is likely to be affected by that insolvency. In business dealings with banks and other financial institutions the director is likely to be asked very carefully about the circumstances of the insolvency. All that may sound rather academic until you realise that many academies are being asked to take on the former maintained school’s deficits and the maintained school’s shares of any pension deficit applicable to its non-teaching staff under the local government pension scheme. An academy trust could be insolvent on an assets test from the word go. That does not necessarily mean that continuing to trade would be wrongful but the governors need to be very careful to examine the position and take proper advice before they start. I wonder how many governors will in 12 months’ time be asking the question: “Just what sort of mess have I got myself into?”

What to do So what can a governor of an academy trust do to protect themselves against personal liability? First, the governors should ensure that the academy trust puts in place some governance training for its governors at an early stage. The training should be aimed at making governors aware of their duties as directors and charity trustees. Secondly, they should ensure that someone on the board of governors has proper financial and/or accounting experience. A charity’s accounts are very difficult for a lay person to understand and it is critical that the financial progress of the academy is monitored regularly and that detailed management accounts are produced at least every term. Thirdly, the governors should make sure insurance is put in place to protect themselves against claims that they have not acted properly. The protection available is not absolute but will be helpful in meeting the fees incurred in successfully defending any proceedings. Finally, the governors should make sure they understand the key agreements that govern the operation of their academy, such as the funding agreement, any lease of the school’s premises and the articles of association of the academy trust, and ensure that the academy trust abides by them. Governors who are diligent, follow the rules set out in the academy trust’s articles, keep a careful eye on the finances and ensure that the academy trust always obeys its contracts should not find themselves in personal difficulty. But they are taking on a serious job with serious personal responsibilities and need to take it seriously. One possible cautionary tale is that most lawyers – a notoriously careful people – are not that keen to take on the role of directors of companies.

The burdens associated with running an academy trust are much greater than those applicable to running a family company because academy trusts are also charities. The governors must comply both with companies and charities law

Geoffrey Davies is a consultant in the academies team at Lewis Silkin LLP. He is also a director of academies operator United Learning Trust.

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Top Tips

Striking a balance Industrial action can disrupt school leaders, staff and pupils and is considered a last resort. But as teachers face up to changes in the educational establishment, it is an increasingly common action. MATTHEW JANE provides 10 top tips for dealing with strikes

Shakespeare may have coined the phrase for the wintertime, but it seems that the teaching world is gearing up for a summer of discontent. There have been many contentious issues affecting schools over the past academic year and these have resulted in many disgruntled members of staff and unions ready to take a stand. With schools increasingly pursuing conversions to academy status and the government discussing changes to teachers’ pensions, the unrest has boiled over into industrial action, with many schools affected by teachers going on strike. Strike action was a hot talking point for many of the annual conferences this year, with the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) backing calls for a strike ballot over changes to pensions. The traditionally moderate union, which has never held a strike before, felt so strongly about changes to pensions that they were compelled to take action. General secretary Mary Bousted said: “ATL members are very angry – and it takes a lot to get them this angry. They do not accept the government’s view that the

july 2011

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teachers’ pension scheme needs to be reformed.” The academies programme is also a bone of contention for teachers, with staff at two schools in Coventry going on strike in May over plans to convert to an academy. The Tile Hill Wood and The Woodlands school both had to close to pupils, with the National Union of Teachers calling a protest at the decision to convert from a maintained school. Jane Nellist, joint secretary of the Coventry Association of the NUT, said its members were very angry at the way they were treated. “If these changes take place, our members’ pay and conditions will be under threat as governors have failed to give any guarantees,” she said. With all this talk of industrial action, school leaders must be prepared for all eventualities and ensure that should everything else fail and teachers follow through with industrial action, the students do not suffer and everything is done as efficiently as possible and within the constraints of the law. We have put together some key advice to help deal with strikes.


