Clerks News - December 2016

Government drops Education for All Bill

The Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, announced this term that the government will not be bringing forward the planned Education for All bill in this parliament (see our news page for more on this announcement). The bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech in May, was expected to include provisions to convert schools to academy status in “underperforming” or “unviable” local authorities (LAs) and to set out a “new role” for LAs. It was also initially expected to include provisions relating to the national funding formula but it was announced in July that this would be delayed until 2018-19.

Announcing the Technical and Further Education bill, Ms Greening said: “Our ambition remains that all schools should benefit from the freedom and autonomy that academy status brings. Our focus, however, is on building capacity in the system and encouraging schools to convert voluntarily. No changes to legislation are required for these purposes and therefore we do not require wider education legislation in this session to make progress on our ambitious education agenda”.

Although no new legislation will be brought forward in this session (until May 2017), the minister’s statement makes clear the “ambition” that all schools should convert voluntarily. Therefore, it is possible that further legislation to facilitate a fully academised system will be presented in the medium term.

Further reading: Viewpoint: Untangling the next steps in DfE education legislation by John Fowler, Local Government Information Unit (LGiU).

At present, schools can be forced to convert to academy status in particular circumstances under existing powers of intervention. For more information on academy status, see the school structures section of the Guidance Centre.

New Department for Education guidance: what maintained schools must publish online

This term the Department for Education (DfE) edited its guidance on what maintained schools must publish on their websites. The update clarifies what voluntary aided schools must publish in terms of their admissions criteria.

Governing boards are reminded that the DfE amended the School Information (England) Regulations 2006 in September 2016. This introduced a number of changes to what schools need to publish on their website, including additional information on the pupil premium and changes to assessment information. 

In order to help schools publish the relevant information, NGA has a comprehensive guide to what schools must published on their website. As well as statutory requirements, this guidance also includes a list of items schools may wish to publish in line with good practice. These are available for both maintained schools and academies.

A new NGA guide for newly appointed trustees

Our new guide Welcome to a Multi Academy Trust is out now and available to buy.

Welcome to a Multi Academy Trust provides high-quality practical information on MAT governance structures and practice for new trustees and senior leaders.

The guide costs £6 for members and £12 for non-members. Click here for more information.

New guidance - NGA updated schemes of delegation and destiny document

In November NGA ran a governance hub and delivered a number of very popular sessions at a major free event in the education calendar - The Academies Show. To coincide with the show, NGA published version II of its working schemes of delegation. The schemes have been developed to help trustees in multi academy trusts (MATs) decide the best governance structure for their group of schools, in order to help trustees and other layers of governance in the trust work effectively together, and to assist trust boards in promoting a culture of honesty, clarity and transparency. These simple models include guidance on how to tailor your scheme and suggest what to delegate and to whom across four different potential models.

To download our revised models, click here.

November also saw the release of parts 1 and 2 of the updated guidance, published jointly with ASCL and Browne Jacobson: Staying in Control of your School’s Destiny. Part 1 looks at the considerations for forming or joining a group of schools, including the benefits of collaboration, the differences between federations and MATs, lessons so far and how to make the right decision for your school. Part two is designed to help assess what MAT is right for you if you have made the decision to join an already established trust, taking you through the importance of making the right choice, first steps and conducting due diligence to inform your decision. Both are available to download today from the NGA website. Part 3, which will look specifically at the practicalities around forming a brand new MAT from conception, will be released in the coming weeks.

Access the guides here.

For maintained schools who want further information on forming or joining a group of schools, NGA has lots of information on federations, In particular, see NGAs Federation First campaign.

Inspiring Governance: register your vacancies

A new and free governor and trustee recruitment service officially launched in London on Monday 21 November to try and help tackle the significant challenges that many schools face when finding the right people to govern our schools. The annual 2016 NGA/TES annual found that 61% of governors and trustees had difficulty attracting new recruits to their governing board. In 2015 that figure was 56%.

‘Inspiring Governance’ is an online recruitment service, connecting volunteers with governing boards in schools and colleges. It is funded by Government and on Monday was welcomed by business and education leaders.  

NGA will be providing support, guidance and induction materials for newly appointed governors, matched through the service, and will also be offering support to governing boards who are recruiting a chair.

Lord Nash, Under Secretary of State for Schools, said: “As the people who appoint head teachers and chief executives and hold them to account, governors and trustees should be the driving force behind school improvement so it’s essential that we do more to attract talented and committed volunteers to school governance. That’s why we are supporting Education and Employers and the National Governors’ Association to revolutionise the way people can get involved in governance and be supported in the role once they’re in place.”

If you have vacancies on your board, register them here.

For more information, contact Judith Hicks ( – Head of Inspiring Governance at NGA.

