The DfE have today released an update to the Governor’s Handbook.
The document can be found here and a summary of the changes can be located in Annex A.
Governors should look to update themselves accordingly as the Handbook addresses Governors at ALL schools including maintained, academies and free schools. For Academies the main areas of change are sections 2.2 and 7.6.3. Section 2.2 now includes new content on the governance structure of academies which clearly defines the various structures and roles within academy entities. Section 7.6.3 includes an updated explanation of the expectations regarding the management of conflicts of interest.
Finally, of particular relevance to all schools is section 1.7. This section of the handbook has been updated regarding governor conflicts of interest/loyalty and the governing body holding a register of interests. The following paragraph is something we at Reeves would draw to the attention of all governors in schools across the country:
“In the interests of transparency, all schools and academies should publish, including on their website, up to date details of the structure of the governing body and any committees, together with the names of their governors and their particular roles and responsibilities within that structure. They should also publish an annual statement setting out the key issues that have been faced and addressed by the governing body over the last year, including an assessment of the impact of the governing body on the school. For academies, these details of their governance arrangements must also be provided within the governance statement of their published annual accounts.”
Following the release of the updated Academies Financial Handbook in September 2014, it would appear the DfE are now urging ALL schools to publish a register of governors’ interests on the school website for transparency purposes. This again demonstrates the ‘hot topic’ for the DfE to crack-down on is conflicts of interest within schools.