To address the sector-wide issue of teacher workload, the Department for Education’s (DfE’s) Workload Advisory Group published its report this week which includes recommendations for governing boards. If you download the report, ensure you have the version dated November 2018 as initially an earlier draft dated October 2018 was uploaded in error by the DfE.
The publication of the report was accompanied by a letter to all school leaders from the Secretary of State for Education accepting all of the report’s recommendations and committing to take action. The National Governance Association was pleased to be a signatory to this letter, which sets out encouragement and support for school leaders in adopting the recommendations in their own context.
The report's recommendations concerning governing boards, all of which the DfE have accepted, are:
The DfE should revise the Governance Handbook, competency framework and other guidance to reflect the principles of this report and speak to governors and trustees to test what guidance and training they need.
The DfE should also incorporate myth busting for governing boards into the teacher workload toolkit or other guidance, to address misconceptions of what is required by the DfE or Ofsted and where policy has changed.
The DfE should also continue to improve the content and usability of Analyse School Performance based on feedback from school leaders and governing boards, and place emphasis on supporting governor needs. The DfE should ensure schools are able to access comparative performance information as soon as possible.
The report says governing boards: “should normally be prepared to receive information in whatever form it is currently being used in the school.
They should agree with school and trust leaders what high-quality data they need, and when, in order to fulfil their role effectively and to avoid making unreasonable, ad hoc data requests during the course of the school year. This includes consideration of any in-year data they receive, how meaningful this is and whether this can be reduced”.