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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 08 September, 2014

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

The revised policy for the appointment of Local Authority school governors

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To seek approval from Cabinet to revise the policy for the appointment of Local Authority school governors.

Recommendations

1.         That members approve the revised policy for implementation in September 2014.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure a more strategic process is used when appointing Local Authority school governors so that governing bodies in schools of greatest need are better supported with specific expertise and experience.

Background

2.         At the meeting on 16 June 2014 Cabinet agreed to consult with Vale of Glamorgan school governors on the implementation of a more strategic approach to the appointment of Local Authority governors in our schools. (Cabinet minutes-16 June)

3.         Consultation has now taken place and the responses have been compiled. (Appendix 1)

4.         The revised Policy for appointing Local Authority school governors is appended for approval. (Appendix 2: Policy for the appointment of Local Authority school governors)

Relevant Issues and Options

5.         Consultation revealed the following:

·               that the majority of respondents welcomed, and generally supported the principles.

·               regarding para 18 -22, 'the potential for continued professional development for school leadership for LA school governors'; many responses raised concern that the proposals targeted only LA appointed school governors and not all school governors. The policy has since been changed to reflect this concern so that all school governors will be offered an enhanced programme intended to better support the development of school leadership.

·               there was strong support for the provision in the policy for Chair of Governors to  express a need for a specific skill set when appointing LA school Governors;

·               respondents also emphasised that it was the Governing Body as a whole that acted as a 'key strategic partner' and not individual school Governors. This could be summarised as an overriding theme which emphasised the point that all school governors are volunteers and that all school Governors needed to feel well supported and developed in their role on the Governing Body as a whole.

6.         Taking the points raised into consideration, the main changes in the new policy are set out below:

·               the Director of Learning and Skills and/or the Head of School Improvement and Inclusion is to attend the meetings of the selection panel for LA appointed school governors;

·               the Director of Learning and Skills and/or the Head of School Improvement and Inclusion to provide a LA/school briefing to the selection panel in advance of any selection taking place to outline the nature of schools' needs and challenges, where LA governor vacancies exist;

·               high profile advertising and targeted recruitment should be in place to widen the pool of potential governors;

·               the Governor Support Unit (GSU)  to compile an 'expertise and experience register' of existing LA school Governors which may be used to draw upon should the need arise;

·               the GSU to compile a 'register of need' for LA governor expertise as expressed by schools/chairs of governors;

·               a selection process using a 'map and gap' approach based on skills/expertise availability and schools' needs should be used by the appointing panel;

·               the GSU to work with the Central South Consortium (CSC) Joint Education Service (JES) to devise an improved leadership development programme for all school governors; and

·               the LA selection panel to adopt a more strategic and prioritised approach to LA governor selection and one which is more sharply focussed on the specific challenges faced by the individual school.

7.         The draft Policy is appended (Appendix 2).

Resource Implications (Financial, local, Employment)

8.         To be met from within existing resources within the Council and Central South Consortium Joint Education Service (JES).

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

9.         None in this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

10.      LA School Governor Partnership Agreement 2014 -2017 sets out how the local Authority works in partnership with schools.

11.      The appointment of LA governors is contained within the Regulation 7 of the Government of Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations 2005.

Crime and Disorder Implications

12.      None in this report

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

13.      None in this report

Corporate/Service Objectives

14.      The need to secure a high level of school effectiveness and performance is underpinned by high quality leadership which includes that of school Governors. High quality leadership in our schools is at the core of a number of key corporate objectives, especially in the Improvement Plan, Community Strategy, Children and Young People and Lifelong Learning and Skills.

Policy Framework and Budget

15.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

16.      Not required for this report.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

Lifelong Learning

Background Papers

The Government of Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations 2005.

Council Policy for the appointment of LA governors.

Estyn Common Inspection Framework

School Standards and Organisation Act (Wales) 2013

Schools Causing Concern statutory guidance document: 129/2014

 

 

Contact Officer

Lynette Jones, Head of School Improvement and Inclusion

 

Officers Consulted

John Sparks, Head of Governors Support Unit,

Meryl Plummer, Lead Officer for School Improvement

David Davies, Lead Officer for Inclusion

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill

Director of Learning and Skills

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