BESST Training – Change of Date – Financial Accountability Training (SFVS) – 1st December @18.30 – 19.30 online

Dear Chairs of Governors and Governance Professionals,

Please share this email with your governing boards

Change of Date – Financial Accountability Training (SFVS) – 1st December @18.30 – 19.30 online

 BESST’s governor training course on financial accountability and the SFVS has been brought forward to Thursday 1st December 2022, at 18.30-19.30 online.

The SFVS is an assessment form for Local Authority (LA) maintained schools made up of a checklist and self- assessment dashboard. It’s an annual mandatory return. Completion of the SFVS assessment aims to help your school manage its finances and provide assurance to Buckinghamshire Council that you have effective financial management in place. Join Cheryl Stead, Schools Finance Advisor at Buckinghamshire Council, on 1st December at 18.30-19.30 online, to understand the purpose of the SFVS and the underlying messages from key financial metrics.

Course Title: Financial Accountability for Maintained Schools

Date: 1st December 2022 at 18.30-19.30 online

Cost: £25 per person pay as you go

To Book – Visit the BESST website

 Attached is the training schedule of BESST courses up to Easter 2023.

Training Schedule -BESST Governor Services

 Remaining topics this term are:

  • Overseeing SEND – 15th November (TOMORROW!)
  • Equality & Diversity – 17th November
  • Championing PSHE – 22nd November
  • Monitoring Visits – 29th November
  • Financial Accountability – 1st December
  • Internet Safety – 6th December

For more information and to book, visit BESST Governor Training | Buckinghamshire (

Many thanks,

The BESST team


BC Emergency Contact Information for Schools

Dear Chairs of Governors,

On behalf of Gareth Drawmer, please find attached the guidance and contact numbers for schools to use when contacting Buckinghamshire Council in an emergency.

Please ensure you save a copy of this information in case you should need it in an emergency situation in future.

2022 09 School Emergency Contacting BC (003)

This information is also available on Schools Web Emergencies page, which requires you to be logged in to be able to access.    If you do not have a log in for Schools Web, your headteacher can request one for you by emailing

Many thanks,


Natasha How

 School Governance Support Officer

Childrens Services Directorate

Buckinghamshire Council


Walton Street Offices, Walton Street, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1UA


Please note my working hours are Monday – Thursday 11.00-15.30

BESST Newsletter September 2022

Dear Chairs of Governors,

Please see attached the latest newsletter from BESST. The newsletter includes an overview of upcoming BESST training sessions, dates for your diary and links to useful resources, such as the SEN Toolkit and Governor & Headteacher Handbook on Schools Web.

BESST Newsletter 29th Sept 22

The newsletter has also been sent to Governance Professionals, to be shared with governing boards.

Many thanks,


DfE Governance Update September 2022 Edition

Welcome to the September 2022 edition of the DfE’s school governance update. Here you will find key announcements and information to support you in your governance role.

Please find the full update here:

*Energy Bill Relief Scheme
*Publication of the Academy Trust Handbook 2022
*Publication of Guidance for Federations
*Find Volunteers to Become School Governors
*Your Views Requested: School Food Guidance and Training
*Risk Protection Arrangement Members – Cyber Cover and Regulatory Mock Trials

If you would like to provide us with any further feedback on the content or format of this update please email:

Thank you,
School Governance Unit, Department for Education

School Improvement Adviser Special Schools

Dear  Colleagues,

I am pleased to inform you  that Kerry Lidgett has been appointed as School Improvement Adviser Special Schools and will join the team on a 0.4 contract starting on the 20th September 2022. Kerry comes with a wealth of experience in leadership and management at both special and mainstream schools.

I am sure you will all give her a warm welcome  when she joins the team and engage with her going forward.

Kind Regards


School Improvement and Traded Delivery Manager

Announcement of a bank holiday for the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

Sent on behalf of Gareth Drawmer: Head of Service, Achievement and Learning


Dear Colleagues,

I am sure you will have seen the announcement that Monday 19th September is the confirmed date for the Queen’s funeral and that King Charles III has approved an order for this date to be a bank holiday.  The DfE has confirmed that schools and colleges will close on this day as a mark of respect.  Please see here for the national guidance, the guidance for education settings is attached above.

We would ask that you formally contact your parents/carers as soon as possible to inform them of your school closure.

