Clerks News - Summer 2017

Recap of the year

During the 2016/17 academic year NGA has been busy writing new guidance and updating existing content to promote outstanding governance across the sector. In case you missed anything, here is a snapshot of what the team has been up to. NGA would also love to hear your ideas for future guidance.  Please send any suggestions or comments directly to

Changes to constitutional arrangements for maintained school governing bodies

The government has published the School Governance (Constitution and Federations) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 which will enforce changes to the constitutional arrangements of maintained school governing bodies, including federated governing bodies.

From 1 September 2017, maintained school governing bodies will have the power to remove elected parent and staff governors in the same way as they can remove co-opted governors – that is, by majority decision of the governing body. See NGA’s guidance on the appointment, election and removal of maintained school governors for the process of removing a governor.

From 1 May 2017, any person who has held office as an elected parent or staff governor and removed from the governing body during their term of office, will be disqualified from serving or continuing to serve as a school governor for five years from the date of their removal.

Generally, governing boards must ensure that their code of conduct provides a clear framework for basing decisions to remove individuals from the governing board, regardless of whether they have been elected or appointed. NGA will be updating its model code of conduct to reflect the changes in legislation.

Ofsted release clarified complaints guidance

Ofsted has amended its guidance about raising concerns and making a complaint about Ofsted.

The guidance applies to the handling of complaints about Ofsted’s work, including the inspection and regulation of maintained schools including academies.

Reference in the guidance is also made to concerns organisations may have about an Ofsted inspection or inspector. More guidance on submitting a complaint about an Ofsted inspection report can be found here.

School leaders and governing boards: what do we expect of each other?

What governing boards should expect from school leaders and what school leaders should expect from governing boards has been updated for 2017.

The NGA has collaborated with the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Local Government Association (LGA) to produce a new edition of this popular guidance document. Effective working between those leading and those governing schools is vital to improving education for children and young people. This joint guidance aims to improve the effectiveness of governance by developing effective, mutually supportive and respectful working practices.

Among the expectations this document makes clear are that while governors must have the confidence to have courageous conversations, in turn, school leaders must be willing to be challenged. And while governors must be knowledgeable about the school, including its pupils, staff and community,  school leaders must provide information to them in the appropriate way.

This guidance is available to anyone;  download as a pdf: What Governing Boards Should Expect From School Leaders and What School Leaders Should Expect From Governing Boards.

Clerks should share this document with their governing boards to ensure that everyone is clear on their role.

NGA Trustee Elections

Each year a proportion of the NGA board of trustees comes up for election. This year nominations are sought in four regions: East of England, London, South East and Yorkshire and the Humber.

The NGA recognises that a diverse board can help to strengthen decision-making by considering issues from more perspectives. We would welcome nominations in particular from candidates from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. You may only stand for election as a trustee if you are serving governor/trustee/clerk at the time of nomination and election.

For more information about standing for the NGA Board – see the information on the website.

New factsheets to help parents and stakeholders understand changes to the GCSEs

The Department for Education has released factsheets for employers, FE providers, HE providers and parents concerning the new 1-9 GCSE system. The factsheets outline how the new system matches up with the old A*-C model and the timetable for changes up to 2020.

These factsheets are accessible tools for understanding the new GCSE system. Clerks may find the factsheets helpful when advising their governing boards.  

NGA has produced its own summary of changes to GCSEs. This can be found on the NGA Guidance Centre.

NGA Summer Conference: presentations available

NGA was delighted to see so many governors, trustees and clerks from across the country attend the NGA summer conference, which was a huge success with lively contributions from members.

Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, was this year’s keynote speaker, focusing on education policy, education reform and social justice, and how to harness evidence to improve outcomes for all.

The presentations slides from the conference are now available to view online.

Clerking Competency Framework published

The Department for Education (DfE)published a Competency Framework for clerks in April 2017. The new non-statutory guidance sets out the competencies required for professional clerking to school governing boards and multi academy trust boards.

The Framework details specific knowledge, skills and effective behaviours for clerks, grouped under the following competencies:

  1. Understanding governance: understanding the board’s duties and responsibilities including governance legislation and procedures
  2. Administration: ensuring that the processes and procedures of governance are administered efficiently
  3. Advice and guidance: access to timely and accurate advice and guidance, or signposting to expert advice where appropriate
  4. People and relationships: ensuring that the board has accurate records of its people and their skills

The NGA has campaigned for a number of years for the role of clerk to be professionalised. It is widely recognised that an effective and suitably paid clerk is a key element in the success of any governing board. NGA welcomes the focus the Department for Education is putting on this crucial role and the framework can be used to assist governing boards with both the recruitment of a clerk and when setting their objectives.

