DfE consultation into School Improvement Funding


Dear Colleagues,

As you may be aware, the government has launched a new consultation Reforming how local authorities’ school improvement functions are funded.

As a summary, the government are proposing to:

  1. Remove the School Improvement Monitoring & Brokering Grant (‘the Grant’), which is currently allocated to local authorities to support school improvement activities; and
  2. Make provisions within the School and Early Years Finance (England) Regulations for the financial year (FY) 2022-23 to allow local authorities to fund all of their school improvement activity (including all core school improvement activities) via de-delegation from schools’ budget shares.

The recommendation in the consultation is that next years grant is reduced by 50%, with full removal of the grant by FY2023/24.

We would be grateful for school leaders to respond to the government consultation detailing how this would impact on your school.  Within Buckinghamshire this grant funds the Side by Side support for intervention and prevention schools and school improvement activities such for all schools, such as the Side by Side conferences programme, the development of Side by Side Champion networks, Liaison Group research work and The Buckinghamshire Challenge project for closing the gap.

If you would like to respond to the DfE, please click on here for the link. The DfE deadline for responses is Friday 26th November.

Kind regards,

Gareth Drawmer

Head of Achievement and Learning

Sticks and Stones may Break your Bones but Words can Really Change You

Sticks and Stones may Break your Bones but Words can Really Change You: The centrality of disciplinary literacy to effective curriculum design and delivery 

Dear Colleagues,

We are extremely pleased to announce our keynote speaker at the Side by Side literacy conference on Friday 3rd December is Matt Bromley.

Matt is an education writer and advisor with over twenty years’ experience in teaching and leadership including as a secondary school headteacher and principal, FE college vice principal, and MAT director. He is a public speaker, trainer, and school improvement lead, and a primary school governor. He remains a practising teacher, currently working in secondary, FE and HE settings.

In this session Matt will explore:

  • The principles of effective curriculum design
  • How to use the curriculum to tackle social justice issues
  • How to build cultural capital through disciplinary literacy
  • The importance of curriculum continuity and collaborative planning
  • The features of effective primary-to-secondary transition
  • How to close the gap for disadvantaged pupils

This conference is free and open to Headteachers, Literacy Leads, Senior Leaders and Subject Leaders.  It will be conducted via Teams and the link will be sent to those registered closer to the day.  The conference will begin at 1pm and end at 3pm.

To book your place please visit the Eventbrite page HERE

Kind regards,

Yvette Thomas

Equalities and School Improvement Manager

Governors Chairs Group Networking Meeting Sat 19th Nov

Sent on behalf of Anne Sheddick and Paul Randall, BASG

Dear Governor

This is both a reminder and an invitation to join us for a governors network meeting tomorrow – Saturday 20th November at 9.30- 11 am on MS Teams- link below

You are all welcome.  We shall be discussing current topics of concern and also the 2 consultations issued by LA in recent days regarding School improvement support and SEND

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible

Anne Sheddick and Paul Randall


Microsoft Teams meeting

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Chairs Group Networking Meeting 20th November

Sent on behalf of Anne Sheddick

Dear Governor

There will be a network meeting for Chairs and vice chairs to discuss the issues which matter to you right now next Saturday 20th November at 9.30  All are welcome- just click on the link to join us.  We formerly called ourselves the Jordan’s group because before going virtual we met at the Jordan’s Quaker centre; but now we are on line where you are located isn’t an issue so do please sign up by clicking the link to Join us on MS Teams

Typically we share the current concerns within the group and Paul Randall and I run the meeting quite informally .  We suggest a list of topics to discuss and then governors attending add to them by email.  We also feedback your concerns and views through Bucks Association Of School Governors newsletter and to the local Authority ands elected Members through the Bucks School Governors Consultative Board as agreed. We operate on the basis of Chatham house rules so everyone can speak freely and confidentially about whatever they want.

Current possible list for discussion

  • COVID – vaccination issues, absence, pupils and staff and wellbeing
  • Safeguarding Challenges and Mental health
  • Bucks Disadvantaged Challenge Group and Pupil Premium/Recovery-funding and new DFE requirements
  • SEND issues- including current Bucks consultation
  • LA BESST rollout and governor training
  • Governor succession planning and recruitment
  • OFSTED Feedback- (please drop me an email if you have had OFSTED this term)

Please add anything else or anything specific related to these topics.  They are all big issues, many of which have been top concerns for a while; so there may not be anything new- just ongoing.  But it is still useful to have your views on how things are going for you as well as new concerns

I look forward to seeing  you on line next Saturday  The link to Join us on MS Teams is attached. And below  Do email me with any questions you have or other issues you wish to raise

Microsoft Teams meeting

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Best wishes



Ransomware Information: Cyber Attacks on Schools and Public Bodies

Sent on behalf of Richard Nash, Corporate Director Children’s Services

Dear Colleagues,

Please see  attached information regarding  Cyber Attacks on Schools and Public Bodies.

Ransomware Information Sheet 101121

Ransomeware 101121

Kind Regards

The School Improvement Team

Risk Assessment Criteria


Dear Colleagues.

The Side by Side Board have requested that we share with you the criteria used by the School Improvement team to risk assess all schools across the County.  Please find below a slide which illustrates the different strands of information that contribute to the overall risk assessment, which will also take into account discussions with Headteachers and Chairs of Governors where appropriate.

The annual risk assessment process takes places in the summer term and will result in a letter to all schools detailing the school’s Side by Side categorisation for the forthcoming academic year.  The risk assessment is, however, a dynamic document and as such a school can change category through-out the year, following discussion with the school leadership, as circumstances and need change.


Please contact the School Improvement Team on sis@buckinghamshire.gov.uk if you have any queries on the above.


Kind regards

The School Improvement Team

Education Endowment Foundation – Using your pupil premium funding effectively

Helpful evidence sources for school leaders developing their pupil premium strategy


Using pupil premium | EEF (educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk)


Reforming how local authority school improvement functions are funded


The DfE are seeking views on proposals to reform how local authorities’ school improvement functions are funded.

This consultation is being held on another website.

This consultation closes at

Consultation description

The local authority role in school improvement has changed significantly in recent years, with the growth of school-led approaches, such as multi-academy trusts, putting school improvement in the hands of the strongest schools and school leaders.

In turn, the local authority role in school improvement in maintained schools is increasingly focused on helping their schools access the support they need from the school system.

Given these changes in respective roles and responsibilities, we believe now is the right time to revisit local authorities’ school improvement functions and how they are funded.



Latest EEF news – NEW: ‘The EEF Guide to the Pupil Premium

The Education Endowment Foundation have published an updated Pupil Premium guide for school leaders. This can be accessed via the link below and has been updated based on the new DfE requirements.
Jo Goodman, who is the Regional Delivery Lead for EEF, will be presenting at the Bucks Education Partnership’s Chairs Strategic Briefing on Friday 12 November and will be talking about this.