Author Archives: governingmatters

A beginner’s guide to the National Funding Formula for schools

hellomrsparrow

I was in a finance meeting last week and there was discussion around changes in the National Funding Formula (NFF) for schools. Although I was aware of the background and the criticisms of the original formula, I wasn’t up to speed with the latest changes and thought that many governors (and perhaps school leaders too) wouldn’t be either. So I hope the below helps; it’s a complex subject and I’d welcome any corrections/clarifications. Much of the below is a distillation of three long papers, which are linked to at the bottom and worth reading.

Background and context

The current NFF is the culmination of recent effort to clarify and simplify the amount of government funding each school can expect. Before 2003 schools funding was included in a block grant from central government to local authorities (LAs), with no expectation of a particular amount being spent on schools. Increasing pressure on…

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From Gin to Trustee…..

The Young(ish) Governor

blog 4

Last week was National Trustees’ week which followed international wine week and international gin appreciation day… (someone please tell me a) how did I miss those and b) how do I get involved?) and during that week  I started to think about this blog post.

All the information I read on the subject of trustees during that week seemed quite lengthy and unappealing (if I am honest when I opened one PDF consisting of 32 pages I wanted to turn around and sign up to international wine week!) so I thought I would pull together some of my brief thoughts on what it is like being a young (yes in case you had forgotten!) trustee/director (as well as a governor) on a Multi Academy Trust /Company (as well as first and foremost being a mum to two fabulous little humans  within this Academy system).

So here goes…. (I promise it…

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Measure For Measure

School Governor Blog

judge

For those who have come to know me primarily through my role as a school governor, it may surprise some of you to know that since 1986 I have been a qualified football referee. Courtesy of lots of effort and commitment, and no little luck, I managed to work my way up through the ranks, and whilst I would never claim to have been a beacon of excellence, I did somehow contrive to steal thirteen years in the professional game. This allowed me to grace the turf of some of the country’s great stadia and rub shoulders with several legends of the beautiful game.

In order to retain one’s status we had to pass an annual fitness test. In the early days this consisted of a relatively comfortable jaunt around a running track where 2700 metres had to be covered in twelve minutes of continuous running. Provided you had trained…

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An Inspector Calls……

School Governor Blog

School-inspections-008

A couple of years ago we fancied going out for something to eat. Now those who know me will readily testify I don’t get out much. However it was a minor celebration and an opportunity for some “us” time. We then had a chat about where we might go. Ideally somewhere sufficiently local to get a taxi without requiring a second mortgage for the fare. So, as you do, I hopped on Trip Advisor. By happy coincidence its top rated restaurant was only two miles away. I quickly scanned the almost exclusively effusive comments and noted it had a maximum hygiene rating. An added bonus for me was that it was a listed building dating back to the 1600s with a nice selection of real ales.

But here’s the thing. Call me old-fashioned but when I go out to a quaint British pub, I hope to find a traditional menu…

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If You Can’t Say Something Nice, Then Don’t Say Nothing At All

School Governor Blog

arguing teachers

I have to say I really did try and see if I could Harvard reference the above  quotation without success, so, suffice to say for those unfamiliar, they are the words spoken by the young rabbit Thumper to the fawn Bambi long before the latter grew a magnificent set of antlers and the former presumably ended up in a game casserole (post watershed version so please don’t tell children). I have been considering those wise words quite a lot recently as I continue to explore Twitter in an endless quest to learn more about education and in particular school governance.

I’ve always had a passion for learning and for education. I guess like most of us the fires were lit in the home and fanned in school. My parents, although not particularly well-off always made sure there were books in the home. From my first foray into Ladybird’s Peter and…

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From Sprint Starts to Strategy…..

The Young(ish) Governor

olu-eletu-23036Ah… the many roles of being a young (ish) school governor: one minute in position and ready  (trying) to sprint down the school playing field at the annual sports day (the dreaded mums’ race – read to the end  for the result- warning…it’s not pretty!) and then the next sitting in the school staff room for the final full Governing Board meeting of the academic year.

Being a governor takes time, energy and commitment (not to mention in my case, the ‘gentle’ persuasion to enter races!) so I thought I would write this blog- the second instalment of the Young (ish) School Governor to provide you with three things:

  • some insight
  • some lessons I’ve learned along the way, and
  • a little request!
  1. Insight, insight, insight

Whilst I don’t pretend to know what O levels were, and am always the one turning up to meetings with no pen or paper…

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The Ten Commandments

hellomrsparrow

It’s been three years since I first became a school governor, and only now do I feel I’ve probably got sufficient experience and ideas to write a blog. Having tried, and quickly abandoned, a couple of previous attempts, I’d like to keep this one going! I hope it will provide a useful mixture of practical ideas and wider policy explanations. I’ve got no professional link to the education world, and have found the latter is perhaps the requirement with which I’ve struggled the most – but it is a critical part of being on a governing body.

As a primary school governor – and for a school within sight of the City of London – there might be a bias towards that context and away from secondary and higher education: apologies in advance. And whilst the school is part of a well-known academy chain, my own feeling is that it’s…

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