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The Portsmouth Governor Winter 2011

The role of link governors and visiting your school Governors have a responsibility to monitor and evaluate the progress of their school and contribute to the school self evaluation process. This can be done through a variety of methods including reports from the headteacher and senior staff, analysis of statistical data and, perhaps most importantly, through first hand observation. It is not always easy for every governor to set aside time to visit school during a working day, but the importance of visits by a representative number of governors cannot be understated. For such visits to be positive and supportive, they must be planned in a way that enhances the governing body’s understanding of an aspect of the school’s

work. Therefore, it is important that a protocol for visiting the school is agreed and observed between the governors and the headteacher. Also, care should be taken not to place any additional unnecessary workload on staff. It may be that visits to school are related to governors’ special responsibilities i.e. literacy, or special educational needs. For further information, we have produced a document which aims to help you undertake your role as a ‘link’ governor. This can be found at (no www) then go to ‘Information’, then ‘Information for Governors’.


Exciting project puts parents and carers at the forefront of service development Portsmouth parenting service: Parent and Carer Board

Earlier this year Portsmouth parenting service set up a project called the Parent and Carer Board, as part of it’s commitment to developing the way that parents can be involved in shaping the services available to families within the city. The main role of the board is to examine the work and decisions of the Children and Young People’s Plan within Portsmouth and make recommendations for its development. The board’s members come from across Portsmouth to represent the different needs of families that use services within the city, and their insight into family life. The needs of families across the city has already been recognised as a really valuable tool when it comes to making decisions that affect children and young people. This is a really exciting development that has given us as parents a sense of being really heard and valued

within the city. To date we have already had the opportunity to support some decisions about the services that the city provides to support children and young people and we are looking forward to being further involved in the future. Several members of our board have also started to link in with some of the many parent forums and groups around the city. We hope that this will ensure that our work reflects the widest possible collective voice of parents and carers across Portsmouth. We are also keen to hear more parent’s views so if you have any comments or questions please contact us: Tel: 023 9267 4593 Text: 07958 788 536 Email:


PO Box 4771 Coventry CV4 0EH

Introducing the Ombudsman for complaints about schools I am writing to introduce myself and to explain how my office is dealing with complaints about schools in Portsmouth, one of the fourteen local authority areas across the country taking part in the first and second phase of a new complaints service offered by the Local Government Ombudsmen. I am one of the three Local Government Ombudsmen for England. We are independent, impartial and reach judgements based on our own enquiries rather than the ‘adversarial’ system used by tribunals and courts. The service is free, accessible, easy to use and respectful of both parties to a complaint. Since 1 September, parents and pupils in Portsmouth have been able to complain to me if they have an unresolved complaint against a school and have suffered injustice as a result of the ‘prescribed functions of a headteacher’ or the actions of a governing body. The Local Government Ombudsman was established over 35 years ago and we are experienced in handling complaints about education and children’s services, such as school admissions and special educational needs. Generally I would expect a complaint to be considered via the schools own procedures in the first instance although I do have discretion to consider complaints at an earlier stage if exceptional circumstances apply. Someone with a complaint can telephone, write to, or email our Advice Team on 0300 061 0614, email, address PO Box 4771, Coventry, CV4 0EH. Our specially trained advisers will explain what we can and cannot deal with and what people can expect from us. The advisers will pass the complaint on to my specialist team who will evaluate it and speak to the parent or pupil before deciding how to proceed. If you have any queries about this new service or wish to informally discuss a complaint please feel free to make contact with the Assistant Ombudsman, Sharon Chappell on 024 7682 0033 or by email

Dr Jane Martin Local Government Ombudsman

T: 0300 061 0614 E:


Training Code Induction training GT111a, b, c

Clerks training Chairs training Finance training All other sessions

Basic training



Introduction to governance day



4th, 9.30am-3.30pm

GT112a, b, c

Part 1: Welcome to being a governor

10th, 6-8.30pm

GT113a, b, c

Part 2: Roles and responsibilities

17th, 6-8.30pm


Day for clerks

GT122a, b, c

Evening for clerks

GT131a, b, c

Evening for chairs


Chairing skills (potentially statutory)


Role of the Finance Committee


Financial management standards in schools


Health and safety


Preparing for Ofsted and writing your SEF


Performance management


Safer recruitment


Training liaison governors

8th, 5-7pm


Safeguarding children

10th 5-7pm


Target setting


Staff disciplinary panels


Community cohesion


Looked after children


Strengthening governance


Engaging parents


Behaviour and attendance


DfE review of governance briefing


ISA briefing for governors


Understanding staffing issues


Understanding SEAL and PSHE


Understanding SEN


Understanding data and school improvement plan


Understanding the school’s budget LEA governors appointment panel Governors forum

Venues Dame Judith Professional Centre Conference room A, Civic Offices City of Portsmouth Girls’ School

