Welcome back message

Sent on behalf of Simon James, Service Director, Education

Dear Colleagues,

Please see the document attached.

210901 Welcome Back Headteachers September 21

Many thanks

Simon James

Service Director, Education

Wellbeing governors

Our campaign ‘Wellbeing Governors’ ran from September 2020 to July 2021. The campaign aimed to showcase the importance of looking after the mental health of all those in the school community – and the impact a link governor for wellbeing could make.

Each term, we focused on the different people in the school community governors could impact. In term 1, we promoted pupil mental health and wellbeing, in term 2 we helped equip governors to support school staff wellbeing, and in term 3 we focused on physically active schools and the connection between physical and mental health.



Resources for pupil wellbeing

Access resources, read blogs, and watch videos with experts to support your school’s mental health and wellbeing provision for pupils. These resources are intended for both link governors for wellbeing, and all those with an interest in supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Resources for staff wellbeing

Access resources to help make sure your school is prioritising mental health and wellbeing in the most effective way. These resources focus on school staff’s mental health and wellbeing, and the effect this has had on schools and volunteers.

Resources for physical health and wellbeing

Access resources to explore the links between physical activity levels in schools and positive mental health, improved behaviour and engagement, and higher educational attainment.

Wellbeing Governors: children’s and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is the first of three eLearning modules created as part of our Wellbeing Governors campaign. It looks at some of the most common mental health issues that children and young people experience and what school leaders and governors can do to promote wellbeing and improve mental health in schools. This eLearning is relevant to governors in all jurisdictions.

Start course

What do wellbeing governors do – and who can become one?

Link governors for wellbeing keep mental health and wellbeing on the agenda at their school. It’s their role to support a whole school approach to mental health and to provide the link between the school and governing board.  

Read more about the roleYou don’t need any specific training or expertise to be a wellbeing governor.  

Use our free resources and guidance to find out everything you need to know about the role.

Pupil wellbeing resources – an overview 

Staff wellbeing resources – an overview


Why do school boards need wellbeing governors?

Wellbeing governors have a varied role, but their main responsibilities include…  

  • Making sure the school has appropriate mental health policies in place which are reviewed regularly
  • Acting as the link between the governing board and staff members, updating the board on how mental health and wellbeing support for staff and pupils is implemented 
  • Making sure that the school’s strategic plan includes improving, supporting, and responding to pupils’ and staff’s mental health

Apply to become a governor

Governors for Schools Conference 2021

Join us at the first Governors for School Conference, taking place from 20th – 24th September 2021. Across 5 days, we’ll host over 20 free online sessions to watch live, with key voices in the sector and expert panellists sharing their insight.

5 days of talks and workshops for governors, schools, and partners

Each day will explore a variety of topical governance and education related issues, from skills development, to the future of the role itself.

Find out more about each session and book your place to attend from the programme below.

The session names on the programme are linked, so click the title to sign up via Zoom.

Conference Programme

Click the session name to sign up via Zoom.

To find the session most pertinent to your role, download a curated programme from the links below:

Governor and governance professionals

Chair of Governors

Corporate partner

University partner

School staff

Prospective governor

Message to all Headteachers from Integrated SEND Service


Dear all,

We are approaching the end of term, and I wanted to ensure that I write out to you all before schools officially close this week.

I want to thank you for all of your hard work over this past year enabling children and young people with special educational needs to work towards increasingly aspirational and stretching outcomes.  It has not been an easy year; we have dealt with more change and churn both professionally and personally given the circumstances linked to the pandemic than ever before.  I have been impressed by the creative measures taken to support our children and families during this time, and the renewed focus of collaboration, co-production and mutual respect and recognition developing between schools and the Local Authority when it comes to this area.

We have seen a real ‘spike’ in presenting need which has put huge pressure on you all, on my service of psychologists, teachers and EHC coordinators, and on other services, and most significantly the families we serve.  I have personally felt inspired and grateful for the opportunity to work closely with school leaders and other leaders across the local area on collaborative solutions to address the issues we are collectively facing, and am looking forward to doing this further in the future.