The bank holiday announcement will not mean teachers will be required to teach an additional day. The DfE will reduce the minimum number of sessions for this school year via regulations and change the definitions in the school teachers’ pay and conditions document for the current year. If your school normally utilises transport provided by Buckinghamshire this will not run on the 19th unless you make a specific request to the transport team.

The DfE have also clarified that Ofsted inspections will continue as normal throughout the mourning period, but that it will pause the publication of reports.  The bank holiday will mark the end the mourning period.

Kind regards,

Gareth Drawmer

Head of Service

Achievement & Learning

Bucks Challenge Letter September 2022

12th September 2022

Dear Headteachers and Chairs of Governors of Participating Schools,


From Mitigation to Success: Tackling Educational Disadvantage in Buckinghamshire


I wanted to say a really big thank you to both you and the staff at your school for your commitment to being a part of The Buckinghamshire Challenge, which aims to address educational disadvantaged on pupils and to build a long term, sustainable, schools-led source of knowledge, experience and application in raising attainment for disadvantage pupils across Buckinghamshire.


As I am sure you are aware, The Buckinghamshire Challenge is a two year programme, established last academic year and culminating at the end of this academic year, to develop, launch and publish a Buckinghamshire Disadvantaged Strategy – ‘Addressing Disadvantage in Buckinghamshire’.  The strategy will aim to provide insight, analysis and the establishment of key principles for Buckinghamshire schools to effectively address this issue, aligning with DfE expectations on the use and impact of Pupil Premium and national good practice.


I would like to update you of the progress we have made in the first year of this exciting programme, and outline the key actions, activities and timescales for participating schools during this second and conclusive year.


  1. Progress Achieved During 2021/22


The Universal Offer

Your school was one of 144 Buckinghamshire schools who signed up for the Universal Offer Programme at the start of academic year 2021/22.  The Universal Offer delivered:

  • 3 conferences for school Disadvantaged Leads (and other interested members of staff) over the course of the year. From the feedback we received the evaluation score for the conferences was very high throughout all three sessions.
  • 3 workshops, one after each conference, to further explore and develop the themes arising from the conference in the context of the Disadvantaged Lead’s own school. Again, from the feedback we received these sessions were highly rated and valued by participants.
  • Disadvantaged Leads committed to attending all six sessions, participating in the inter-sessional tasks, and disseminating the learning throughout their school.


The Targeted Offer

The aim of the targeted offer is to develop a network of skilled and expert Disadvantaged Champion Schools across the county, who have successfully implemented strategies for addressing disadvantage in their own schools. These 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.


Each liaison group was asked to nominate a school to become the Disadvantaged Champion School for their group. The following 14 liaison groups agreed to participate in the targeted offer and nominated the below schools as their Champions:


 Liaison Group Disadvantaged Champion School
Rye Ash Hill
Aylesbury Town 1 Bedgrove Infant School
Aylesbury Town 2 Turnfurlong Junior
Chalfonts Chalfont St Giles Village School
Amersham Chesham Bois
Wing The Cottesloe School
Cressex The Disraeli School
Bernwode Haddenham Juniors
Evreham Iver Village Infant
Wye Valley Juniper Hill
Princes Risborough Monks Risborough
John Colet Sir Henry Floyd Grammar
Burnham St Nicolas’, Taplow
Buckinghamshire & Winslow Steeple Claydon
Chesham Waterside Primary Academy


Owing to the size of the Aylesbury Town liaison group, two Champion schools are participating to enable support for all schools in the town.


Each Disadvantaged Champion School has benefited from:

  • An individual ‘Disadvantaged Strategy Progress Review’ in the Spring or Summer term of 2021/22. This entailed:
    • The first of two half day school visits by the Unity School Partnership Adviser for Improving Outcomes for Disadvantaged Learners and Project Lead, Marc Rowland.
    • A focus on how the school can make the best use of Pupil Premium and support wider efforts to address educational disadvantaged.
    • A next steps plan for the school.
  • Participation by the school’s Disadvantaged Lead at termly Disadvantaged Network Groups, led by Marc Rowland.
  • Being the liaison group lead for the Liaison Group Project. All liaison groups should have submitted their project proposal for commencement of the project at the start of 2022/23. The focus for this project is to be on raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils, particularly focusing on implementing an element of learning from the 2021/22 universal conference and workshop programme that particularly meets the needs of local learners.  Learning from the projects will form a key element of the Buckinghamshire strategy.


