Clerks News - Spring 2017

Your regular clerks news round up including anything you may have missed during the Spring 2017 term. 

Out now: Welcome to Governance, 9th edition

The most popular and widely purchased induction guide for new governors and trustees.

50% discount for members – Only £6 per copy!

Click here to purchase copies online.

NGA’s 9th edition of Welcome to Governance has been updated to reflect changes in education policy and practice. 

Welcome to Governance is an induction guide for new school governors, trustees of standalone academies and those governing at academy committee level in a multi academy trust (MAT). For those sitting on a MAT board of trustees, there is NGA’s Welcome to a Multi Academy Trust. .

Bulk discounts: If you order more than 15 copies, you can also take advantage of a bulk discount: 



15-29 copies


30-99 copies


100-199 copies


200-499 copies


500 or more



Contact the NGA office for more information or to place a bulk order.

T: 0121 237 3780

New guidance – Part 3 of Staying in Control of your School’s Destiny

Following the November release of parts 1 and 2 of the updated Staying in Control of your School’s Destiny guidance, produced jointly with ASCL and Browne Jacobson, the third and final instalment has now been published.

Part 3 looks specifically at the practicalities around forming a brand new MAT from conception, exploring how to choose the right partners, things to think about when scoping your new MAT, and how to undertake due diligence.

Access the guides here.

Funded Training

80% funded courses are still available for both the National Clerks' Development Programme and the Chairs of Governors' Leadership Development Programme.

The National Clerks' Development Programme develops the skills needed for high quality clerking which in turn is an important step towards improving the effectiveness of governing boards. The Chairs of Governors’ Leadership Development Programme provides opportunities for chairs and aspiring chairs to develop their school leadership skills. School improvement is a key theme across the programme. One place per school is available for Clerks and three places per school are available for the Chairs programme.

To find out which licensees are offering these programs in your area see the NCTL website.

NGA is running these programmes in selected parts of the country through the Leading Governance partnership. So for a fee of only £79, with Leading Governance programmes you will receive five face-to-face sessions, mentoring and a 360 self-evaluation diagnostic. For further information or to express an interest please email

New Governance Handbook and competency framework published 

 The Department for Education (DfE) has released a new version of the Governance Handbook, a guide to the roles and functions of those who govern schools in England. The Handbook also includes information about the various legal and compliance duties, as well as where governors, trustees and clerks may find support. With the 2017 update, as well as the content being revised to take account of changes made to the law and policy over the past year, the DfE have also given the handbook a complete restructure.

The restructure coincides with the release of the DfE’s new competency framework, which aims to set out the skills, behaviours and knowledge needed for effective governance. The framework is based around “six features of effective governance”, which are also now used to structure the Governance Handbook, with a chapter allocated for each feature. For more information see the NGA news page.  

NGA has also updated its Governance Handbook page on the Guidance Centre including a summary of key changes and important things to note.

DfE Competency framework for governance – tell NGA what you think!

This term we brought you all the latest on the release of the new Department for Education Competency Framework for Governance – if you missed it you can read all about it here along with a complete summary of key changes to the updated Governance Handbook.

The popular NGA skills audit tool has now been carefully updated, taking into account both the release of the DfE’s new guidance as well as the vast amount of knowledge and experience members have shared since it was last updated. NGA would now like to hear what you think about the competency framework including how useful you think it is, as well as your feedback and thoughts on the update to the NGA skills audit – contact today. 

NGA announces new e-learning for school governors and trustees

NGA has announced plans for a new online training platform launching in the summer term of 2017.

‘NGA Learning Link’ will provide users with access to over fifty modules curated by NGA’s expert team of policy and information specialists. Modules will be comprehensive and cover a range of governance-related topics including: strategy, team work, assessment, staffing, financial oversight, elements of effective governance, compliance and collaboration to name a few.

There will also be eight new induction modules for governors and trustees. These will be free to all governors and trustees placed with Inspiring Governance, the online governance recruitment service. To deliver this NGA will be working with one of the UK’s top e-learning companies, Virtual College.

NGA Learning Link will support users to learn in a way that suits them - remotely, in the evenings and at the weekend, with 24/7 support.  It will be inexpensive and particularly benefit those new to governance by giving them a head start; immediate access to essential information, guidance and further reading during their first months as a governor or trustee.