The Buckinghamshire SEND Local Offer

We have had a revamp of our Local Offer, working with families, schools and professionals to ensure information is presented in a more user-friendly manner.  Please ensure you signpost young people and families, as well as other professionals, to this site, as it contains a real wealth of support and advice for families.  A link to a useful video is below, and if this could be added to your parent newsletters in September, I would be most grateful:



Shout Out For SEND CYP Conference 13th October 9.30am-2.30pm at The Caledonian Suite, Adams Park, High Wycombe

On 13th October, we will be delivering our Preparation for Adulthood Shout out for SEND conference, which involves key post 16 providers across Buckinghamshire Local Area. It is an exciting opportunity for young people with SEND to learn more about the options available by subject matter experts and share key messages with their peers.  Please note, this conference is for Year 9 and above students only, with the invite attached.  Please get booking places as soon as possible!

CYP Conference SEND Letter Invite FINAL July 2021

The following providers will be delivering workshops:

Adviza: Will be provide impartial careers advice and guidance to young people by providing them with a bespoke package of comprehensive information about apprenticeships.

Schools can access a variety of support including:

  • Student awareness sessions
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for teachers
  • Parents events (face to face and virtual)

ASK Apprenticeships | Adviza

Bucks New University:  Widening participation: Interactive workshops on the day. Student Ambassadors will also support as it supports young people with their lived experience.

Talkback: Volunteering and work experience

Bucks College Group: Options at College and sixth form

Stoney Dean: Delivering sessions surrounding the options on Supported Internships and meeting other young people currently completing Supported Internships.

BuDs: Raising awareness and options available surrounding supported Internships

Young people will be allocated workshops that interest them based on recommendations with their school.

Education, Health and Care Plans

EHCP rates (Schools’ Census Jan 21):

  • Bucks has increased 0.3% from 3.5% to 3.8%
  • England and the SE region have both increased 0.4% to 3.7% and 3.9% respectively.
  • Bucks is now ranked in the middle of our Statistical Neighbours – 6th out of 11.  Historically, Bucks had higher %s that both national and the SE region, but we are now more in line with these markers.

EHC Needs Assessments

We have seen a sharp increase this term in the number of requests coming through for EHC needs assessment; this is an increase of 18% for the same period (Jan – June) in 2020, and a 10% increase compared to 2019.  We have been working hard to meet the requirements of such an influx of the statutory services, and appreciate the pressures that schools are facing currently in relation to this.  We will continue to monitor this trend and update you further when possible to look at whether this is a continuing trend / what this increase relates to (e.g. effects of the pandemic).  We are working with Local Authorities across the south-eastern region to map this increase as well, given all authorities are seeing this significant increase currently.

In terms of compliance with 20 weeks for the full EHC plan process, we currently stand at meeting this in 84% cases for 2021.  The rate for last year in Buckinghamshire was 74% and nationally was 58%.  We are focusing further on the co-production of assessments, as well as the quality of EHC plans.  As part of this work to streamline the process and enable a greater focus on quality, we are introducing a new portal, that should make the submission of requests for EHC needs assessments easier.  Huge thanks to those schools that were a part of the pilot of this project over the last term.  SENCos have already been informed of the upcoming training (dates below) and the plan to roll out across the county subsequent to this training be delivered via the weekly SENCo updates sent out by iSEND Area Team Managers:

  • Aylesbury  23RD September  3:30 to 5:00pm
  • CSB  29TH September 3:30 to 5:00 pm
  • Wycombe  30th September 3:30 to 5:00

Annual Reviews

We currently have over 5200 children and young people with EHC Plans in Buckinghamshire.

We have had a significant effort on ensuring annual reviews are completed in as timely a way as possible, with SENCos and EHCCos working closer together than ever before.  We recognise that this is still a significant way to go on this area.  We are currently working on ensuring the data management system that now tracks this process is fully updated over the summer break, with a view to begin the regular reporting on this from the autumn term.  I am intending to write to Headteachers once a half-term with an update specifically on this area, following a discussion with the lead from the Aylesbury Headteachers liaison group to ensure you are all updated on the progress within this area.

Education SEND Sufficiency

The consultation in relation to Education SEND Sufficiency has now closed.  We have had a really large response rate into this, and would like to extend our huge thanks to all of you that have responded.  We will take time over this next few weeks to read the feedback carefully, with the aim to framing a strategy ready for sharing in the autumn term.

SEND Support Offer

SEN Support rates (Schools’ Census Jan 21:

  • Bucks has increased 0.1% from 10% to 10.1%
  • England has also increased by 0.1% to 12.2% and SE has increased by 0.2% to 12.2%
  • Bucks rate remains low compared to England and SE
  • Statistical neighbours have an average of 11.7%. Bucks is ranked 2nd lowest behind Wokingham at 9.5%

We still have some work to do in terms of early identification for those receiving SEND Support in schools.  We are working with the teaching school at Dr Challoner’s School for Boys to ensure that the training offer for schools on SEND is as comprehensive as possible.  This information will come out in September with a range of free and chargeable training sessions that we know will support school staff to support children, so please ensure that you look out for this and signpost staff accordingly.

