Changes to schools information regulations
If you look carefully on the DfE website – you will need to go to the Home Page, Schools, Tools and initiatives, Cutting burdens and bureaucracy and then scroll through 11 pages (if you click here it is a little easier) you will find an important piece of information.
I am really pleased to see it.
It is not a statement about funding nor about new schools but an important change to The School Information (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (the Statutory Instrument can be found here). The amendment sets out clearly the specified information to be published on a school’s website, or at least online. Although not easily found, it is an important change to regulations and comes into force on 1st September 2012.
The first change is that from September 2012 schools will no longer have to publish an annual prospectus although I suspect many will do so as it forms part of their material for prospective parents, provides an overview of the school and in many cases is exactly what some parents want to see.
Replacing that requirement is a specific list of what must be published:
- the school’s Pupil Premium allocation;
- use and impact on attainment;
- curriculum by year and by subject;
- admission arrangements;
- policies on behaviour, charging, and SEN and disability;
- links to Ofsted reports;
- details of, and links to, performance data.
Funding Agreements will ensure that new Academies publish the same information as maintained schools. The existing requirements for local authorities to produce a composite prospectus every year will not be changed.
Must be online
Although I may have views on the content, I am very pleased to see that it explicitly says that it must be published online – on the school website. It even says that if you haven’t got a school website, get one or put it somewhere and tell parents where it is!
I think this is good news. It offers (some) consistency of basic information for parents and a nod toward the role of technology – although narrow, good news nonetheless. It is not an ‘expectation’, it is a requirement, a regulation, something schools must do.
OK, it is not the hard push, is not based upon the brilliant peer and practise based advice and guidance about how technology can transform parental engagement, it does not link to the consensus formed a few years ago that parental engagement matters and technology does make a real difference – see the excellent blog from Lorna Thompson – but it does mean that Governors should now take a long and hard look at how they use technology to provide information and improve engagement.
The first of many steps?
Although hidden within the argument of ‘Reducing bureaucracy in schools’, I really hope we will see many more instances where schools are required to make better use of technology. It makes sense, is efficient, is consistent and can make a real difference to how schools interact with parents and learners.
One small step, but at least it is a step!