BASG February 2021 Newsletter No.2

AGM
We were delighted to welcome over 70 governors at our AGM on 14 January 2021. Our Chair, Paul Randall, led
the meeting on MS Teams to report on the annual accounts, elections to the Executive Committee and the
considerable volume of BASG activity during 2020. With great pride and respect we welcomed the keynote
speaker, Emma Knights OBE, Chief Executive of NGA, who spoke with passion and understanding about the role
of governors in today’s world. Emma answered a variety of questions from attendees, covering topics linked to:
• Recruitment
• Funding
• Diversity of Boards
• Localism
• Safeguarding
• Academy Conversions
• Remote Education
• Service Providers

The AGM extended a warm welcome also to two new members of the Executive Committee, Andrew Brown and
Martin Baxter. Andrew has served on Governing Boards in Buckinghamshire Schools for over 20 years. Currently he is Chair of Governors at Chiltern Hills Academy in Chesham. He is a member of the School Governance
Consultative Board at Buckinghamshire Council and in his spare time he enjoys singing in choirs and Scottish
Country Dancing. Martin is Chair at Turnfurlong Junior School and a Trustee of the Aylesbury Learning
Partnership, a co-operative trust of maintained schools. He taught in two schools before a career in several local
authorities, mostly concerned with teaching and school improvement. Martin has engaged in UK and
international projects on school leadership and curriculum development and has seen governance from many
angles. Both Andrew and Martin are passionate about governance and we look forward to the valued
contributions and expertise they will bring to BASG.

BASG Activity 2020
To capture just some of the work taking place to support Governors across the County:
• Regular scheduled meetings with members of the Buckinghamshire Council Education Team
• Ensuring that Local Authority communications linked to Leadership & Management in schools are sent
directly to Chairs of Governors to share with their Boards
• Working with the Local Authority to continue the fully funded membership of NGA for all maintained
schools, providing governors with immediate access to this professional organization for guidance,
training and governor support
• The launch of our new website http://www.bucksgovernors.org/, with a special thank you to Tomas
Pukalski, Director of Framework Digital in Aylesbury, who made this possible
• Keeping up our social media presence on Twitter @BucksGovernors and Facebook, for which we are
grateful to our dedicated Duke of Edinburgh’s Award student, who also happens to be the daughter of
the Chair. Please give us a follow and like, share and comment on our posts. Join the Facebook group and
sign up to our mailing list via the website to stay fully connected to the governor community
• Highlighting training needs for governors, resulting in on-line training sessions led by Local Authority
specialists. The sessions have been very well attended and will continue into 2021
• BASG representatives continue to attend the School Governance Consultative Board, which meets
quarterly and is attended by senior LA officers and elected Members. The SGCB is currently chaired by
Peter Lerner, Safeguarding and Equalities governor at Lane End Primary School
• Representatives from BASG also attend Side by Side meetings to support the Local Authority in the drive
for school improvement in Buckinghamshire
• Organising and chairing the Local Networking Groups, which although can no longer meet face to face,
continue to flourish via Zoom or MS Teams
• It is hoped that mentoring for new Chairs will launch this year to develop further robust, effective and
passionate governance throughout Buckinghamshire.

BASG Executive Committee hard at work at our most recent meeting on 1 February:

 

Visible Governance
“Good governance is not just an insurance policy that picks up the pieces when things have gone wrong; it is a
central component of a successful organization”. (NGA)

With over 300,000 governors in the UK, NGA is promoting a campaign to bring governance further into the
limelight. Please use the link below to find out how you can support this campaign to achieve a higher profile
and better understanding of governance, and further improve the lives of children and their communities.
https://www.nga.org.uk/Membership/NGA-Magazine/PDFs/2020/March-2020/Making-Governance-Visible.aspx

Networking Groups
As mentioned above, Local Networking Groups continue across the county. Governors come together to discuss
issues and to share thoughts and concerns on local and national agendas. We aim for a member of the BASG
Executive Committee to attend each meeting so that key points can be dovetailed into other meetings such as
the School Governance Consultative Board. The following dates remain for this term:

• 17 February 2021: the newly resurrected Chesham, Amersham, Wendover and Great Missenden group
for chairs and vice-chairs will meet from 19:00 to 21:00 via MS Teams. Please contact Andrew Brown
abrown1@chacademy.co.uk if you would like to attend
• 20 March 2021: South Bucks area group (known as Jordans) for chairs, vice-chairs and committee chairs
will meet at 10:00 via MS Teams. Please contact Anne Sheddick anne.sheddick@gmail.com to attend
• 23 March 2021: the Aylesbury group, open to all governors, will meet at 19:00. Please contact Martin
Baxter mbaxter@turnfurlongmiddle.bucks.sch.uk to attend

At the last Aylesbury networking group, discussion took place on how challenging it is to address the ‘Wellbeing
need in schools when we are remote, it being more difficult to pick-up the vibes. One school had established a
COVID committee and in another, governors had online discussions with middle leaders to gauge a sense of
wellbeing and how the school had adapted to new expectations. We ask governors to reflect on the culture of
Wellbeing that exists in their school or Trust. The NGA has provided an evaluation tool which invites participants
to reflect on the approach taken towards staff wellbeing at both board and operational level:
https://www.nga.org.uk/Knowledge-Centre/Best-use-of-Resources/Staffing/Teacher-workload-andwellbeing/Promoting-wellbeing-an-evaluation-tool-for-governi.aspx

Governor Training and Events
The training events provided by Buckinghamshire Council have been very well attended and further sessions are
in the planning as we speak – dates will be posted on our website as soon as they are available. Other upcoming
events are already available to browse on the website – please take a look http://www.bucksgovernors.org/

NGA
As mentioned above, we are delighted that Buckinghamshire Council has again funded membership of NGA for
all maintained schools, with a reduced price option for academies. Membership includes:

• copies of Governing Matters magazine sent to the home of three governors and a copy to the school
• a weekly e-newsletter featuring the latest education news and policy updates
• full access to members-only content in our online Knowledge Centre containing a wealth of governance
resources
• NGA guides available at a discounted rate
• a free place at NGA member conferences and events which draw high-profile speakers
Learning Link that provides comprehensive training for governors, trustees, chairs and clerks on the full
range of their responsibilities

This year there have also been on-going additions of webinars to further support governing boards:
https://www.nga.org.uk/News/Webinars.aspx

NASEN (National Association for Special Educational Needs)

Back in September last year, NASEN announced an exciting change to their membership offer in that it was to
become FREE for all individuals across the UK. We are delighted to confirm that this free membership is now
available! To access the new offer, you just need to activate your account
NASEN are committed to ensuring that expertise in SEND is available to each and every school and setting across
the UK. This is more important now than ever before as the impact of the pandemic creates continued social
upheaval for families and the education workforce. Benefits of membership include:
• Up-to-date knowledge and support rooted in research and evidence-informed best practice to empower
the workforce to become effective, inclusive practitioners
• Exclusive online access to NASEN Connect magazine six times a year, packed with advice and analysis
impacting on the SEND workforce
• Updates from the Whole School SEND Consortium, hosted by NASEN, including access to free resources
such as the Whole School SEND Review Guides, research, ‘What Works’ signposting and CPDL training
programme, including webinars
• Easy-to-access information through NASEN’s e-communications, developed by the specialist in-house
education team. This includes a monthly member newsletter, resource news blasts, sector newsflash,
topical resources, articles and discounts on training and CPDL
We would recommend a visit to the NASEN SEND Gateway www.sendgateway.org.uk, which has recently
received a makeover and continues to be the one-stop shop for all things SEND. To find out more, visit www.nasen.org.uk or e-mail membership@nasen.org.uk

Competition!
NASEN have published an excellent new handbook and practical guide to support Governing Boards, SEND
Governors and SENDCOs; essential reading for all SEND Governors.

“The Governance Handbook for SEND and Inclusion” By Adam Boddison, Routledge, 2021

Four free copies of the book are available on a first come first served basis, thanks to the generosity of Emma
Knights at the NGA. To win a copy, please send an email to Paul Randall pauljrandall@btinternet.com, giving
details of your role as a Governor, the school(s) where you serve and your home address. The first four people
to email will receive a free copy of the book via Amazon.