Also from September, we will be proud to introduce our widening non-statutory EP offer, with further communication coming out then to let you know of the detail.  A public consultation will also be launched to look at the way we currently deliver specialist teaching, to see if a greater focus can be put on early intervention, so again, please look out for this and ensure you do respond with your thoughts.

Mental Health

One of the key areas requiring increasing attention is the support for mental health in schools, so am using this opportunity to signpost you to some developments in this area.

The Department for Education (DfE) is offering a senior member of school or college staff the opportunity to get a grant for training to develop the knowledge and skills to implement an effective whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing in their setting.

The grant is a contribution to the cost of training and the hiring of supply staff whilst leads are engaged in learning. We think this is a real opportunity not to be missed, so please follow the link below to ensure you are able to access this:


We have also commissioned the Primary PRU to extend their offer to a needs-led request for support, that now includes both children with or without EHCPs, so please do use this support as needed.

We are also very pleased to be opening in September 22 the new SEMH unit for students with EHCPs at the new Kingsbrook Secondary School in Aylesbury, with placements being agreed through the phase transfer process for Year 7s.

The Integrated SEND Service

We have had some changes to staff this term as you may be aware.  We will be updating schoolsweb over the summer holidays so that all is in place and accurate, ready for the start of the term.  However, I would just like to take this opportunity to outline the key named people that make up the iSEND Management Team.

iSEND Management Team

Hero Slinn – Head of iSEND

Tim Jones – Principal Educational Psychologist

Aylesbury iSEND Team:

Area Team Manager – Christine Preston

Senior EHC Coordinator – Vanessa Croxford (starting with the service on 2nd August)

Senior Educational Psychologist – Jenny Feeney

Interim Senior Specialist Teacher – Jane Lewis

Senior Specialist Teacher for Hearing and Multi-Sensory Impairment – Hannah Morgan


Area Team Manager – Hayley Nowley

Senior EHC Coordinator – Scott Strand (replacing Alex Potts, joined the service on 19th July)

Senior Specialist Teacher – Rupinder Ahluwalia

Senior Educational Psychologist – Shami Rait

Designated Social Worker for SEND – Lucy Perren

Wycombe iSEND Team:

Interim Area Team Manager – Alex Potts (Ian Peters has now left the service)

Interim Senior EHC Coordinator – Mike Pearson (Katherine Hipperson has now left the service; Andrew Bunker has now moved within the service as a specialist teacher)

Interim Senior Specialist Teacher – Sue Morley

Senior Educational Psychologist – Keith Willsher

Senior Specialist Teacher for Visual Impairment and Physical Disabilities / Equipment Lead – Nicola Davidson

We are also currently recruiting to a new post within the iSEND management team to sit under the Head of Service, for a Business Manager.  The advert is currently live so do pass on to anyone you think might be interested!


I think that’s all for this year!  Take good care of yourselves and please do enjoy a well earned rest over the summer period.


Best wishes,





Hero Slinn

Head of Integrated SEND Service

Buckinghamshire County Council

County Hall

Walton Street,


HP10 1UA

Updating Contacts for September 2021

Dear Colleagues,

It is almost the end of term and I am contacting you to ask for any updates you may have regarding contact emails for the September term.

If you have a Chair of Governors or Clerk leaving in July/August, please let me know.  I would like to ensure that our records are correct for any communications we send out.

I have received information of a Clerk who is looking to take on more work, so if you have a vacancy contact Ian Lowe ian.lowe07@gmail.com





Hazel David

School Improvement Team

Children’s Services


DfE School Governance Update July 2021

Welcome to the July 2021 edition of the DfE’s school governance update, where you will find key announcements and information to support you in your governance role.

For this edition we have created separate versions of the Update for academy trusts and maintained schools – the articles are listed below for information along with a link to each Update.