  1. 2. The Buckinghamshire Challenge – Key Dates for Academic Year 2022/23
Date & Time Meeting Invitees Purpose


14th September 2022 at 3.30pm



Disadvantaged Champions Network Group Disadvantaged Champion School Leads Only


·         For Disadvantaged Champion Leads to regularly meet, share learning and support best practice in raising attainment for disadvantaged pupils across all schools.


19th– 30th September 2022.


Times, dates and delivery method varies by Liaison Group

Liaison Groups All Headteachers


Disadvantaged Champion School Lead

·         Participating liaison groups must have final agreement by their liaison group to the project proposal and submission to Buckinghamshire Council by the end of September.  Any liaison groups where project proposals have not been submitted by the deadline will unfortunately not be eligible for the project funding.

·         Please note, not all schools in the liaison group need to actively participate in the project; please indicate all participating schools on the project proposal form.


Throughout November 2022.


Face to face school visits

The second Disadvantaged Strategy Progress Review visit to all Champion schools Disadvantaged Champion School:

·         Headteachers,

·         Disadvantage Leads,

·         Pupil Premium Governors

·         More details will be provided before the visit.

·         Final reports will be sent out to all champion schools before the end of the Autumn term.


Morning of Monday 16th January 2023


The Gateway, Aylesbury

The Buckinghamshire Challenge – Update Event All schools participating in the Universal Offer;

·         Headteachers,

·         Disadvantage Leads,


·         To review the progress made on the whole project so far, to share learning, discuss strategy progress review findings and their application across all Buckinghamshire schools.

·         Work collectively as a group to identify themes for the development of the Buckinghamshire strategy.


Afternoon of Monday 16th January 2023


The Gateway, Aylesbury

Liaison Group Project Review Event Disadvantaged Champion School;

·         Champion Leads,

·         Headteachers

·         Pupil Premium Governor


·         An opportunity for the Disadvantaged Lead and the Headteacher and the Pupil Premium governor of Champion Schools to share learning and review the progress of the liaison group projects with Marc Rowland and the School Improvement team.


Tuesday 23rd May 2023 at 3.30pm



Disadvantaged Champions Network Group Disadvantaged Champion School Leads Only.


·         For Disadvantaged Champion Leads to regularly meet, share learning and support best practice in raising attainment for disadvantaged pupils across all schools.


Morning of Monday 26h June 2023


Venue to be confirmed.

Launch of the Buckinghamshire Disadvantaged Strategy All schools in Buckinghamshire

·         Headteachers,

·         Disadvantaged Leads

·         Pupil Premium Governors

·         For all Buckinghamshire schools – the launch of a Buckinghamshire strategy to deliver a long term, sustainable, schools-led source of knowledge, experience and application in raising attainment for disadvantage pupils in Buckinghamshire.


Afternoon of Monday 26th June 2023


Venue to be confirmed

Working meeting – Implementing the Buckinghamshire Disadvantaged Strategy All schools in Buckinghamshire

·         Headteachers,

·         Disadvantaged Leads


·         For all Buckinghamshire schools – a working session to collaboratively plan the implementation of the Buckinghamshire disadvantaged strategy in your own schools.



Invitations will be sent to participants for all of the above meeting well in advance of each session.


The Buckinghamshire Challenge Board and Unity Research Schools are delighted to be in the second and final year of such a comprehensive and research-based programme of support.  We very much hope that all participating schools will maintain the level of enthusiasm and commitment, which was so evident last academic year, as we look towards building on last year’s development programme and collectively developing a county-wide strategy to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils, both for now and the future.


Yours sincerely,


Gareth Drawmer

Head of Achievement & Learning

Buckinghamshire Council

Letter to Governors September 2022

Dear Governors and Governance Professionals,

Please find attached a letter from Gareth Drawmer welcoming in the new academic year. The letter includes updates on Governor Hub, The Key, NGA memberships and Governor Training through BESST as well as the role of governors in supporting side by side school improvement and dates for your diary.

Letter to Governors 08.09.22

Also attached for your information are a copy of the Side By Side offer (school improvement) and a copy of a letter sent to headteachers earlier this week.