Acknowledging the work of schools
As a final item, we think it is important to dedicate a few words in recognition of the efforts of all those working
in schools this past year. Leaders have shown clarity and care in prioritising the well-being of the school
community, taking potentially life-saving decisions based on rapidly changing information and guidance. The
teaching and learning support staff have risen to the challenge of managing on-site provision for children in
attendance whilst working incredibly hard to provide learning materials for the children at home. It goes without
saying that schools have only been able to stay open at all thanks to the commitment of site teams and nonteaching staff in keeping the school environments safe, clean and running efficiently. There cannot have been a
more difficult time through which to update and reassure parents, children and colleagues – the circumstances
have been anxious for all concerned and emotional energy has been stretched thinly. As governors, we are
proud and inspired by the professionalism and dedication of the school community and we remain committed to
supporting them in the work they lead.

BASG – AGM with Emma Knight OBE Chief Executive of the NGA

We are delighted to invite all school governors, school leaders and clerks to join us at our AGM

This will be held on Thursday 14th January 2021 at 5pm.

The AGM will be held virtually. Information on how to join the event and the meeting etiquette will be sent to you one week prior to the event.

Tickets are available via Eventbrite

Special guest and speaker Emma Knights OBE Chief Executive of the NGA

Emma Knights, OBE Chief executive of the National Governance Association

Emma leads the organisation under the direction of NGA’s board of trustees.

As chief executive of the National Governance Association (NGA), Emma Knights leads the charity to fulfil its aim of improving the educational standards and wellbeing of young people by increasing the effectiveness of governing boards in maintained schools and academy trusts and oversees the day-to-day operations of the organisation.

Emma promotes the interests of the school governance community and amplifies the voice of NGA’s members at a national level with legislators, policymakers, education sector organisations and in the media.

Emma is an accomplished writer and speaker on a range of school governance policy and practice topics, and has a particular interest in vision, culture and strategy; accountability; stakeholder engagement; disadvantage; ethical leadership; and diversity and inclusion. Emma is co-author of The Chair’s Handbook and NGA’s Moving MATs Forward: the power of governance report. Prior to joining NGA in 2010, Emma was joint CEO of the Daycare Trust and before that, worked in a number of roles in the voluntary sector. She was a governor at a secondary school in Warwickshire for eight years.

Working across the education sector, Emma has recently participated in the Department for Education’s headteacher standards review group, NAHT’s accountability commission, the Department for Education’s flexible working advisory group, and the Ethical Leadership Commission, and has previously sat on the Commission on Religious Education and the Knowsley Education Commission.

Under Emma’s leadership since 2010, NGA has grown to become the leading expert charity for guidance, research, advice and training for school governors, trustees and clerks, with over 40 staff and a strong presence in the education sector

AGM Timings are:

17.00 – 17.30 – AGM

17.30 – 18.00 – Guest Speaker – Emma Knights

18.00 – 18.15 – Questions for Emma Knights

Executive Director Briefings January 2021 – register your place

Executive Director Briefings, Spring 2021

The next Executive Director Briefings are scheduled for the first week in January, please register your place using the Eventbrite links below:

Wed 6th January 9.30am MS Teams
Thu 7th January 6.30pm MS Teams

 

Hazel David

School Improvement Team

Children’s Services

 

Buckinghamshire Council

4th Floor, County Hall

Walton Street

Aylesbury,

HP20 1UZ

Proposed Christmas INSET 18th December

Sent on behalf of Simon James, Service Director Education and Gareth Drawmer, Head of Service Achievement & Learning

Dear Colleagues,

I am sure that you will all now be aware of the government announcement on Tuesday for schools to consider closing on the 18th December. The guidance that has been issued is clear, that schools may consider voluntarily closing on the 18th December to ensure that, given the time it takes for Covid to present in individuals, any tracing activity that needs to be completed by a school will be closed by the 23rd December. It is clear in the guidance that this is a voluntary choice presented to schools and there is no obligation for you to do this. Clearly the consequence of choosing not to do this may mean that school leaders could be contacted on Christmas Eve to facilitate track and trace.

If you do choose to move an INSET day we are aware of the significant consequences of this action. You will have planned your staff training for the year and may have commissioned external trainers to deliver the sessions. Many of you will have front loaded your days this year due to the challenging nature of the autumn term and you may not have the option to move a day. You may also not be in a position to deliver training to staff on the 18th due to the short timeframe of the announcement.