Top Tips

communication iS KeY Employers should proactively engage with employees to limit the impact of industrial action wherever possible. Employers may decide against potentially antagonising the situation and simply allow the action to run its course (particularly if it takes place over isolated days). However, schools should always be aware that some circumstances will require a more proactive response and be prepared for such eventualities. iS it LegaL? School leaders should check whether the industrial action has been lawfully organised by a trade union. There is a distinction between official and unofficial strike action. “Generally speaking, any action that is authorised or endorsed by a trade union will not be unofficial for members of that particular union or employees who are not a member of a union,” explains Chris Cook from SA Law. “However, any members of a union that has not authorised or endorsed industrial action will be deemed to be part of unofficial strike action.” LegaL PoWerS There are several options open to schools to deal with striking staff, which may include withholding all or part of their pay or dismissing employees. Mark Hatfield, partner for the employment team at law firm Weightmans, adds that these options, however, will not assist in ensuring that a school can continue to operate. Cook reminds that employees are only entitled to be paid for the time they are willing and able to work. “Employees are therefore not entitled to be paid for any period during which they are on strike. However, if employees choose to take industrial action short of a strike and perform some, but not all, of their contractual duties the position is less clear and advice should be sought before taking a decision on pay,” he says. PeaceFuL PicKetS Picket lines will commonly be set. These must not be on the school property and unions will tell members that these should be peacefully conducted and staff wishing to carry on working should be allowed to enter the school. Should a picket line become violent, school leaders must immediately notify the police. BuSineSS aS uSuaL One of the key decisions for school leaders to take will be whether the school can stay open during the strikes. It will be necessary to carry out a risk assessment to ascertain what the impact will be on the health and safety of pupils, staff and visitors. School leaders may decide to close the school completely, open it for part of the day or just for a smaller group of students.

“Schools should consider how many members of staff will be in school during the days of strike”

canceL HoLiDaYS Schools should consider how many members of staff will be in school during the days of the strike, although they are not entitled to know the names of those planning to take industrial action. It may be necessary for schools to assess any authorised absence already booked or off-site training events that may need to be cancelled in order to ensure there are enough members of staff to keep the school open. moving StaFF School leaders can take on new staff or move existing staff from current positions to cover positions usually filled by striking workers, explains Hatfield. Employing agency workers to cover for striking staff is not permitted during an official strike, but schools can use existing casual workers to cover roles. He warns that schools must not assign agency workers to cover the work done by striking workers where they were brought in to do other work. It is possible, however, to take on new, directly-employed workers on a short-term basis or outsource work to a third party or contractor on a temporary basis. FaLLout From otHer ScHooLS If the industrial action takes place on a wider scale then teachers or support staff who have children at different schools may be impacted, even if they are not taking part in the strike. They may seek to take time off to care for their child. While employees are entitled to take unpaid leave to deal with an unexpected breakdown in child care arrangements under the domestic incident leave provisions, it could be argued that they have had sufficient notice to make alternative arrangements. School leaders should engage early with these staff if there are any concerns. ongoing DiScuSSion School leaders should find a way to frequently keep in touch with employees, suggests Cook, either by way of staff meetings or training and discussion sessions to facilitate communication and ensure the views of all employees are regularly being heard and considered. SeeK LegaL aDvice If there is any doubt on the part of the school, then they should seek legal advice. “The laws on industrial action are complex and there are potentially serious and costly consequences of getting it wrong,” warns Hatfield.

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vendor profile

Get connected

With the axing of government funding for school sport partnerships, it is now up to individual schools to keep them going. EdExec finds out how a web system could secure a future for sport in schools

S

port has been taking a beating in England’s schools of late – and it seems school sport partnerships (SSPs) are bearing the brunt. With the release of the spending review last November, Education Secretary Michael Gove had threatened to scrap the £162m funding for these collaborations between primary and secondary schools – a move that was met with strong opposition from school leaders and athletes alike. In a partial U-turn, the education secretary decided to salvage a measly £47m from his department budget to ensure the scheme survived until this summer, after which it would be dissolved. Funding will now be given directly to schools for them to do with it what they wish. The future for these partnerships and competitive sport for children therefore lies very much in the hands of individual schools and academies. For those that are still carrying the torch for the cause, support from web-based systems like Sport Connect is paramount in helping them to keep these partnerships strong.

