Keeping schools safe during the COVID-19 outbreak: monitoring priorities for governing boards Updated 20 January 2022

Department for Education (DfE) operational guidance for schools and the accompanying contingency framework explain the actions school leaders should take to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The guidance has been updated to align with Plan B restrictions being lifted.


Area Chairs Meetings – new dates available

Governor Networking Meetings

Chairs and Vice Chairs have opportunities to network and learn from how others are tackling current challenges at three different meetings.  Please contact the organiser of the one you would like to attend for more details.  All will be held online.

Corporate Director Briefings January 2022

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you to all who were able to attend the briefings last week, please find attached the presentation and recording.

CD Briefings Presentation Jan 2022

Kind regards,


Hazel David

School Improvement Team

Children’s Services

Keeping schools safe during the COVID-19 outbreak: monitoring priorities for governing boards Spring Term 2022 – NGA Information

Keeping schools safe during the COVID-19 outbreak:
monitoring priorities for governing boards

Updated 4 January 2022

Department for Education (DfE) operational guidance for schools and the accompanying contingency framework explain the actions school leaders should take to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The guidance has been updated in line with upweighted (plan B) control measures.



This information sheet:

  • summarises the current control measures in place in schools (in response to updated DfE guidance)
  • describes the monitoring priorities that NGA recommends governing boards focus on
  • provides example questions to ask of executive leaders

Governing boards should assure themselves that their school or trust plans have been updated to reflect recent changes to DfE guidance. Our information sheet describes key areas of focus for governing boards to structure their discussions around.

We also advise that governing board meetings and governor/trustee visits should be conducted remotely during this period. Guidance on virtual governance and conducting remote meetings is available on our Knowledge Centre

BESST Newsletter for Governors No.7

Dear Governors,

We are pleased to inform you we have several training sessions available in the Spring term.  The training is scheduled in the evening, 1 hour* from 6.30pm, vis TEAMs.  See the attached document with further details, costs and how to book your place.  Topics include:

  • Governor Priorities – Spring Term Agendas with BASG
  • Preparing for an Ofsted Inspection – a guide for governors
  • Financial Accountability for Governors*
  • The Role of the Chair and Succession Planning
  • The Role of the PSHE Governor
  • Promoting Pupil Wellbeing
  • Embedding Equality and Diversity in Your School

*This session is 1.5 hours and ends at 8pm

BESST newsletter for Governors 2021-22 edition 7 – Word Version

We are currently planning more sessions to offer in March 2022, so look out for updates from the BESST team in your inbox and on Governor Times.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The BESST Team

Governor Times December 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Governor Times is available for all school governors in Bucks, the pages show articles posted by Buckinghamshire Council teams.  You do not need to log in to read articles, although you will be required to log in if you wish to book on courses and see selected pages in Governor Zone.

The link for the Governor Times is here: Governor Times

If you experience any problems with your log in please contact

News of training sessions for the Spring term will be sent out imminently, so please watch out for messages from the BESST team.

Merry Christmas!

Kind regards,

Hazel David

School Improvement Team

Children’s Services

The Buckinghamshire Challenge – Update for Chairs of Governors.


Dear Chairs of Governors,

Update on The Buckinghamshire Challenge.

We wrote to you at the beginning of term to let you know our plans regarding The Buckinghamshire Challenge for 2021/22 (copy of letter attached above).  We now wanted to remind you of the offer and provide an update on progress of the project to date.

The Aims of the Programme:

For all schools across Buckinghamshire:

  1. to understand the impact of educational disadvantage on their own pupils,
  2. to understand how to best address long term disadvantage and the challenge of the pandemic on pupil attainment in their own schools,
  3. to build a long term, sustainable, schools-led source of knowledge, experience and application in raising attainment for disadvantaged pupils in Buckinghamshire.

Offer to Schools:

The Universal Offer – A conference and workshop programme for all schools in Buckinghamshire. Schools were asked to sign up to be part of the programme and nominate a member of staff to attend all 6 sessions throughout the academic year, committing to undertaking the required intersessional tasks and disseminating the learning throughout their school.

