Governance Handbook Changes


By Rob Merino
on 15 January, 2017

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Changes to the Governance Handbook

The latest iteration of the Governance Handbook was published this week. 

Updates to the Governance Handbook

Previously the Handbook updates have been relatively minor and focused on including guidance relating to the latest policy updates from the DfE. The latest edition has been restructured completely around the DfE's newly identified six features of effective governance.  

These are:

  1. Strategic leadership that sets and champions vision, ethos and strategy.
  2. Accountability that drives up educational standards and financial performance.
  3. People with the right skills, experience, qualities and capacity.
  4. Structures that reinforce clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
  5. Compliance with statutory and contractual requirements.
  6. Evaluation to monitor and improve the quality and impact of governance.

Other key changes to the document include the requirement for all governors to have a DBS check and the information requirements on Edubase for governors.

Competency Framework for Governance

Alongside the handbook, DfE have also published non-statutory guidance on a competency framework for governance.

The framework is structured around the above features of effective governance and identifies the principles and personal attributes which, alongside the commitment of time and energy to the role, underpin effective governance. It outlines the knowledge and skills required for effective governance and specifies those which are essential for everyone on the board; those which are required of the chair and those which at least someone on the board should have. 

Both publications follow the publication by Ofsted in December of a report on the state of school governance, Improving Governance: Governance Arrangements in Complex and Challenging Circumstances . The report outlines the results of a survey commissioned by Ofsted taking evidence from 96 routine inspections or monitoring visits, and visits by inspectors to 24 schools which have recently improved standards.

A recurring theme throughout these documents is that governors understand their role and have the skills to effectively challenge and support school leaders. There is also further recognition of the importance of high-quality professional clerking which is crucial to the effective functioning of the governing body or board.

One Education provides a professional clerking service to schools and academies as well as advice guidance and professional development for governors. For more information, contact Rob Merino on 0844 967 1111.

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