july 2011

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vendor profile

Warming up

Worth the investment

The SSP is a government scheme that supports joint initiatives between primary, secondary and specialist state schools and is designed to increase competitive sporting opportunities for schoolchildren. After the scheme is reduced, the government is promising that £65m will be available in 2011-12 and 2012-13 to ensure one PE teacher per school is released for a day a week to ensure efforts to boost competitive sports are “embedded”. In a statement made at the time of the U-turn, Gove commented: “I want competitive sport to be at the centre of a truly rounded education that all schools offer. But this must be led by schools and parents, not by top-down policies from Whitehall.” With the cessation of ring-fenced funding for these schemes, the network of partnership development managers, competition managers, school sport coordinators and primary link teachers is all being dissolved, with schools given the money directly. The government is therefore trusting school leaders to have the best interest of the pupils they serve at heart and many schools will want to maintain as a minimum the current levels of provision for PE and sport each week for every pupil. This should not signify the end of SSPs and charitable organisations like the Youth Sport Trust have voiced their commitment to ensuring 440 partnerships remain, albeit with a different structure and funding model. Schools and SSPs of the future will have to think carefully about how they spend money and coordinate their services. Luckily for them, there are services that can help.

With the removal of ring-fencing for SSP budgets and school budgets under increasing constraints in general, education providers will find themselves increasingly stretched for resources and personnel to support a sport programme. It is therefore important that the investments they do make are worth it. What the future SSPs will look like still remains to be seen. “Some of the partnerships are carrying on as they were before – they’ve managed to secure money through the schools,” says Adam Miller of Bug Interactive. “However, sadly, some of the partnerships have been dropped by their schools because their schools would rather keep the money, so it’s a case of when headmasters have valued their SSPs in the past, a lot of them have carried on helping to fund them, but ultimately the network of job roles that SSPs used to use have been decommissioned, so schools have been using their budget to buy in these people.” The evidence points to schools trying their best to maintain the levels of service they’re used to when it comes to the SSPs. Reassuringly, the majority of SSPs that use a Bug website are carrying on (around 60%) and using whatever budget they have this year to make sure they have a website up and running for the next two years – “which is a lot healthier than we thought it was going to be,” Miller confirms. “Ultimately, we exist at the moment to service those people for the next two years, make sure their websites are working because ultimately they save them a lot of time and resource,” he continues. Furthermore, two further partnerships have signed up to Sport Connect in the last month. “They see it being much better to invest in a system now that can power them for the next two years than struggle along the way they have been. It means, sadly, they can get rid of an admin assistant, for example, which saves them cost in that respect.”

Partnerships and academies are valuing putting a system in place now to power their delivery of sports for the next two years Teammates to trust Sport Connect from web design firm Bug Interactive is a web-based system custom-built three years ago specifically for use by SSPs, community sport networks, county sport partnerships and competition managers. It helps them free up time previously spent on tedious admin tasks so they can concentrate on the work they enjoy – delivering sport. Bug Interactive is well-known for designing bespoke websites delivered through a close working relationship with the client and a focus on the end result. They pride themselves in their use of ‘plain English’ and aversion to IT jargon. One of their more famous website clients is Nigella Lawson (www.nigella.com). Since its launch in 2006, Bug’s Sport Connect system has gained awards from organisations like the Youth Sport Trust along the way. As a result, it has gone from being a one-off project to being the biggest-supported system of its kind in the country, with 75 out of 450 SSPs in the country as clients – a coverage of nearly 20%. And of course, it doesn’t rest on its laurels for long. Great feedback from its users enables Sport Connect to continue improving. SSPWebsites, its paper-free online package built specifically for SSPs, is now in its fourth incarnation, allowing schools to reduce the paperwork of their partnership, take all bookings and reservations online, provide access to resources and materials useful to you and keep everyone involved and up-to-date with the latest goings on.

The future of Sport Connect In response to these financial constraints, Bug is now looking to offer a slimmed-down version of the Sport Connect system into academies. Without the constraints of ring-fenced budgets, academies are freed up from the bureaucracies that once were placed on the SSPs – so less functionality is required in a system. Overall, Miller feels positive about his future working relationship with SSPs and schools. “It will be interesting, with the freedom schools have been given to go in a new direction, exactly what we might be able to help them do to be able to continue,” he explains. “It’s good to see that, actually, schools are valuing it enough to see that they still want their young people engaged in sport and it’s not just an elitist pursuit.” Miller is concerned that existing government agencies like Sport England support children who are interested in sport anyway, whereas SSPs are there to bolster interest in sport from those who might not normally have the privilege as part of their curriculum. This and many other benefits around SSPs would be very sorely missed if schools don’t step in to the rescue.

