Blog

Remote Meetings – A Guide For Schools

During school closures, it might be necessary to arrange virtual meetings with staff and governors.  For many staff in the school, this might be the first time they have hosted or participated in a virtual meeting and just like in face-to-face meetings there are a few points to consider beforehand to help things go smoothly.

N.B. For governor meetings, there are already provisions made in ‘The School Governance (England) (Roles, Procedures, and Allowances) Regulations 2013’ to allow for alternative arrangements for governors to participate or vote at meetings including by telephone or video conferencing. 

 

Choose the right tools for the job: 

When planning your meeting think ‘what is the key reason for this meeting?’  Is it to discuss an action point, to review/approve a new policy or to receive update reports?  The answer to the question will determine which type of system is right. 

For example, if the meeting is a discussion point where it would be helpful to see reactions as well as hear responses as you would in a face-to-face meeting, then in this instance, a video call option would work well.  If you are reviewing policies, then an application that allows collaborative working may be best.  Whereas if you need to review reports and documents then a screen sharing solution is a better option.  

There are lots of free and paid-for options available in the market, a few examples are zoom, skype, governorhub, senso and google tools (sheets, docs, slides, and drive).  I have made a note of the main features each of these systems offer in the table below. 

 

Prepare for the meeting 

The main take-away here would be to test the system before the meeting starts and if you are the organizer familiarise yourself with some of the features. 

Most systems allow invitations to be sent that simply require attendees to click a link to join the meeting.  However, if attendees do require a password or an account creating ensure this has been done well in advance and everyone has had a chance to check they go login okay.   

Alongside the invitation function, many systems also send automatic reminders and include an ‘add to calendar’ function.  However, I find a quick email on the morning of the meeting can be helpful to confirm attendance and also share any other useful information, document or links that might be needed during the session. 

N.B virtual governor meetings have to be quorate for any official votes or decisions to take place.

It is also recommended that an agenda is circulated before the meeting starts, this will help ensure that all attendees know the purpose of the meeting and what they will be talking about.  It would also be good to share the below information with attendees prior to the meeting starting. 

  • Meeting structure e.g. who will be delivering each section and approximately how long each point will be discussed. 
  • Who will be attending the meeting
  • Any relevant documents, links or files 

During the meetings 

Just like in face-to-face meetings some general rules of etiquette apply to the virtual world too. 

  • Be on time, make sure you have tested the system and are ready for the meeting in advance of the start time, this includes reviewing any papers you may have been sent in advance.  
  • Don’t stare at your phone, check emails or perform other tasks while the meeting is on (it is especially obvious during video calls!).
  • Don’t interrupt or talk over other people in the meeting 
  • If possible, try and be in a quiet place during the meeting or use the mute microphone button to minimise any background noise. 

Some systems also include a meeting recording feature, using the this will help attendees focus on the meeting rather than note-taking.

 

After the meeting 

Once your meeting has ended there are a few activities that you can do to help ensure the meeting was effective.  Key things people need to know are

  • Any actions or deliverables that they are responsible for
  • When those actions are due  
  • When the next meeting or follow up will take place 

It is also important to ask if any attendees have any questions following the meeting, it might be helpful to ask how they felt the meeting went and if there is anything that can be done to improve future meetings. 

Oh, and don’t forget to end the meeting session on your device!  

 

How we are able to support you to report to governors remotely  

Our easy to digest Headteacher’s Report can be accessed from anywhere and is easy to share remotely with governors, trustees, and central MAT teams.  All information is clear, understandable and presented in a professional format.  

All reports are pre-populated with benchmarking data which is managed remotely, this includes synchronising current MIS data and all DfE sets.  We link with all major platforms including SIMS, RM, Arbor, and ScholorPack.

Our Headteacher’s Report has been updated to include an optional COVID-19 update section which can be used to update on the current arrangements, measures, and plan within your school. 

To view a sample of the report – click here  

 

 

 

Summary of virtual meeting platforms available

These are many more systems available in the market, below are a few systems that I have had experience with.

Name Video & Audio Call Options Screen Recording & Sharing Supports Collaborative Working  Document Storage Solution Specific Education Features 
Zoom Yes Yes No No No
Google  Yes (Hangouts) Yes (Hangouts) Yes (Sheets, Docs and Slides)  Yes (Drive) No
Skype Yes Yes No No No
Governor-Hub No No No X X

 

 

The Headteacher’s Report and the 2019 Ofsted framework

Our Data Team has been working with Headteacher groups, leaders in governance and Ofsted Inspectors to ensure the Headteacher’s Report is ready for the changes to the Ofsted Framework this September (view the 2019 framework).