The framework will also help individuals and organisations delivering professional clerking services to assess their own practice. For more information and guidance on the role of the clerk, visit NGA Clerking Matters.

Updated NGA complaints guidance & model procedure

All schools face complaints at some stage, and they are required by law to have a procedure for dealing with them. If your governing board are thinking about their schools complaints procedure, you can download the updated NGA guidance complete with a model complaints procedure to use in your school. This should be tailored to your own school context.

If you previously used the NGA model procedure, please ensure you are now using the updated version which has been amended in line with current legislation. Click here to access the guidance and procedure.

DfE confirms ministerial portfolios

 The Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed the portfolios of its ministerial team . The former Minister of State for Children and Families, Edward Timpson, lost his seat in the election while the former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women, Equalities, and Early Years, Caroline Dinenage has also left the DfE. Two new appointments have been announced. The confirmed portfolios of the ministerial team are:

  • Justine Greening continues as Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities and retains overall responsibility for the DfE and the Government Equalities Office.
  • Nick Gibb continues as Minister of State for School Standards with an expanded brief that includes Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) and Sex and Relationship Education (SRE). Mr Gibb has also been appointed Minister for Equalities.
  • Robert Goodwill has been appointed Minister of State for Children and Families. His remit includes school funding, special education needs and disabilities (SEND) and social mobility in the 12 opportunity areas.
  • Jo Johnson continues as Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation which covers both the DfE and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
  • Anne Milton has been appointed Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills and Minister for Women.
  • Lord Nash continues as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System and retains responsibility for school governance.

STRB 27th Report

On the 10 July the Department for Education released the School Teacher Review Body’s (STRB) recommendations on teachers’ pay and the Secretary of State’s response to those recommendations.

The STRB has recommended the following:

  • 2% uplift to the minimum and maximum of the main pay range
  • 1% uplift to the minima and maxima of the upper pay range, the unqualified teacher pay range and the leading practitioner pay range
  • 1% uplift to the minima and maxima of the leadership group pay range and all head teacher group pay ranges
  • 1% uplift to the maxima and minima of the Teaching and Learning Responsibility (TLR) and Special Educational Needs (SEN) allowance ranges

The Secretary of State has accepted all the STRB’s recommendations. The intention is that these recommendations will be implemented from September 2017 in an updated School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD). These recommendations apply to all maintained schools and any academies who have adopted the STPCD or have staff entitled to its conditions through TUPE.

The NGA argued that the significant recruitment and retention challenges being faced by schools will not be assisted by the continued restrictions on public sector pay. We also proposed that any pay increase needed to be fully funded and we will be reiterating that message in our response to the Secretary of State.

New Edition of the Chair’s Handbook out now!

The brand new 2017-18 edition of our best-selling guide The Chair’s Handbook is out now.

The Chair’s Handbook is the essential guide for chairs and aspiring chairs of governing boards. As well as a basic introduction, this guide will help chairs develop their team of governors or trustees, work effectively with the headteacher and senior management team, lead the school toward improvement and manage the strategic business of the board. Seven packed chapters explore the challenges of being the chair:

  1. Leading governance in schools
  2. Becoming the chair
  3. Leading and developing the team
  4. The chair, the headteacher and accountability
  5. Leading school improvement
  6. Leading governing board business
  7. Leaving the chair

The guide has been updated to reflect changes in education policy and practice. 

Click here to buy a copy today!

School funding update

On Monday 17 July the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, announced in a statement to Parliament that there would be additional funding for schools. She said that in each of the next two years (2018-19 and 2019-20) an extra £1.3billion would be added into the schools budget. This additional funding would be found from within the Department for Education’s (DfE) existing budget by making savings and efficiencies. 

As proposed in the funding consultation issued in December 2016, changes to funding arrangements would come into force in April 2018.  For 2018 the DfE will calculate the amount of funding to be given to local authorities (LAs) using its new methodology – i.e. calculating a budget for each school within that authority using the national funding formula (NFF) methodology. It will then be for LAs to calculate the actual funding for each school according to its own local formula. The consultation document had proposed that from 2019-20 the DfE would take over responsibility for calculating individual schools’ budgets using the NFF. The announcement on Monday stated that in fact LAs will continue to remain responsible for calculating schools’ budgets for 2019-20. This ‘postponement’ may well be a disappointment to some members and is almost certainly a result of the changed make-up of the House of Commons as well as the Parliamentary time needed for Brexit related business– as to move to a system in which the DfE calculates funding for all schools requires primary legislation. It may be possible for the DfE to shift local formula towards the factors and values to be used in the NFF through changes to secondary legislation (i.e. the School Finance Regulations).