For more information Bug Interactive Tel: 01223 850 420 Website: www.buginteractive.com www.sportconnect.co.uk

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work life

Break Time ?

Secret life of a business manager

Crafty devil

My hobby is arts and crafts. I love making things and will always have a project on the go. My daughter introduced me to the hobby several years ago and I find it a great way to unwind and also show off my creative streak. It is a really easy hobby that anybody can get into and the beauty of it is that there is something there for everybody. My main love is designing cards, books and

number crunching Everyone deserves five

5

minutes break, and business managers are no exception. So pour yourself a coffee, get a biscuit from the tin and have a go at this little puzzle. It is sure to keep your little grey

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help while away your break time.

stationery items. I often get inspiration from various magazines and then just let my

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cells ticking over and

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everything from soft toys to replica fruit and vegetables. She is great at providing prizes for

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imagination run wild. A friend of mine who also loves arts and crafts loves knitting things –

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school raffles or gifts for young relatives. My hobby has also proved to make good business sense as I have saved lots of money by designing my own, bespoke greetings cards for people. At Easter I sent every staff member a handmade card, and you they were all thrilled with them. My next task is to get my Christmas cards made soon so I am ready in advance! Imogen Goosen, Hampshire

Around the classeS With all those classes going on around you every day, we think you should be well placed to answer these little teasers

HISTORY Which King was famously reputed to have hidden in an oak tree? ............................................

Do you have an interesting hobby or activity? Are you involved with any clubs at your school? We would love to hear from you. Simply

MUSIC How many strings are there on a double bass?

ENGLISH Who wrote the popular Twilight series? ............................................

ART Who painted The Persistence of Memory? ............................................

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would be even better.

GEOGRAPHY What is the world’s largest lake?

PE When were the first modern Olympic games held?

Every entry featured wins a £20 Threshers voucher, so why

............................................

............................................

write to editor@edexec.co.uk with the subject line Secret life with 200 words on your hobby, why you enjoy it and why you would recommend it to other business managers. If you have a photo of yourself, that

not share your secret life with us.

july 2011

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ANSWERS History – Charles II; Music – Four; Geography – Caspian Sea; English - Stephenie Meyer; Art – Salvador Dalí; PE – 1896

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Direct Procurement – Is your school ready? The withdrawal of Local Authority services presents the need for schools to find good value like-for-like alternatives. Do your SLT understand their responsibilities? Do your team have the right skills to deliver value for money procurement? Have you got a procedure and buying framework set up? This is a one-day Procurement Event designed for people involved in, responsible for and accountable for a school’s procurement. These can be defined as the School Leadership Team, Heads, Deputy Heads, School Business Managers and Governors. This programme will help you answer these questions and many more. The programme will 

Give an introduction to school based procurement

Define the roles and responsibilities in school

Clarify the steps that should be undertaken and provide delegates with a checklist

Provide an overview of the procurement cycle and highlight the potential pitfalls

Highlight the necessary EU legislation and other legal parameters that must be adhered to

Identify ways to help your school save money when procuring products and services

Enable the school to create good quality specification briefs and evaluation criteria

Outcomes and Benefits 

Opportunity to share best practice and gain insights

Gain practical tools and experiences to execute a school procurement policy

Enable the school to create accurate specification briefs and evaluation criteria

Undertake buying exercises to assist in role and responsibility definition

Understand the necessary steps to ensure your school is delivering value for money

Developed in association with:

Location and Dates: Twickenham 13 October 2011 Liverpool

7 February 2012

Derby

8 March 2012

Exeter

3 May 2012

Durham

24 May 2012

Event Duration

Start: 0900 for 0915 Finish: 1600

Event Costs:

NASBM Members Non-members

£115 £145

The event fee includes lunch, refreshments, and an extensive toolkit for delegates to take away.

This event has been developed to allow more than one member of a school to attend and all receive benefits on their individual role in the school procurement process.

For further information or to book please visit our website – www.nasbm.co.uk and click on Conferences/Procurement Events. Or contact Julia Warmington on 01788 573300


EDUCATION EXECUTIVE

s t i n o  o s i c e x EdE k a e r b r summe Education Executive Magazine is off for the month of August, returning in full swing in September so you can start your new school year with the information you need. Enjoy the summer and we look forward to seeing you on the other side.

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Education Executive July 2011