The new format provides Headteacher’s with a reporting tool that enables governors to view the key information inspectors would consider when making a judgement under the new framework in an easy to digest format.

We still transfer your school’s contextual data directly from your MIS and pre-populate the report with National, LA and similar school benchmarking data, this is all included within our annual subscription and saves our hours report writing time each term.

 

Leadership and Management

The Leadership and Management section has been expanded to cover the key areas that make up the information inspectors will consider when making their judgement, such as;

  • Key statutory policies and personnel information
  • Staff wellbeing and workload data overview
  • Your relationship with learners, parents and the community

 

Personal Development

We have incorporated key governor checks to help Headteacher’s provide examples of how learners are developing in line with Ofsted judgements and that the key statutory policies to support this are in place. This section includes areas such as:

  • Extra-Curriculum activities
  • Educational visits
  • British values

 

Behaviour and Attitudes

This section includes data analysis, statutory policy and benchmarking information to help Headteacher’s provide governors with the information that will make up the 4 areas of judgement in this section. Examples of what data is included in this section are;

  • Attendance breakdown
  • Behaviour summary
  • National, LA and similar school Benchmarking data

 

Quality of Education

We have split this section out into the 3 ‘I’s that will form part of the overall Ofsted judgement; Intent, Implementation and Impact.

  • Intent: key governor checks to provide assurances that the curriculum is ambitious, wide and accessible.
  • Implementation: how the curriculum is bringing delivered and what data is being collected
  • Impact: National, LA and similar school benchmarking data matched to the format in Ofsted’s IDSR (Inspection Data Summary Report)

 

 

If you are part of a MAT our Trustee report includes all the above and the ability to consolidate data in one easy to digest strategic report, find out more at:

www.theheadteachersreport.com/trustee-report.

Creating a Headteacher’s report, a simple task (well, sort of)……

Creating a Headteacher’s report, a simple task (well, sort of)……

The Headteacher’s report is a key strategic document for governors, it sets out the key academic, pupil and staffing performance for that term. However, it is also a challenging (and sometimes painfully time-consuming) document to write and present in a format that governors find engaging and useful.

With that in mind, we set about creating a template that would save Headteacher’s hours in report writing time, while also presenting all the information governors need in a format that they would love to receive. Simple.

Turns out it’s not that simple! However, after 2 years of development and producing termly reports for over 2,000 schools of all phases and types, we think we’ve cracked it!

Our ‘simple’ reporting platform allows you to produce a professional document on demand while we do all the behind the scenes stuff.

1. We customise your report to match your school phase and type
2. We then link in with your school MIS (e.g. SIMs, Integris, Arbor, ScholarPack etc) to synchronise your school data
3. Our data team crunch over 10 million DfE data points to produce national, LA and similar school benchmarking information
4. We add your specific report updates, new stories and achievements into the report

More information and sample reports can be requested from our website (www.theheadteachersreport.com).

 

The Headteacher’s Report is just £95 per year including unlimited access to your report and support.

Tips for writing a Headteacher’s report that your governors will love to receive!

The Headteacher’s report is the single most important document when it comes to supporting your board in fulfilling the three core functions of governance (see Governor Handbook);

Your Headteacher’s report should provide a strategic overview of the whole school, covering everything from staffing performance to school improvement priorities.  Given the potential scope of the report, many Headteachers find it a challenge to strike the right balance between too much and not enough information.  A quick search will bring up examples of Headteacher’s reports that vary in size from a few pages to over 60.

Over the years, we have reviewed hundreds of Headteacher’s reports and have come across the good, the bad and the ugly! 

These are our tips on how to produce a report that your governors will love to receive!

Remember the purpose of the report 

The single purpose of your Headteacher’s report is to keep your board focused on its strategic function and to not get distracted by activities of secondary importance.

Keep the content of your report focused and at a high-level to promote active discussion across the board.  Adding too much detail in your report can lead the conversation down a more operational route.  

As a rule of thumb, any information that does not help serve one of the 3 core functions should be omitted from the main report and included as appendices or communicated separately.