Side by Side Offer 2022-2023

Letter to headteachers Sept 22

Many thanks,


NSPCC IMPORTANT – Planning your PSHE/Safeguarding Curriculum? Sign upfor the NSPCC’s free Speak Out. Stay Safe. Online Assemblies today

It would be great if all Buckinghamshire Schools could receive the OFSTED recognised Safeguarding certificate by signing up for our Free assemblies and Free face to face workshops with the NSPCC. Many schools in the area have already signed up to deliver in September/October 2022.


Online Assemblies

I am getting in touch regarding our FREE safeguarding Speak out. Stay safe. Online assemblies. We have 2 online assemblies for you, KS1 have a 13-minute video assembly with pause points and (if relevant to your school) KS2 have a 22-minute video assembly with pause points, we talk with the children about their rights, trusted adults, and ChildLine amongst other safeguarding themes.




Year 5 and 6 Workshops

I may also be able to offer you a free face to face safeguarding workshop for years 5 and 6 (subject to volunteer availability) where we follow up on the key themes of the assemblies in more detail and the children receive a Buddy Kit as part of the workshop delivery.



Speak Out. Stay Safe SEND

A 6-session programme created with Image in Action where The NSPCC provides all the materials and resources with the flexibility to adapt frequency, length, and content of sessions to meet the needs of pupils.



Additional Free Resources.

We are also able to provide you with free videos and online seminars for parents and carers to discuss the apps and games children use and internet safety. We have lots of free additional resources you can use in your school such as PANTS and lessons plans for diversity and inclusion.





What next?

If you would like to access the Speak out. Stay safe. online programme and workshop, or any of our other free resources or to book in a guidance call to go through all the options and to sign a schools agreement, contact

Laura Franklin (she/her)

Schools Coordinator (Buckinghamshire & MK)

NSPCC Schools Service


You can also find out more by signing up here or for the SEND resources here.

I run a NSPCC schools service drop-in session on Microsoft Team’s at 3.30pm on the last Thursday of every month. Please feel free to join if you have any questions or would like a chat. Click here to join the meeting


Keeping children safe in Buckinghamshire 2020-21 factsheet (2)[150585].pdf

Keeping children safe in Buckinghamshire 2020-21 poster (1)[150586].pdf

Speak-out-stay-safe-online-programme-summary-document – FINAL[150584].pdf


Ofsted Handbook Update September 2022

Ofsted has updated its school inspection handbook, with the changes taking effect from 1st September 2022. You can read more about the changes in this Ofsted news story and a summary of changes document, but the key changes are as follows:
  • Section 5 inspections are being renamed ‘graded’ inspections.
  • Section 8 inspections are being renamed ‘ungraded’ inspections.
  • The handbooks for graded and ungraded inspections are being merged into a single handbook.
  • The new handbook has been re-ordered so that it better follows and reflects the flow of an inspection from start to finish.
  • The paragraphs regarding temporary COVID-19 measures have now been incorporated into the main sections of each of the handbooks, to make it clear that inspectors will continue to take account of issues that providers may be facing.
  • The transitional arrangements have now been removed from the updated handbooks. In their place, a new grade descriptor has been added to the quality of education judgement, acknowledging that settings are no longer facing emergency measures and are taking longer-term approaches to return pupils and learners to the curriculum they always intended.
  • FE & Skills inspections will include a new narrative sub-judgement on how well colleges are contributing to skills needs. You can see the relevant change to the EIF in this updated version.
Other documents that have been updated include:
Understandably, changes to the inspection handbook tend to prompt a flurry of anxiety and activity in the system. However, Ofsted has reassured us that most of the changes to the handbook are administrative and will not affect the process of inspection on the ground. That said, the removal of the transition statements is a change worth noting, although on this Ofsted has reassured us that the new criterion for ‘good’ (see above) will better support schools and inspectors to recognise that the curriculum is never truly a finished article and is always subject to review and renewal. Ofsted’s National Director for Education, Chris Russell, says in his accompanying blog, “We recognise that you are likely to always be revising elements of your curriculum.”
Ofsted’s concern was that the transition statements inadvertently risked creating the opposite expectation: that a curriculum must be finalised in some way to be effective. We agree with Ofsted’s recognition that a curriculum can – indeed, should – be subject to review and renewal, including in light of the pandemic, and we will be watching closely to see that the impact of this change on inspection practice is as Ofsted intends.