We would therefore suggest the following options for you to consider when making your decision:

If taking the 18th as a training day

  • Consider disaggregating the time from the day and spreading it across the remainder of the academic year as twilight training sessions to cover the hours from the day.
  • Where possible take out a training day from this academic year to compensate for the December date.
  • Remember that moving an already published INSET day may have consequences for families who have planned holidays around that day and to reassure them that they will not be penalised for following through with their plans.
  • If you have no available INSET days that you can flexibly move – consider a variation to a term date to compensate for the additional day. The most natural point for this would be to extend the summer term for a day, closing on Thursday 22nd July

If not taking the 18th as a training day

  • Consider the impact on staff with regard for childcare on that day if their child’s school is closing
  • Ensure that you have robust plans in place for track and trace support if needed on Christmas Eve
  • Consider taking the day as a remote learning day for the school with appropriate levels of activity for pupils for the day.

As always we are happy to discuss any issues that you may have and to support you in your decision making. We are aware of the time pressure for decisions to be made and we hope that our position as set out above is helpful to you and your leadership teams.

Warm regards,

Simon & Gareth

Governor Training – Places still available

Dear Colleagues,

We still have places available on the evening sessions as per the attached list.  Book your place using the Eventbrite link and you will receive a confirmation email. Apologies for having to cancel a couple of sessions but this has been unavoidable.

Governor training programme Nov 2020

All sessions are conducted using Teams, so please ensure the device you plan to use is compatible prior to the start of the session.  Once registered a link will be sent to you 24 hours before the session. If you do not receive the link contact me at schoolgovernance@buckinghamshire.gov.uk It is recommended you test the link before the session starts.

Some sessions have documentation to be sent out prior to or after the date, if you are not registered on Eventbrite you will not receive this information. Also, if we have to make changes to a session and you have not registered you will not be contacted.

We have not yet finalised any dates for the Spring term but will be in contact as soon as possible.

Regards,

Hazel

Hazel David

School Improvement Team

Children’s Services

Buckinghamshire Council

4th Floor, County Hall

Walton Street

Aylesbury,

HP20 1UZ

 

Hazel.David@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

For COVID-19 updates visit: https://schoolsweb.buckscc.gov.uk/covid-19-corona-virus-latest-advice/

Chairs’s Networking Opportunity – Jordans – Saturday 7th November 2020 at 9.30am

Dear everyone

Welcome to the invite for this term’s Jordan’s meeting.  We decided to delay our meeting to just after half term in the hope that as we would be preoccupied with the immediacy of full school return there would be more certainty about the future by now in troubled times.  Well,  in some sense there is now ;- we know we are going to be in a COVID world of ‘bubbles’ and now ‘tiers’ and also tears (sorry – pun intended!) for the long haul.

This of course presents challenges for how to do governance within this new normal.  We now have to do all the governance stuff that was put on the ‘back burner’  last spring.  So it seems timely to be sharing our ideas and experiences in the light of DFE/NGA advice received of how we are doing this, what is happening in our schools so we can raise questions, share concerns and build on local good practice.
Jordans Chairs Group Meeting

Saturday 7th November 2020 9.30-10.45am via MS Teams

Click here to join the meeting

As ever we have put together a loose topic led agenda to inform the discussion:

1. Staying Strategic in current times

2. Focus of your Boards Agenda’s and Headteacher Reports on areas of focus for your schools

3. Remote Education

4. High Needs Update

5. Headteachers Standards updated

6. Ofsted!

7. Free school Meals – Christmas/Easter holidays?

Please can you email me (ASheddick@carringtonjs.co.uk) if you would like to share any experiences, raise questions  by anything on the list in advance of the meeting as this will aid chairing the meeting on-line.

Please do invite any other chairs/Vice chairs with whom you are in touch

The meeting will be on MS teams and the invite link is here:  Click here to join the meeting

Anne Sheddick
ASheddick@carringtonjs.co.uk

Governor Training Programme Autumn 2020 – update

Dear Colleagues,

 

Due to GDPR protocol we are unable to ask participants to sign in online, so I have created Eventbrite sessions for each date. Please register if you wish to attend.