Remember who the report is for

Given the name, you would be forgiven for thinking it is your report, however, both the Governor Handbook and Education Act state that the content and scope of the report should be determined by the board and include information it needs to do its job well.

Asking your board for a number of key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can produce regularly in a consistent format is a simple but effective way that the board can monitor school progress and improvement over a period of time.   

We would recommend that KPIs are reviewed and agreed upfront at the start of each reporting cycle, this will ensure they are aligned with the current strategic priorities while also avoiding you being asked to produce information at the last minute.

To include graphs or not to include graphs

While the wrong graph can cause confusion and take more time to explain than it would just to write out the findings, the right graph can present your data in a clear and easy to digest format that encourages strategic conversion to take place.

For example, graphs are perfect to summarise data heavy sections such as pupil outcomes or for making comparisons between two reporting periods.  The use of high-level management commentary can provide further context to the data if required.

Investigate different ways of presenting data in your report but make sure they are understood by your board.

Leave the comic sans (and pictures) behind

The Headteacher’s report is akin to a board report within a commercial environment and should be presented as a professional document.  You may wish to consider the following when formatting your report;

>> Is your report as brief as possible while still providing the information that your board needs?

>> Can data heavy areas be effectively summarised in a chart or table?

>> Is it well structured?  We find mirroring the Ofsted framework is a good way of structuring your report 

>> Does your report include an explanation of any acronyms that have been used?

>> Are reports in a consistent format to help board members find the data they are looking for?

Don’t forget the good news!

A bit controversial and against the grain of other guides but personally we like to read about the good news, pupil achievements and the regular on-goings of school life.

Agreed it shouldn’t be front and centre of your report, but rather an appendix. This will help to re-enforce the positive impact the board is having on school life.

No more waiting for the DfE data releases

Autumn 2018 Newsletter

Coming soon: the option to link your school performance and pupil data

directly to the Headteacher’s Report.

We are always looking for ways to improve our reports and linking directly with your MIS data will not only mean your reports can be generated at a click of a button but that they are as up to date as possible. We are working on the link now and you can register your interest on our website.

MIS system that we linking with include SIMs, RM Integris and ScholarPack


New for this term.

Autumn term is always busy and this year has not been any different with over 8 DfE updates already.  The data team has also added the gender split for the first time to our outcomes section.

Take a look at what we include in our templates


Get 10% off all reports

Place an order for any report this term and receive a 10% discount by using the code AUT10

View our reports


Upcoming data releases

We update all our reports in line with the DfE statistical releases calendar.

View upcoming 2018/19 data releases

HTR and ASCL partnership provides school leaders with time saving strategic report

The Headteacher’s Report (HTR) and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) partnership will ensure schools leaders can access strategic reports that will save hours each term and provide governors / trustees key data in an easy to digest format. 

ASCL speaks on behalf of members and acts on behalf of children and young people.  ASCL is Britain’s leading professional body representing over 18,500 school and college leaders in all phases across the UK.

Working with ASCL helps us to further understand what school leaders want from our strategic reporting templates and to share best practice with its members

“I am really excited about our partnership with ASCL, the expertise within ASCL and their member will help ensure that The Headteacher’s Report remains the number one reporting template used by Headteachers” – Neil Charlton-Jones Co-Founder of HTR

 

“ASCL is very pleased to have entered into a partnership with Headteacher’s Report (HTR). This extremely useful tool will help school leaders to access strategic reports quickly and will also provide important relevant information in a readily understandable format for governors and/or trustees.” – (Malcolm Trobe CBE, ASCL Deputy General Secretary)

 

View a sample Headteacher’s Report

ASCL member schools will receive a 5% discount on the annual subscription if The Headteacher’s Report – just enter ASCL5 on checkout  

placeit-THR

Schools financial efficiency: top 10 planning checks for governors (ESFA)

The ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency) have produced guidance to help governors understand effective financial management.

Their top 10 planning checks are below and the full guidance can be accessed here

  1. Staff pay as percentage of total expenditure
  2. Average teacher cost
  3. Pupil to teacher ratio (PTR)
  4. Class sizes
  5. Teacher contact ratio
  6. Proportion of budget spent on the leadership team
  7. 3 to 5 year budget projections
  8. Spend per pupil for non-pay expenditure lines compared to similar schools
  9. School improvement plan priorities and the relative cost of options
  10. List of contracts with costs and renewal dates

Read the full guidance here