This month The Department of Education published its revised Governor Handbook. First published in May 2013, the Governor Handbook replaced the Governor Guide to the Law, a guidance document that was solely relevant to maintained schools. The Governor Handbook sets out the functions, core responsibilities and legal requirements for all Governing Bodies as well as providing signposting to further information and guidance useful for governors.
The Department of Education, in it’s drive to raise standards of governance in all schools nationally, recognises and responds to the increasingly diverse status of schools and the impending changes to the National Curriculum in the revised Governor Handbook. The handbook now includes guidance for Maintained schools, Academies and Free Schools. Where guidance differs for specific types of school this is clearly referenced throughout the guidance.
Lord Nash, in his foreword address gives recognition to the hard work and commitment of governors and shares his intent for the handbook to be a tool that makes it easier for governors to do a good job by removing unnecessary rules and regulations and providing a resource for governors to ensure they are aware of their legal responsibilities and duties.
TIP: If the issue and question of converting to academy status is on your governing bodies agenda then the Governor Handbook sets out the differences in governance of a maintained school and that of an academy so would be a useful resource for governors to access. The Governor Handbook can be found here
Here are the main revisions for governing bodies to be aware of and should explore further:
The role of governing bodies
The benefits of governing more than one school are now acknowledged
The guidance now includes a more detailed explanation of what it means for governors to play a strategic role within school
Clearer expectations around governors’ school visits are identified
There is now included an explanation of the role of academy trustees as charity trustees and company directors
A new section is included on governors’ personal liability
Further details of support available to governors is provided
Constitution and procedures
More detail is included on the key considerations in determining the structure and membership of the governing body
Included is a more detailed explanation of the constitution of academy trust boards and academy governance models
Details added of proposed changes to constitution regulations
Education and inspection
There is updated information regarding the impending changes to the National Curriculum and the planning and implementation of the new curriculum for September 2014.
New information on pupil voice and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
New guidance for governing bodies’ on their responsibility for safeguarding and child protection
Teachers and support staff
New advice is included on discrimination in appointments and during employment
New guidance included on trade unions, disputes with staff and premature retirement
Organisational changes and the use of school premises
Updated information provided on conversion to academy status and support of other schools for schools that convert to academy status
Update on financial requirements for academies, governors’ liabilities, whistleblowing policies and charging for school activities
New guidance included regarding payments to governors and the responsibilities of charity trustees on Academy Boards for compliance of charity law regarding payments for services.
I do hope you have found this Guide to the key changes in the revised Governor Handbook useful, if you would like any support for governance or would like to find out more about the services I offer please contact me by calling me on 07841612208 or send me an email