The Essex clerks' briefings were held in the first fortnight of the spring term and were attended by 124 clerks across Essex, Southend and Thurrock. The notes for the briefings are now published on the ECA website along with the documents and guidance referred to at the briefings.
The agenda for the briefing included a discussion about the agenda for the spring term ahead, including guidance on issues that governors will need to consider this term. Maintained schools that have not yet re-constituted under the 2012 School Governance Constitution Regulations will have to do so by September 2015 at the latest. Statutory guidance and advice was produced in May by the DfE and this clarifies the transition arrangements and stresses the need to elect or appoint governors with the skills and expertise needed to ensure effective governance.
Various documents have been updated and posted recently on the ECA website, including a new Governors' Handbook (January 2015) which was published on 16th January, just as the briefings finished!
The latest ECA briefing paper, No 29, about the Ofsted framework, was circulated at the meeting and clerks were also referred to various updated and new Ofsted documents (updated for January 2015), including:
- Inspecting schools: framework
- Inspecting schools: handbook for inspectors
- Inspecting safeguarding in maintained schools and academies
- Inspecting schools: unannounced behaviour inspections
- School inspections: a guide for parents
On 15 December the Ofsted website moved to GOV.UK
A briefing paper setting out current academy changes was circulated at the meeting and links to information can be found in the notes.
A safeguarding update included information about the Essex schools audit tool, which must be completed by the end of July 2015. For further information, please access the ESCB website here: http://www.escb.co.uk/SafeguardingAudit/SchoolsandCollegesAudit.aspx
Recent DfE guidance documents that have been published include:
- Cyber-bullying: Advice for headteachers and school staff
DfE non-statutory advice for the DfE for headteachers and all staff on how to protect themselves from cyberbullying and how to tackle it if it happens.
- Preventing and tackling bullying
New/updated guidance published October 2014.This document has been produced to help schools prevent and respond to bullying as part of their overall behaviour policy. It outlines, in one place, the Government's approach to bullying, legal obligations and the powers schools have to tackle bullying, and the principles which underpin the most effective anti-bullying strategies in schools. It also lists further resources through which school staff can access specialist information on the specific issues that they face.
- Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England. January 2015
The overall legislation governing the exclusion process remains unchanged. Regulations have been amended to clarify that governing bodies' duty to arrange education from the sixth day of a fixed period exclusion would be triggered by consecutive fixed period exclusions totalling more than five days.
Statutory guidance has been updated in a small number of areas, in particular to provide greater confidence to headteachers on their use of exclusion and greater clarity to independent review panels and governing bodies on their consideration of exclusion decisions
- The statutory policy list is still September 2014.
- School Admissions Code 2014- 19