Young Governors’ Network is off the ground

The first meetings of the Young Governors’ Network (YGN) took place in November in Birmingham and London. Over 77 people registered to attend the events, which were designed to find out how young governors and trustees felt this network could support them.

YGN has been set up in response to our 2016 annual governance survey data, which suggests that only 11% of those governing in schools are under 40. Our mission is to support younger governors by addressing the challenges they face when governing schools today.

Thank you to everyone who attended the events and if you want to be part of the network or find more information, click here

Community MATs

On Friday 18 November the inaugural meeting of the NGA Community MAT network took place in Manchester. This was the first of our termly meetings, which will be held in different parts of the country in response to demand from both members, aimed specifically at MAT trustees and governance professionals working within or with MATs. The intention of the network is not to operate as a formal conference but instead provide an opportunity for attendees to swap experiences and learn from each other in a relaxed and informal setting.

The first meeting saw 50 attendees gather to specifically share understanding and experiences on identifying the right governance and executive structures for the trust, implementing trust wide systems for ensuring financial oversight, how to ensure trusts know their schools educational performance and considerations for expanding a MAT. The network generated a lot of helpful discussion and informative anecdotes that will aid the spreading of effective practice and give those governing in MATs the confidence to be innovative and look beyond the standard practice. More details on the topics on conversations and practice shared will feature in the January 2017 edition of Governing Matters.

This was the first of hopefully many community MAT events and delegates valued greatly the opportunity to share experiences with each other. Our next events take place on 17 February 2017 in Birmingham and 16 June 2017 in London. If you are a trustee of a MAT or a governance professional working with a MAT and want to join in the debate, go to our Community MAT page on the NGA website for more information.

Bookings for the next community MAT sessions will open shortly. 

Free workshops available on Forming or Joining a MAT and Disadvantaged Pupils from January 2017

The National College is adding these two workshops to its range of fully-funded workshops for governors, which also includes workshops on Financial Efficiencies, Performance Related Pay, RAISEonline Primary and RAISEonline Secondary. There are up to three free places available per school.  To find out which licensees are offering these programs in your area see the NCTL website.

NGA is running these workshops in selected parts of the country through the Leading Governance partnership. For further information or to express an interest please email

New funding formula: a fairer portion of not enough

In December the government announced the long-awaited second stage of consultation into a new national funding formula for schools. At the moment, pupils living just streets away from each other can have significant variation in the amount of money spent on their education.

It is proposed that changes will be made in two stages:

  1. From April 2018: funding will be re-distributed between local authorities (LA) but LA formulae will remain as a transitional year
  2. From April 2019: a National Funding Formula (which the DfE have styled a hard NFF)

To read more on the proposals, see our news page.

What might the proposals mean for your school? Click here and then download the database, 'Impact of proposed schools'.

We would encourage members to respond to the consultation which closes on 22 March 2017. We would suggest that, rather than simply stating that you will not be able to manage with the required cuts, it would be more persuasive to outline very specific potential implications of the proposals on your school’s budget. NGA will be taking into account members’ views when formulating its own response. Please feel free to send a copy of your response to Gillian Allcroft ( Alternatively you can email Gillian if you simply have something to say about the issue of school funding. We want to hear from you.

Clerk’s conference: Monday 20 February 2017, Birmingham

The day will include an update on the NGA Clerking Matters campaign and workshops on effective clerking. We expect to be discussing the DfE’s plans for supporting clerks’ development. The event will take place in Birmingham (venue tbc) and will start at 10.30am. Click here to book.

Spring Regional Events 2017

Regional Conference




East Midlands

Sat 18 March 2017

10.00am to 3.00pm


North East

Sat 25 March 2017

10.00am to 3.00pm


South West

Sat 1 April 2017

10.30am to 3.30pm






Regional meeting




North West

Wednesday 1 March 2017

6.00pm to 8.00pm


Yorkshire & Humber

Monday 6 March 2017

6.00pm to 8.00pm


East Of England

Tuesday 14 March 2017

3.30pm to 6.00pm


South East

Tuesday 21 March 2017

2.30pm to 4.30pm



Tuesday 21 March 2017

6.00pm to 8.00pm


West Midlands

Wednesdays 27 March 2017

6.00pm to 8.00pm


*Please note that refreshments and registration will open 30 minutes before the start of each regional event.

To book any of the above events click here.

Calling all Chairs, aspiring Chairs and Clerks

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

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. 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 bodies. Three places per school are available for the Chairs programme and one place per school for Clerks.

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

Click here to read today’s blog by Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the NGA, on generosity at Christmas time.

Published: 23/12/2016, by Luke Manuel
Last Updated: 23/12/2016, by Luke Manuel