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Local associations are independent, volunteer-led organisations which provide a forum for governors in a local area.
Most local associations have always had a strong representative role and strong links with local authorities: in our 2016 survey of local associations, 97% of associations surveyed represented governing bodies on local authority committees and working parties. In addition, many provide meetings and conferences for members, allowing governors to share best practice as well as giving them an opportunity to raise matters related to their school. A local association may also provide advice and training to members, send out a regular newsletter, and have their own website.
Local associations are usually based on local authority areas and so vary considerably in size: some have hundreds of schools in membership, others less than 50.
A strong association can make an enormous difference to the effectiveness of a governing body. To find out if your area has a local association see our list of associations. NGA also hosts microsites for a number of associations on our website.
As schools become increasingly autonomous, local associations are more important than ever. Local authority maintained schools may find the services they receive from their local authority greatly reduced or offered at a cost when previously they were free. In some areas local associations can offer the support and advice previously offered by the local authority, or at the very least provide networking opportunities to enable schools to share information about other service providers.
Local associations have their own distinct membership category within the NGA, which entitles them to a number of benefits (up to 25 members of the executive committee are entitled to receive an individual log-in to the NGA members’ website and Governing Matters magazine delivered to their home address). Local associations can send up to three members to NGA conferences and regional events and we will provide a speaker free of charge to local association organised conferences. Each term we send out the Bulletin Board which associations are free to circulate to all their local schools – this provides information about the latest issues to affect governance, as well as new guidance and information about conferences. In our 2014 survey, local associations gave the support and representation they receive from NGA an average rating of 4.4 out of 5.
Every two years we hold a conference specifically for chairs of local associations – the most recent conference was held in Birmingham in May 2014. You can download the presentation and read coverage of the event in Governing Matters and on our Chair's Blog.
Local associations are an important part of the NGA membership as they provide vital local information which NGA would not have access to otherwise – in turn this enables NGA to represent governor views at meeting with the Department for Education and other national bodies.
We are also happy to help governing bodies set up a new local association, and can offer support and advice throughout the process. Please contact Gillian Allcroft for more information.
It is important to note that although your local association may be a member of the NGA, your governing body is NOT automatically a member. To enjoy the full benefits of NGA membership your governing body needs to join in its own right – become a member.