 

Topic Date Time Day Eventbrite Link
Welcome to Buckinghamshire 16th Sept 18.30 – 19.30 Wed Welcome to Buckinghamshire

 

The Primary Governor’s Role in School Improvement 22nd Sept 18.30 – 19.30 Tue The Primary Governor’s Role in School Improvement

 

The Secondary Governor’s Role in School Improvement 1st Oct 18.30 – 19.30 Thu The Secondary Governor’s Role in School Improvement

 

Prevent Duty – Guidance for Governors 6th Oct 18.30 – 19.30 Tue PREVENT Duty – Guidance for Governors

 

The Role of the Governing Board 7th Oct 18.30 – 19.30 Wed The Role of the Governing Board

 

Developing Relationships with the Senior Leadership Team 14th Oct 18.30 – 19.30 Wed Developing Relationships with the Senior Leadership Team

 

Public Health Guidance and COVID-19 Updates for Governors 20th Oct 18.30 – 19.30 Tue Public Health Guidelines and COVID-19 Updates for Governors

 

 

I shall send out the Teams links again, closer to the dates.

 

Governor training programme for the Autumn 2020 term

 

Teams Instructions For Particpants

 

If you have any queries regarding the training sessions please contact schoolgovernance@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

 

Regards,

Hazel

 

Hazel David

School Improvement Team

Children’s Services

 

Buckinghamshire Council

4th Floor, County Hall

Walton Street

Aylesbury,

HP20 1UZ

Governor Training Programme Autumn 2020

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the School Improvement Team have compiled a training programme for Governors for the Autumn term.  This is free to all Buckinghamshire school governors.  Further details, including links to the online sessions, are attached.

Governor training programme for the Autumn 2020 term

Teams Instructions For Particpants

As the meetings are online there is no need to book, however, if you require notes or documentation from the meeting you will be asked to sign in, providing your name, school, role and email address.

The meetings will be conducted using MS Teams and instructions for participants are attached.

If you have any queries regarding the briefings please contact schoolgovernance@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

Regards,

Hazel

 

Hazel David

School Improvement Team

Children’s Services

 

Buckinghamshire Council

4th Floor, County Hall

Walton Street

Aylesbury,

HP20 1UZ

Postponed: BASG Spring Networking and Conference Spotlight on Disadvantaged

Based on the government’s declaration that the Coronavirus (COVID -19) is a public health emergency with increasing concerns, we at Buckinghamshire Association of School Governors have taken the decision to postpone our Spring Networking and Conference Spotlight on Disadvantaged. We feel that this decision is the most sensibly one based on the current unprecedented situation that continues to develop in this country and worldwide.

We will work hard over the next week or two to rearrange a suitable date that works for the National Governance Association and their speaker as well as the venue school, Booker Park Community School and send details out to you once this has been done.

In the meantime, there is no need for you to do anything regarding your booking on Eventbrite. You will be automatically booked onto the new date when announced and can make any changes to your booking preferences then.

Meanwhile keep safe in these uncertain times.

Autism Conference on 23rd March 2020

I am hosting a day Conference on Autism on behalf of Joint Commissioning and the SEN Team on 23rd March at Green Park in Aston Clinton.
It is the second time we have run this and it was well received last year.
I was wondering if you thought your SEND Governors or Chairs of Governors might be interested in attending? The programme is around autism friendly schools including the sensory classroom and autism in girls with Guest speaker Gareth Morewood and two local Special School head Teachers, Alison Rooney and Tara Deakes.

The conference is £49 and lunch is included. Booking is via Eventbrite.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/buckinghamshire-autism-conference-2020-for-sendcos-tickets-85758817933

We would be very grateful if you could circulate the information to your governing contacts

Kind regards

SarahTilston

Sarah Tilston
Designated Clinical Officer for SEND
Autism Champion
Buckinghamshire County Council
Tuesday – Thursday 9:00 – 17:00
County Hall
Walton Street, Aylesbury, HP10 1UA
stilston@buckscc.gov.uk
sarah.tilston@nhs.net
DCO@buckscc.gov.uk

Please note that I am part-time and I don’t usually work Mondays and Fridays.