Paul Aber, NGA’s Head of Training Development, said: “We continue to look for innovative ways to deliver quality learning and development in a low cost way. In the last few years we have upgraded our training and development offer to include leadership programmes for chairs and clerks, as well as external reviews of governance in schools and multi academy trusts. We’re putting all this experience and expertise into building the best online learning for school governors, trustees and clerks.”

If you are interested in buying NGA Learning Link for your governing board or a group of schools, please contact Bill Kiely today at: or call us on: 0121 237 3780

Latest Need to Know timelines available

The latest version of the Department for Education’s mandatory and useful timelines for schools was published. The timelines set out useful information, including legal requirements that must be met, in order to help governors and senior leaders plan ahead, prepare for, and implement changes during the academic year and beyond.

The timelines help schools find out about future changes, as well as identify upcoming activities that may benefit students.

Brand new 2017 NGA Skills Audit

NGA has published a brand new version of its much used skills audit tool. In the 2016 NGA/TES survey, 83% of respondents said their governing board uses a skills audit, with 64% using it to identify training needs and 54% using it for recruitment. The audit can be used to help identify any knowledge, experience, skills and behaviours your governing board still needs to deliver their functions effectively.

How the NGA model has changed and why

In January 2017, the DfE released a new Competency Framework for Governance, structured around the DfE’s newly identified “six features of Effective Governance”. The governance handbook 2017 states that “Boards should carry out regular audits of the skills they possess in the light of the skills and competences they need, taking account of the department’s Competency framework for governance”. 

The Competency framework has been written to cover all possible bases in school governance, from boards governing small standalone primary schools to the trust boards of large MATs overseeing the performance of multiple schools. It should be used to provide clarification of government expectations, rather than as a set prescribed checklist – but NGA is already aware of it being used as a checklist or governor job specification by some. NGA firmly feel that governing boards are best placed themselves to individually assess which areas outlined in the framework are most important for them, and so while the new skills audit is structured around the DfE’s six features of effective governance, it doesn’t attempt to replicate all 200 plus competencies, knowledge skills and behaviours included. Instead it combines the core aspects of the framework with the priceless experience and feedback of our members to inform the skills, experiences and knowledge included.

To take account of the significant differences of governing as a MAT trustee compared to governing in a single school, NGA has developed two separate models; one for Governors, trustees and academy committee members of single schools and a separate version for trustees of multi-academy trust.

You can now access both a word and pdf version of the skills audit. An interactive pdf version and the updated skills matrix will both be published next week.

DfE has released advice on managing asbestos in schools

The advice has been published to help schools understand their obligations and duties in relation to asbestos management in schools.

The legal responsibility for the safe management of asbestos lies with the “duty holder”. The duty holder is the person responsible for maintenance and/or repair of the school – typically the employer. For community schools, community special schools, voluntary-controlled schools, maintained nursery schools and pupil referral units, the employer is the local authority. For academies, free schools, voluntary-aided and foundation schools, it will be the school governors or the trust.

Governors and trustees should ensure that their schools have suitable asbestos management procedures in place and receive regular reports so they can be confident that the duties are being complied with.

Bookings are now open for NGA’s Summer Conference

Date: Saturday 24 June 2017

Location: London

Timings: 10 am to 15.30 pm with exhibition from 9 am

NGA is pleased to announce Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, as the keynote speaker.

A range of workshops will also be held throughout the day. To see the full list of what’s on offer and to book your place click here.

Are you a clerk or trustee of a local, schools led, community centred MAT? On Friday 23 June 2017 before the Summer Conference we will be holding our third Community MAT networking event, sign up to this event at the same time click here.

Apprenticeship guidance and further clarification on the apprenticeship levy

The department for education (DfE) has produced guidance for schools and academies on apprenticeship reform. The guidance covers what the reforms to apprenticeship mean for schools and the type of apprenticeship that are currently being developed for a school setting.

Of particular importance for those governing, this guidance clarifies what type of LA school needs to pay the apprenticeship levy and what the money can be used for. The guidance confirms that all public, private and charity sector employers will contribute 0.5% of their wage bill over £3 million to a levy. This can then be accessed by the employer in the form of “credits” to fund apprenticeship programmes.