Output – all participating schools will have robust strategies for addressing disadvantage.

The Targeted Offer – Focused support for one school per liaison group, who will cascade experience and support throughout the local area.

Output – the development of a network of skilled and expert Side by Side Disadvantaged Champion Schools across the county, who have successfully implemented strategies for addressing disadvantage in their own schools. These Side by Side Disadvantaged Champion Schools will provide a long term, sustainable, schools-led source of knowledge, experience and application in raising attainment for disadvantaged pupils in Buckinghamshire, targeted at (but not limited to) supporting schools within their liaison group

Project Update:

  1. 145 schools signed up for the Universal Offer, with over 200 members of staff committing to attend the sessions.
  2. The first conference (1st October) and the first workshop (1st November) have taken place with the theme of Lessons Learnt, Culture, Curriculum and Assessment.
  3. Attendance at the conference was generally positive with 75% of nominated leads in attendance, although attendance at the workshop was lighter with only 57% of nominated leads attending.
  4. Feedback from both sessions has been extremely positive, with comments including: thought-provoking, fantastic starting point, passionate & knowledgeable speakers, great practical solutions and great to hear about other school’s experience.
  5. Disadvantaged Champion Schools have now been nominated in almost all liaison groups, and provide an excellent mix of schools age phases, size and pupil demographics.
  6. Liaison Group project funding has been confirmed and these influential local area research projects will be focused on raising the attainment for disadvantaged pupils and will be led by the Disadvantaged Champion School.


The Buckinghamshire Challenge Board ask that you support all schools who are actively participating in the universal programme to attend for all of the four remaining sessions throughout the year and ensure that opportunities for dissemination of the learning, from the school’s nominated lead to all staff members, are provided.  For schools who did not sign up for the project, there will still be opportunities to engage through their local Disadvantaged Champion School, the liaison group projects and participation at next year’s final conference.

This project is a comprehensive, research-based programme of support and, working together, will help us to collectively raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils, both for now and the future.

1.Newsletter1 FINAL

Buckinghamshire Challenge Board Programme FINAL

Thank you for your support, and please do contact us with any questions or suggestions.

Kind regards,

The Buckinghamshire Challenge Board

DfE funded training now available

Deliver the best learning outcomes within your budget with free ICFP webinars

As a school governor, it’s your responsibility to lead the strategic direction of your school. Doing this effectively requires a competent understanding of what you can spend and how best to allocate the resources available to you, so that your pupils can thrive.

Entrust will once again be delivering a series of Department for Education (DfE) funded webinars to help you achieve this goal. The sessions are free and cover a variety of integrated curriculum and financial planning (ICFP) topics, whether you need a handy refresher or are new to your role.

We offer the following webinars:

•    ICFP metrics
​​​​​A practical working session that looks at the key benchmarking metrics and what they mean for your school.

•    ICFP tools 
This webinar covers the ICFP tools available for free on the DfE’s website, and how they can be used in your school setting.

•    Estates management 
New this year, this session explores the key areas of the DfE’s ‘Good Estate Management for Schools’ guide, including compliance, safeguarding, condition, suitability and sufficiency.

•    Procurement 
We’ll take you through a practical case study to explore the DfE’s procurement framework and the tools that can be used to support the procurement process.

•    Joint working 
This webinar will help your school business professionals to work collaboratively together and build key relationships within the senior leadership team to achieve strategic goals and objectives.

•    Benchmarking 
An introduction to benchmarking, its many benefits and where it’s been used successfully, using the DfE’s ‘Schools Financial Benchmarking Service’ and ‘View My Financial Insights’ tools.

For more details, or to book your spot, please visit:


Specialist Teaching Consultation 2021


Buckinghamshire Council logo

Closes 9th January 2022

Opened 8 Nov 2021

What is the purpose of this consultation?

We are consulting on our proposal to modernise the way we provide specialist teaching across Buckinghamshire. Our proposal is designed to ensure we apply the skills and knowledge of our specialist teachers in the most effective way. We want all pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to receive high-quality education and ensure they can achieve the best possible outcomes.

What is specialist teaching?