Academy Trusts:

1.   Message from Baroness Berridge

2.   National Leaders of Governance (NLG) reform – application round now open

3.   Academy Trust Handbook 2021 (also known as the Academies Financial Handbook) published

4.   Updated model articles of association

5.   Keeping children safe in education statutory guidance updated for September 2021

6.   Consultation on proposed arrangement for exams 2022 now open

7.   Guidance for trust partnerships published

8.   Reminder to apply for a suitability check

9.   Early Career Framework Reforms

Maintained Schools:

1.   Message from Baroness Berridge

2.   National Leaders of Governance (NLG) reform – application round now open

3.   Keeping children safe in education statutory guidance updated for September 2021

4.   Consultation on proposed arrangement for exams 2022 now open

5.   Guidance for trust partnerships published

6.   Early Career Framework Reforms

If you would like to provide us with any feedback on the content or format of this update please email: schoolgovernance.update@education.gov.uk.

If you are no longer on a governing or trust board – please contact your former school/academy trust and ask them to update their records on their Get Information About Schools (GIAS) database. This will ensure you do not receive any further communications from the department.

Thank you,

Governance Team

BASG Executive Meeting Minutes 21st June 2021




Date & Time: 21 June 2021 at 5.00pm


Location: Virtual meeting via Zoom





Paul Randall (Chair), Anne Sheddick (Vice Chair), Maggi Bull,

Peter Lerner, Bernadette Allison, Jo Pearce, Martin Baxter, Gwyneth Langley (Secretary)



Agenda Item




1. Apologies for Absence  



Andrew Brown had sent apologies for absence.


2 Notification of Any Other Business  

The following items were tabled for discussion under Any Other Business:


–       Update from the Marlow Chairs Networking Group (this would be covered under item 5)

–       Bucks Council Traded Services Proposal / Focus Groups


3 Declarations of Interest  



Gwyneth Langley – BEP

4 Approval of Minutes From the Meeting Held on 10 May 2021 and Review of Actions  



The minutes of the meeting held on 10 May 2021 were approved.




5 Local Networking Groups  
  Chesham, Great Missenden, Amersham and Wendover Group


AB had circulated a summary of the networking group meeting that had been held on 24 May 2021.


Jordans Group


The Jordans Group had met on 12 June 2021.  The group had discussed a number of issues including:


–       Guidance on exam appeals.   It had been requested that the LA support on this when results were released.

–       Covid infection protocols

–       Support for disadvantaged pupils

–       Wellbeing

–       Safeguarding

–       Arrangements for governor meetings going forwards


The recent Ofsted review of safeguarding policies and peer on peer abuse had been discussed at length. This was a local as well as national issue.   There would need to be significant amount of work to understand the issue and consider how to address this in schools.


Marlow Group

GL gave a brief update from the Marlow Chairs Networking Group. This small group has been meeting since February and would meet again on 29 June 2021.


Sally Brooks, one of participants, had feedback that at their last meeting the group had discussed:


–       SEND and the challenges of securing support from the LA

–       Remote Learning

–       Pupil Premium

–       Arrangements for governor meetings going forwards.

–       Clerking – and concerns about recruitment and development of new clerks.



6 BEP 

The BEP Conference had taken place on Friday 18 June 2021.   GL thanked PR for representing BASG at the conference and contributing to the panel discussion.

There was positive feedback on the event. The topics covered were considered thought-provoking, relevant and timely.

The session on EdTech had highlighted the potential for identifying and sharing expertise in this area.  Many schools had strong EdTech strategies, but it was thought that others did not and may not have the

relevant experience to do this effectively.   It was not thought that there was an EdTech plan or strategy at the LA.




7 Communications with Bucks Council  

PR, PL and AS had met with Simon James on Friday 18 June 2021.  This had been a positive meeting.


Work was continuing to improve HR support following recent discussions on this at the Governance Consultative Board. Simon James would be circulating information on this.  It was felt that progress was being made with HR issues and policies.


PR considered that the Education Services team were recognizing the importance of governance and were moving things forwards. Processes were now in place to hold the LA to account. There was a need for BASG to continue to work with the structures in place and continue to raise and engage with issues.
















8 BASG Newsletter  

PR / GL would discuss this.




9 Buckinghamshire Challenge Group  

MB had circulated a summary of the Bucks Challenge Group meeting held on 14 June 2021, with details of attendees.


MB raised concerns about the effectiveness of the group and the strength of its leadership.


There had been a proposal to engage School Liaison Groups to deliver the work proposed by the Group.   MB expressed concerns about the ability of Liaison Groups to do this without appropriate support or training.


It was unclear how the work of the Bucks Challenge Group fitted with other strategies being pursued.  Concern was raised about coherence.


There had been positive feedback on the Closing The Gap sessions run by Marc Rowland on behalf of Bucks Council, but it was less clear what the impact of these sessions was having on disadvantaged children and schools requiring support.