1st, 4-6pm 15th, 6-8pm

10th, 5-7pm

27th, 5-7pm

27th, 5-7pm

9th, 5.30-7pm 17th, 5pm 22nd, 5.30-7.30pm


Contact us Abbie Eales Senior Governor Support Officer Tel: 023 9284 1720 Email: Susannah Greenwood/ Astrid Brown Governor Support Officer

Governor Support Portsmouth City Council Civic Offices Portsmouth PO1 2EA

Tel: 023 9284 1716 Email: Email:

Agenda Setting Suggested items for spring term 2011: • Apologies accepted • Pecuniary interests • Minutes and matters arising • Correspondence • Budget monitoring • Discuss and adopt financial procedures manual, financial rules and scheme for financing schools • Approve budget for next financial year (ensure minutes reflect full governing body approval and indicate documentation presented e.g. BB502) • Standards, teaching and learning • Evidence FGB approval of continuation of SLAs • Committee report/ head teachers report • Reports from SIPs including categorisation visit • Whistle Blowing Policy • Review staffing structure for next academic year – both teaching and nonteaching • Workforce reform monitoring • Committee report/ head teachers report • Items from School Improvement Plan • Policies and publications • Dates of meetings • Governor training • Items for next agenda


Interim Executive Boards What is an Interim Executive Board (IEB)?

Is there a case study in the city?

An Interim Executive Board can be set up when a school is causing concern. “Schools causing concern” refers to schools which are judged to be “eligible for intervention”. These are maintained schools that require special measures or significant improvement (also known as “notice to improve”) by Ofsted, or which have not complied with a valid Local Authority (LA) warning notice. They are only implemented in schools where the Local Authority and Inspectors don’t feel the current governing body can fulfil its duties to raise standards in the school.

Cottage Grove Primary School was inspected in November 2008 and required special measures because it was judged to be failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education. Significant improvement was required in relation to: • raising standards and achievement • tracking and analysing pupils’ progress • providing effective school improvement plans • improving the planning for literacy and numeracy • improving attendance

How is an IEB set up? The current governing body is informed of the LA’s decision and an application is made to the Secretary of State. This process, including approval is usually completed within two months following the Ofsted inspection. The governing body are then formally removed and the IEB appointed. What is the role of the IEB? Exactly the same as a normal governing body, but with a remit to secure rapid improvement. This normally requires much more frequent meetings and an extra workload for IEB members.

An IEB was set up in February 2009, consisting of just three members. The IEB held regular meetings (fortnightly to begin with) and took over the work of the governing body. Following the successful HMI Ofsted monitoring visit in July 2010 the school was re-categorised from unsatisfactory to satisfactory. This was thanks to the excellent work and support of the IEB members, the headteacher, staff, parents and pupils at the school. The school now has a full governing body again, who took over in September of this year.


Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

ef i r b n i s w e N

New SLAs have been produced by the local authority ready for governors to consider buying in to this term. Look out for governor support’s new version which has been shared with training liaison governors. Governor support website details

Education White Paper Key messages on governance of schools The white paper states “school governors are the unsung heroes of our education system. To date they have not received the recognition, support or attention that they deserve. We will put that right”. The DFE will be working with the National Governors Association to clarify governing body accountabilities and responsibilities to focus more strongly on strategic direction, and encourage schools to appoint trained clerks who can offer expert advice and guidance to support them. Parents, governors and the public will have access to much more information about every school and how it performs. School level data (on attainment in specific subjects, trends over time, class sizes, attendance levels, the composition of the pupil body and financial information) will be made available in a standardised format online. The National College will provide high quality training for Chair of Governors. There will be legislation in the forthcoming Education Bill so that all schools can establish smaller governing bodies with appointments primarily focused on skills, but with a minimum of two parent governors. This can be adopted from early 2012. Schools that have a majority of governors appointed by a foundation will continue to do so. Accountability of governing bodies will also be increased, with the removal of the School Improvement Partner meaning that governors need to be focused on school improvement. Further information on the full report can be found on our website.

Our new website can be found at: (no www) then go to ‘Information’, then ‘Information for Governors’. We will be saving all the frequently requested documents there so please have a look. We will also be sending governors out sign-up details to be able to access our online forums and we look forward to seeing these well used. Financial Management Standard in Schools As FMSIS is scrapped with immediate effect the current planned programme will no longer continue however it is clear in the article that the DFE are going to develop a new, simpler replacement system which will be introduced next year. In the meantime audit will revert back to more standard audits as they did before FMSIS to ensure that the council’s section 151 responsibility is still be fulfilled. As soon as we have any further information we will let you know, in the meantime, please see the announcement from Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education and refer to the announcement dated 15 November 2010 for full details: a0067711/government-announces-end-of-complexschool-financial-reporting-tool Department for Education Please note the DFE new website and governors’ page: This includes useful information and downloads on governors key tasks each term.

Governor Support Portsmouth City Council Civic Offices Portsmouth PO1 2EA

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You can get this Portsmouth City Council information in large print, Braille, audio or in another language by calling 9284 1716.

Document Ref: LNA_Governors newsletter-1110

The Portsmouth Governor Winter 2011  

The newsletter for Portsmouth Governors

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