The specialist teachers within Buckinghamshire Council are part of our Integrated SEND Service. They offer support and specialist knowledge so that children and young people with SEND are able to learn and achieve their personal best in education. Specialist teachers work with schools, parents, and other agencies to support children with a range of needs.

Which forms of specialist teaching does the proposal cover?

The proposal covers specialist teaching for children and young people with:

  • Autism and language needs
  • Difficulties with understanding, including Down Syndrome and specific learning difficulties
  • Physical difficulties

The proposal does not cover specialist teaching for children and young people with sensory impairments – hearing, visual or multi-sensory.

Reasons for proposing change

  • To reach more children and young people with SEND. Currently, only those with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) receive specialist teaching support. This means that many children and young people are not able to access the Council’s specialist teaching resource, and opportunities for early intervention are lost.
  • To introduce a new and improved approach. This approach is based on research findings, best practice and what we have seen work well in other areas of the country.
  • To make best use of our specialist teaching resource. Our proposal is not about cutting the service and there are no plans to reduce the overall level of resource. It is about a different way of providing specialist teaching to more pupils, using the resources we have.

The proposal

To understand the full detail of our proposal, you will need to read the Specialist Teaching Proposal document below. It is also available to view and download at the bottom of this page

How to provide feedback

You can get involved in the consultation by:

  • Completing the online survey below (a printed version of the survey is available at the bottom of this page for download or you can contact us to request a printed copy)
  • Registering to attend one of our online consultation events by emailing us on or phoning us on 0300 131 6000. We are holding these on the following dates:
    • Tuesday 16 November, 7-8pm
    • Tuesday 23 November, 11.30am–12.30pm
    • Friday 26 November, 11am–12pm

What happens next

We will review all the feedback we receive to guide us in making any relevant changes to the draft proposal. The final proposal will then go to senior leadership within the Council for approval before we publish it on our Specialist teachers webpage and start to promote it. We will update this page with the outcome of the consultation process.

Dependent on feedback and approval, a new specialist teaching approach would be implemented step-by-step over a period of time, starting from September 2022.


We will use the information you provide here only for the purpose of this consultation. We will keep the information confidential and store it securely, in line with data protection laws and will not share or publish any personal details. For more information about data and privacy, please see our Privacy Policy.

If you have questions, please email us on or write to our Data Protection Officer at Buckinghamshire Council, The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, HP19 8FF.


Specialist Teaching Consultation 2021 – Your Voice Bucks – Citizen Space

Training for Governors November/December 2021

Dear Governors,

There are places available on our 3 remaining governor training sessions for this term.  All sessions are virtual, using Teams and they are 1 hour, 6.30pm to 7.30pm.  The training costs £25 per person and we are able to offer a discount to bulk bookings per school.  To book your place please follow the links highlighted below:

  1. Supporting your School during the Ofsted Inspection – Tuesday 23rd November. During the Ofsted inspection the governing board or academy committee will be expected to meet with inspectors and to answer questions about the effectiveness of their school. During this session we will use insights from the latest Ofsted framework, our discussions with our local HMI and our experience of Ofsted inspections across Buckinghamshire this academic year to help you to get prepared for an inspection. A key session for governors of primary, secondary and special schools. For more information and booking please click here


  1. Completing Your Pupil Premium Strategy Statement – Thursday 25th November. With a deadline of the 31st December to complete the new DfE Pupil Premium Strategy Statement, this session will take governors through some key points to consider when reviewing the document. A key session for the Pupil Premium Governor, you will understand how schools must evidence how their Pupil Premium money is spent and demonstrate how spending decisions are informed by research evidence. For more information and booking please click here


  1. Building an Effective Board – A Guide for Development Governors – Thursday 2nd December. This training session, delivered by the BASG, will provide an update on what boards need to do to support the upskilling of governors and the development of their boards, and will signpost to available resources and training. A very useful session for all Development Governors who will understand how to make cost effective choices that ensure your board is kept up to date. For more information and booking please click here

We would be grateful if you could disseminate this information to the relevant governors on your board.

If you experience any problems with the booking system contact me at


Hazel David

School Improvement Team

Children’s Services