Some concern about the commissioning process for consultancy work was raised.    Concern was also expressed that there had not been targeted invitations to the Closing The Gap sessions to ensure that schools most requiring support attended.      The importance of inviting Pupil Premium Governors or other governors with a specific interest or responsibility in this area was also highlighted, rather than limiting invitation to Chairs.







It was agreed that the School Governance Consultative Board was the correct forum for governors to raise questions about the strategies being pursued by the LA, even if these were challenging questions.  It was important that the strategy for School Improvement was understood. It was noted that the LA would be recruiting two new members of the School Improvement team and it was important to understand how these roles fitted within the strategy.


10 Side by Side Reference Group  

PR gave an update on the last meeting of the group.   Views had been sought as to the process and effectiveness of the group.  There had been some honest views expressed and there had been helpful, challenging discussion.


The agenda had been very packed, and the meeting been cut short.  The next meeting would be on Thursday 24 June 2021.






11 Schools Forum  

JP confirmed that the last meeting had been held on 23 March 2021. Another meeting was due to take place on Tuesday 29 June 2021.


JP would circulate the agenda for the meeting on 29 June, along with the reporting pack.  If there were any questions on this JP would be happy to take these to the meeting.


It was noted that the current Chair of the Forum was Kevin Patrick (Headteacher of Chiltern Hills Academy).  Draft minutes / notes of the meeting on 23 March 2021, plus a webcast, were available on the Buckinghamshire Council website.







JP / All


12 Governance Consultative Board  

The next meeting of the Consultative Board would take place on 8 July 2021.    PL had held a pre-meeting with Simon James.


Julie Ward, Anita Cranmer’s Deputy, had been invited to the meeting and it was hoped she would attend.


PL requested that any items for the agenda be sent to him.










13 AOB  



Bucks Council Traded Services Communications


It was noted that Bucks Council were holding two focus groups w/c 21 June 2021 to discuss possible future traded services. A survey and e-mail detail had been circulated with suggestions for potential new services, including governor support services.

Concerns were raised about the capacity of the LA and the expertise, resources and infrastructure required to run traded services sustainably.  Given the multiple issues requiring the attention of the LA currently this was not considered a priority.

The importance of retaining NGA membership and Learning Link for Buckinghamshire schools was agreed. The governor support services already available locally provided by the Bucks Education Partnership were also noted.   It was acknowledged that the decision to outsource services was often difficult.


JP, MB, AS and PR would be attending the focus groups w/c 21 June 2021 and would feedback views and concerns.














14 Dates / Times of Future Meetings
  A date / time for the next meeting was agreed as follows:


Monday 13 September 2021 5pm





The meeting closed at 6.55pm






Updated Transition Principles Guidance for Schools

Sent on behalf of Debbie Munday: Admissions and Transport Manager

Transition Principles FINAL3


Debbie Munday
Admissions and Transport Manager

Education and Skills
Children’s Services
Buckinghamshire Council
Walton Street Offices, Walton St, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1UZ

SARS-CoV-2 variant Delta in Bucks – guidance for meetings

Dear Colleagues,

Following a few recent queries I have asked Dan about the current guidance with regards to meeting up, face-to-face.  His advice is as follows:

With case numbers rising it would be sensible to keep meetings virtual unless there is a pressing reason why they have to be face-to-face.


 Daniel Flecknoe

Consultant in Public Health

Please see the current guidance below and also the email sent on the 7th June below:




  1. How can governing or trust boards continue to function effectively during this time?

DfE understands that governing and trust boards have a key role in supporting their school or trust’s senior leaders throughout this period and that decisions will need to be pragmatic, proportionate and sensitive to local circumstances. Boards remain accountable for their schools and should stay connected to senior leaders, and the key operational decisions they are taking, to retain a strategic overview of the school or trust.

Whilst social distancing rules remain, boards should adopt alternative arrangements for holding meetings, for example, by using video or teleconferencing applications. If boards or schools require support to access digital platforms, please see DfE’s guidance on help with technology and remote education. The National Governance Association has also produced guidance for business continuity and holding virtual meetings.


  1. Should committees continue to meet during this period?

Governing and trust boards, in discussion with the clerk, should take a pragmatic approach to handling any urgent business and assess whether it is reasonable for virtual committee meetings to go ahead. Availability of governors or trustees will need to be considered to ensure that committee meetings are quorate. It may be more practical for the urgent business of any committee to be discussed at the governing or trust board meeting instead.






Hazel David

School Improvement Team

Children’s Services