Update: On the 14th September the DfE published information about the Teachers’ Pay Grant Methodology. Thankfully they are funding all pupils aged 2 to 19, so no school sector has been overlooked. However, given the different decisions on staffing ratios taken by individual schools it is quite clear that some schools will not receive funding sufficient to fully fund the additional cost above the first 1% that we all have to find… 17.09.2018
Funding for Schools: Whilst it is to be welcomed that the Department for Education (DfE) is to find the money from within its existing budget to help fund the teachers’ pay rises it remains to be seen how the additional money will be allocated and whether, yet again, there will be winning and losing schools. Whilst I am hopeful that Special Schools and Nursery Schools (who are funded from a different block of the Dedicated Schools Grant [DSG]) will have been remembered until the DfE publishes the methodology for allocating the money I remain somewhat apprehensive on behalf of all our schools.
One thing I am absolutely clear about is that statements from the DfE that Teacher’s pay increases are “fully funded” are grossly misleading when the first 1% of the increase is not being funded on the basis that we had already included this in our budget plans. I do wonder how many of our parents or even journalists actually understand this.
Our MPs should be aware now, if they weren’t previously, following education questions in the House of Commons on 10th September 2018 when Nick Gibb reiterated the statement “We are fully funding the teachers’ pay award by providing a teachers’ pay grant worth £187 million in 2018-19 and £321 million in 2019-20” but was challenged and then stated “The pay award is being funded over and above the 1% for which schools have already budgeted.” So clearly this is not a fully funded pay award.
Then there is the pay rise for support staff for which no additional money is being found. In a letter to me this Summer Nick Gibb, Minister of State for School Standards stated “The Department is not responsible for determining support staff pay. Support staff terms and conditions are determined locally by employers – either individual schools or local authorities – to suit local circumstances”. Schools cannot manage without our support staff who do essential and valued work in our schools, and yet the Minister seems to imply that the DfE has no responsibility for ensuring that schools have the money to pay them their much deserved pay rise.
Please keep your parents fully informed of the realities of school funding.
Carole Thomson, Chair of OGA. 11th September 2018
GDPR: This continues to be a major concern for many of our schools. An OGA colleague has written some guidance for us GDPR copy for OGA which together with the document GDPR a practical introduction may prove helpful.
On April 23rd the DfE finally published a Data protection toolkit for schools.
Oxfordshire County Council have recently launched an Anti-Bullying charter has your school signed up? The Charter is based on 10 key principles for tackling bullying developed by the Anti-Bullying Alliance.
New Academic Year Resolutions.
It can be very hard to retain a long-term strategic view for your Governing Board when there are so many more immediate issues that have to be addressed – such as inducting new governors, reviewing last year’s results and the terms of reference for the board and its committees, the annual safeguarding report, on-going reviews of policies and your budget, self evaluation/ skills audit, to name but a few.
So, it might be worthwhile to periodically take stock and consider what else we should be doing that could help develop us into a more effective Governing Board that might benefit the school and the children and young people we are responsible for.
In this vein I am initially posing two main questions:
- How much do you value your clerk? If you employ an OCC clerk they will be required to attend OCC clerk’s briefings but we should make space on our agenda for feedback from the clerk from these meetings. Have you looked at the clerking framework yet? It is intended for use by Governors as well as clerks and was published in April 2017 when it was welcomed by the NGA who have lobbied for years to get the importance of having a trained clerk acknowledged by the Department for Education. If your Governing Board directly employs the clerk do you expect them to attend the OCC briefings – and of course pay for their time and expenses to enable this to happen? There is strong evidence from Ofsted and elsewhere that strong Governing Boards also have competent professional clerks. For those of you that have bought into the clerking service but are currently without a permanent clerk be assured OGA has discussed this with Governor Services and the problem is a being resolved as a priority.
- What could we do differently to promote better partnership working locally? Our recent Open Meetings have had a significant partnership theme and if you were not able to attend or are new to Governance you may like to have a look at the notes from these meetings. Things you might like to consider locally are opening up a part of a Headteacher partnership meeting to a member of each of your partnership Governing Boards (it should not necessarily fall to the Chair, it might depend on the topics to be discussed and daytime availability). Having an open door policy for all but confidential items to allow, by prior arrangement, observers from other Governing Boards to see how you operate and of course visiting other boards in turn. If you have already tried this we would welcome feedback, particularly where it exemplifies good practice that could be shared!