NGA welcomes the additional funding announced by the Secretary of State, but according to initial calculations by the Institute of Financial Studies (IFS), even with the extra funding, schools’ budgets will still have declined in real terms by 4.6% between 2015-2020.

The extra funding does show that all the campaigning by all those in the education sector, including by NGA and our members, has had an impact. There is still more to be done and we would urge members to continue to write to their MPs to keep the pressure up.

The full details of the impact of these changes and the responses to consultation document will be published in September.

Financial benchmarking information

The Secretary of State also announced on 17 July that the Department for Education’s Schools financial benchmarking site had been updated and improved.

The site will enable maintained schools and academies to compare their performance data and spending levels with schools that share similar characteristics such as:

  • pupil numbers
  • school phase/type
  • proportion of pupils with special educational needs
  • proportion of pupils who are eligible for free school meals
  • proportion of pupils with English as an additional language

Governors can choose to compare their school with DfE pre-selected comparators or use the functionality of the system to choose their own comparators – eg if you are an infant school as well as relevant pupil characteristics you can also choose to compare to other infant schools only.

As with any comparison site this is intended as a tool to start a conversation – rather than a call to immediate action and so    it should be used to prompt questions and discussion.

Although the site has now formally launched, the DfE is still interested in feedback – if once you’ve used it you have any comments these can be emailed to:

The site is part of the DfE’s wider Schools Financial Health and Efficiency pages. 

NGA’s guidance centre also contains information for governing boards.

Updated DfE exclusions guidance

The Department for Education (DfE) has published updated guidance on school exclusions following a consultation earlier this year. The changes are intended to bring clarification to the rules that apply to exclusions and process of review.

The consultation outcome is now available and you can also read NGA’s response to the consultation, which was submitted in April.

This coincides with the publication of official statistics, showing that the number and rate of both permanent exclusions and fixed period exclusions have increased since the previous year. Pupils with special education needs (SEN) accounted for almost half of exclusions in 2015/16 and pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) were also more likely to be excluded than their peers.

Read the updated DfE guidance. The NGA is in the process of updating our guide for governing boards.

Academies planning calendar

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has published a planning calendar for the academic year 2017/18, for academy trusts. Particularly relevant for trust boards include:

September 2017

  • 2017 Academies Financial Handbook comes into force

October 2017

  • Public consultation on proposed changes to admission arrangements for entry in September 2019 or if the academy trust has not consulted in the last seven years.

December 2017

  • Audited financial statements for 2016/17 and auditor’s management letter must be submitted by 31 December.

January 2018

  • 2016/17 accounts return must be submitted by 19 January.
  • 2016/17 audited financial statements must be published by 31 January.

February 2018

  • Academies must determine their admission arrangements for entry in September 2019, by 28 February.
  • Admission appeals timetable must be published on the academy’s website by 28 February.

March 2018

  • Admission arrangements for entry in September 2019 must be published on academies’ websites and a copy must be sent to the local authority by 15 March.

May 2018

  • 2017/18 budget forecast return: outturn must be submitted by 18 May.
  • Audited financial statements must be submitted to Companies House within 9 months of the accounting period, which is 31 May.

July 2018

  • 2018/19 budget forecast return must be submitted by 27 July.

Upcoming NGA events

In the 2017/18 Autumn term NGA are hosting a number of free* regional events and we’d love you to come along.

We are pleased to welcome to the West Midlands regional conference, Christine Quinn, Regional School Commissioner for West Midlands, who will be updating us on the latest happenings and priorities across the region.

Other topics that will be covered include the state of school governance, understanding your school data and head teacher performance management.

There will also be plenty of time for questions and conversations with fellow governors, trustees and clerks.

To book your place visit our events page.


Event Date

Start Time


West Midlands Conference Autumn 2017



Birmingham City Centre

South West Regional meeting Autumn 2017




Yorkshire & Humber regional meeting Autumn 2017




East Midlands Regional meeting Autumn 2017




South East Conference Autumn 2017



Gatwick airport

London regional meeting Autumn 2017



London near Euston station

North West Conference Autumn 2017



Manchester City Centre

East of England Regional Meeting Autumn 2017




North East Regional Meeting Autumn 2017





Published: 03/08/2017, by Sam Henson
Last Updated: 03/08/2017, by Sam Henson