If you are concerned about balancing the three year budget plan and the inadequate responses from Government to date then you may wish to sign the parliamentary petition to get the issue debated in parliament…
Ofsted launched its consultation on the proposed new framework on 16th January 2019. The consultation is open until 4th April 2019. The proposed framework is substantially different in emphasis and will hopefully enable more inclusive schools to show their strengths and quality of education.
The DfE has opened a new consultation about funding schools for the 2019-2020 increase in Teachers’ Pensions contributions, though they do not appear to have mentioned the mechanism for this. We know from the recent pay rise allocations that the mechanism chosen is important as it can result in winners and losers. Please see our Current Consultations Page for the link to this consultation. The closing date is 12th February 2019.
All ‘governors’ of state funded schools are automatically members of OGA and are welcome to attend our FREE Open meetings. However we do rely on Schools subscriptions to pay our running expenses (which are not excessive as we are all volunteers and have no paid employees). Our subscription charges are very modest at £10.00 for schools with less than 300 pupils and £15.00 for those with 300 or more, for the avoidance of doubt these are charges per school, not per multi-academy trust. This subscription has been unchanged since 2003, largely thanks to the generosity of many of our speakers.
Many schools subscribe via Oxfordshire County Council who collect the fees on our behalf, but others prefer to pay direct either via Bacs or by cheque. To facilitate this we have a proforma OGA Invoice for schools’ which they can use to pay us and keep their accounting records correct.
Please check the list that we have of schools that have subscribed 2018-2019 OGA Subscribers. If your school is not included and you believe having a representative body for governors in Oxfordshire is worthwhile please ask at your next Governors meeting if your school would be able to subscribe. It is very time consuming for us to chase up schools individually.
- New items added to posts on the Home page.
- Various events have been added or updated, most notably the next OGA Free Open Meeting.
- Some broken links have been repaired, but if you spot one please use our contact page to let us know, all feedback gratefully received!
- New link under Wellbeing on our Useful Sites Page – Action for Children’s Build Sound Minds
As I have joined the F40 Executive to support their campaign I attended this briefing. One Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis (Conservative Party MP for North Oxfordshire) attended the briefing which she subsequently described as a helpful update. Layla Moran MP (Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon) and Anneliese Dodds MP (Labour Member of Parliament for Oxford East) also contacted me to say they were sorry they had not been able to attend but were supportive of the campaign.
Those of us with Post 16 students, may be interested in the Raise the Rate campaign. Since 2010 the funding mechanism for Post 16 has changed radically, but between 2010 and 2013 the average per student funding fell by 7%. Post 16 funding has been frozen since 2013 which amounts to a real terms reduction of 17%. These figures are from the House of Commons Briefing Paper published in November 2018.
I have put some additional information about funding in the letter sent to Clerks for onward circulation to all Governors today. Please contact us if you do not receive this letter by 21st January 2019.
Carole Thomson, Chair of OGA
11th January 2019
Updated information about this conference may be found through the calendar. Please note this is open to Governors of all types of school not just academies.
The Oxfordshire Teaching Schools Alliance (OTSA), working closely with Oxfordshire County Council (OCC), has developed the idea of Local Leaders of Governance. The first successful recruitment round took place last year. They are now looking for further recruits to provide better coverage across Oxfordshire. OGA is very happy to support this development having originally proposed the idea to OCC some years ago!
If you have a proven track record of being an effective governor and can evidence the impact your governance has had on outcomes for pupils, then the Oxfordshire Teaching Schools Alliance would like to invite you to become a Local Leader of Governance (LLG). The Alliance is looking for enthusiastic, experienced Governors to further improve the school to school support provision for governance in our region. The closing date for applications is the 5th June 2019.
Areas of responsibility would include:
- Governance review/peer review packages
- Headteacher recruitment support
- Mentoring of new governors
- Post-Ofsted visit support packages
- Creation of Partnership Governor Networks across the county
- Governor training
For more information please contact OTSA via this link
On 29th December 2018 the Department for Education launched an Activity ‘passport’ to inspire schoolchildren and boost resilience. It is a ‘Passport’ of activities intended to enrich children’s experiences and skills, backed by the Scouts, Girlguiding and the National Trust.
Many parents will be receiving a copy of the Worth Less campaign’s School funding – Parent letter October 2018 from their school today. Some may not, and in some cases that will be because of concerns about recent updated staffing and employment guidance warning Headteachers and Teachers about not using resources for political purposes. But the first point I would make is that the Statutory Guidance has been withdrawn (Para 1.6) and replaced with non-statutory advice, so Headteachers and Governors can still use their judgement of whether or not to follow it. Secondly the relevant paragraph (5.33 on page 25) newly added in September is very clear that the advice is about not using resources for “party political” purposes.
OGA has a long history of lobbying all Governments of whatever political makeup for fair funding for all Oxfordshire schools. This is not in our judgement a party political issue, though of course it is inevitably political.
I remain concerned that the current discussions do not focus sufficiently on the High Needs budget which funds our Special Schools and additional support for SEND in our mainstream schools. Oxfordshire is also amongst the low funded authorities for this element of the Dedicated Schools Grant.
I was frankly appalled by the misinformation in the interview on the Today programme on the 28th September. There is a sensible analysis of this in the BBC Radio 4 programme More or Less on the 7th October (8 minutes 30 seconds into the programme) and further links in the letter for parents.
I noted the Minister for School Standards comment during the interview ‘Yes, and you pick your dates very carefully’, which made me think why do the Government keep quoting the 50% increase in funding since 2000? I was a Governor of a secondary school in dire financial straits at that time, even though what was asked of schools at the time bears absolutely no comparison to current expectations.
In 1995 OGA was formed, largely as a result of the dismal financial situation of many of our schools, to affiliate to the National Governors’ Council (founded in 1994) to provide a voice for Governors with Government.
In 1996 the F40 group was formed to lobby for Fair Funding for schools as the allocations were so varied across the country including in low funded Oxfordshire.
In January 1999 a group from OGA including myself and some of his constituents went to a constituency meeting with the MP for Oxford East Andrew Smith who at the time was a Minister in the first New Labour government. He reminded us that Labour had been elected on the basis of sticking to the previous government’s spending limits for the first two years. Subsequently in 2003 there was a significant school funding crisis which was alleviated by guaranteed per pupil increases. It was not until 1996 that the Dedicated Schools Grant was implemented, based on LEA spending in 1995…
Of course this is only a partial view of the history and there is a lot more involved, but if I go back to the question why the Year 2000? I suspect the date was indeed picked very carefully…
Carole Thomson (Chair of the Oxfordshire Governors’ Association)
The first Open meeting this year included Stan Terry talking about the Strategic School Partnership Board, the OGA AGM and our main speaker was the author of the RSA report Who Governs Our Schools? Trends, Tensions and Opportunities , Dr Tony Breslin FRSA. The meeting was held at Wheatley Park School, which proved to be a good venue and much quicker to drive to than a number of us had realised! Another good meeting with positive feedback received.
The minutes of the AGM and a report of the speakers’ input will be published presently, but meanwhile more information, can be found on our events webpage.
Other additions to the website include information about two forthcoming events which may be of interest to Governors, in November there is the OTSA conference about the new Ofsted framework that will come into effect in September 2019 and the OABGM conference with some interesting speakers and workshop leaders, to be held in March 2019.