Tie up those loose ends for summer

Jane Martin

Jane Martin looks at what should be on governors' agendas as the year comes to a close.

THE end of term is in sight but for many governing bodies this is a time to put together the school's annual report. Are your communications with parents on target?

Key information for all parents and prospective parents must be provided annually in the school prospectus. Many schools have moved to a loose-leaf version to make amendments easier and cheaper to distribute. The Guide to the Law sets out requirements taken from the Education (School Information) (England) Regulations 1998.

Requirements for information in the annual report have been simplified (see DFEE circular 799), but changes include setting out arrangements for disabled pupils.

The circular is very helpful for setting out assessment results.

Make sure the report meets legal requirements for distribution to parents two weeks prior to the annual meeting with them, and is approved by the full governing body.

Governing bodies also need to ensure that a formal record of pupil achievement and progress is updated by the school annually and is available for parents, in line with the Education (School Records) Regulations 1989.

At least once a year schools must provide pupil progress reports to parents, but many are offering more frequent pupil ahievement records - an important way to keep parents engaged in the child's learning. Parents also have a right to have access to other salient documents such as schemes of work.

Parents of children with special needs will be entitled to other information in line with the special educational needs code of practice. See Education (Special Education Needs) Regulations 1994.

New DFEE guidance (June 2000) sets out definitions of parent and parental responsibility - helpful in identifying who should receive information from school.

All new parents also need to sign a copy of the home-school agreement - unless it has been revised, in which case all parents would need a new copy.

Don't give up on the annual meeting with parents. It's the only opportunity parents have collectively to discuss the work of governors and the progress of the school as a whole.

Despite poor attendance, this is still a legal requirement.

Enjoy the summer fete!

Social events are often the best chance to meet parents and seize the opportunity to communicate in a relaxed environment on an equal footing.

It is also a good opportunity for all governors to show their support for the school.

Have a good break!

For DFEE circulars and regulations search www.dfee.gov.ukcirculars or telephone 0845 602 2260.

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Jane Martin

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