Even if your school does not have an individual wage bill of over £3 million, if it is part of a multi academy trust (MAT) or is a community or voluntary controlled LA school with a wage bill of over £3 million, it may have to contribute a proportional share. Any school in which the governing board is its own employer with a wage bill of under £3 million will not have to pay the levy.

Therefore, if you clerk at a school with a wage bill of over £3 million, or the governing board is not the employer in your school, you should ensure that governors and trustees are aware of how this affects them and that the school business manager is aware of the levy and provision has been made to factor this into the budget.

With several apprenticeship positions being developed for schools (including business manager apprenticeships and teaching apprenticeships), governing boards, whether their school has paid into the levy or not, may want to ask senior leaders how they intend to access and use apprenticeship funding.

To access the DfE guidance click here. The NGA has also produced a summary of what governors need to know in terms of the apprenticeship levy, click here for more information.

RAISEonline update

RAISEonline is due to be replaced. Following a request from the NGA, the DfE has subsequently released the following information:

“The Department for Education are launching a new service, which will provide schools and other existing user groups with detailed performance analysis to support local school improvement as a replacement to RAISEonline. We hope to have this ready in late April/early May. The name of the new service will be announced as soon as confirmed.

The current RAISEonline service will be available until 31st July 2017. This will allow users to familiarise themselves with the new service and provide feedback before the current one is taken offline.  

During this period of dual running we will continue to develop the new service and plan to release an updated version in July 2017. During this time, we will also seek your feedback through formal testing and user surveys which are built into the new service. 

Ofsted Inspectors will continue to use the data available in the existing summary report and inspection dashboard to prepare for inspections, until 2017 datasets are released in the autumn term.

How to access the Replacement Service and Help

§  Schools, Local Authority, Multi Academy Trust and Diocese Users

The new service will be available through ‘Secure Access’, DfE’s single sign on for a growing range of services.  Each school, Local Authority, Multi Academy Trust and Diocese has someone already designated as the Secure Access Approver. They can see how to do this via the Secure access approver role guide.  

If you are not sure who your Secure Access Approver is then ask the person who sends the data returns such as the School Census to DfE – this may be your Business Manager. If you still need help then contact the Secure Access Helpdesk  

§  Ofsted and DfE Users

We will contact you with further detailed access information by e-mail during mid-April. 

You will be able to request help online through the new service.

Existing RAISE Service Management

The Ofsted Helpdesk for the existing RAISEonline service will close on 31st March 2017.

If you have an enquiry about the existing RAISEonline, service you should contact  Note this e-mail address is not for any other type of query.  


We will write to you again over the coming weeks before the new service is switched on and include links to short training videos that will help get you up and running.

Our library of FAQs have been published on the current RAISEonline service.

New recruitment guide ‘The right people around the table’ published

A new recruitment guide has been published today for the Inspiring Governance service. ‘The right people around the table’ is a practical guide designed to help school governors and trustees plan and carry out recruitment and induction. The guide highlights good practice for induction, training and succession.

Five short chapters cover:

§  Evaluating: composition and currant practice

§  Recruiting: attracting good candidates

§  Appointing: interviewing and references

§  Inducting: training and support

§  Succession planning: ensuring there is leadership of the board     

The guide is designed to complement the Inspiring Governance, which is a free online recruitment service connecting volunteers interested in serving as governors and trustees with schools who are looking for new recruits. Inspiring Governance is funded by the Department for Education and run by the charity Education and Employers in partnership with the National Governance Association.

Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governance Association, said: “This document is one the most important resources we have on the topic of recruitment and induction. We need to keep focussing on recruitment, succession, training and relationships because the work of governing boards largely depends on how well they work as a team.

“When it works, the governing board is dynamic, diverse and productive and efforts are directed towards school improvement. This guide reminds us that good people are at the heart of good governance. It clarifies what the expectations are for induction and training in the pursuit of improving the educational standards and well-being of children and young people.”

Click here to find out more and to download ‘the right people around the table’

Published: 07/04/2017, by Sam Henson
Last Updated: 07/04/2017, by Sam Henson