Questions about the recruitment process

Will there be any further recruitment rounds if I am not sure whether to apply this time?

While we anticipate needing to undertake further recruitment, it is likely that this will be much smaller and targeted to particular skill sets, or regions where shortages are identified or demand is especially high therefore, we would encourage anyone interested not to wait incase a further round is not needed in their area.

What different ways can I be engaged as an NLG and what is the difference if I am classed as ‘self-employed’?

Successful applicants can be engaged under ‘self-employed status’, meaning a contract would be issued with you as an individual. If you are self-employed, and registered to pay VAT, you can include the additional VAT when you invoice NGA. The role is IR35 compliant although please do note, NLGs will not be ‘employed’ by NGA or the DfE, they will be engaged to carry out work on a consultancy basis – your contract will reflect this.

You can also be contracted via your employer (if you work for a trust, school, local authority or consultancy company for instance). This means that we would be paying your employer for the work completed, rather than you as an individual.

Will I need my own public indemnity insurance?

For any work carried out for NGA, you will be covered by NGAs insurance.

Can I continue to do other governor/trust support work outside of the contract? Can I continue to charge for these services?

Any schools or trusts, whether they meet the criteria for funded support or not, can approach and commission independent providers or NGA as always.  You are free to continue other streams of work you have declared or that came to you independently of NGA; however, you will only be able to use your NLG designation to complete work scheduled by NGA under the terms of your contract with us.  

If a setting wants an NLG specifically to complete their external review or other governance support, this can only be commissioned through NGA.

Can I retain my current NLG status if I am not successful in my NGA application?

All current designations end in August when the new criteria and programme are implemented.

The criteria to apply says I must have experience in two unrelated settings. What counts?

You must have experience of two settings that have no connection. Please remember though, one of these settings can be outside of education.

Neither of these examples qualify as two unrelated settings:

  • Being on the trust board of a MAT and serving on one of the trust’s Local Governing Boards
  • Being chair of a school that then federated and continuing to chair the newly formed federated governing board.

Does being chair of a local governing board count toward the experience?

No, the local governing board is not the accountable body and the criteria states that you must have experience of two accountable bodies. Please remember one of these settings can be outside of education.

I am finding it difficult to prove the impact I’ve had in improving governance. There has been no Ofsted inspection and we have no data that evidences improved standards.

We appreciate that this may not be straightforward and will consider all types of evidence; other data, external reports for eg to evidence improvement. It is important that you can evidence the positive impact you have had on effecting change, and we understand this may come in differing forms. We would ask you to consider areas such as pupil progress for special schools for instance, survey feedback and increased numbers on roll for nursery settings. All types of evidence showing positive change will be considered.

Do I meet the criteria if I’ve worked as a Headteacher or Business Manager?

As long as you can meet the criteria relating to governance and can evidence positive change in a governance or governance professional position, you are able to apply.

How do I detail all my experience on the application form? Do I need to include every ERG or deployment I have carried out or every board I’ve clerked for?

No. We must have a record of all of the ‘governance roles’ you have held, not every assignment/school you have supported. The first part of the application form asks for two current roles; If you have more than two, these should be the two that best support the criteria. All other ‘governance roles’ where you have held office can be detailed below.

The case studies are there to capture two detailed of examples of your work, which may be in a governance role held, or in a support capacity.

Why does the application form ask for notice period?

Please ignore this, you do not have to complete it.

Will I need to write to my own references? One of my referees is not available over the school holidays?

NGA will write to referees and manage the reference process. If referees are not available over the school holiday period, we will approach them in September. Referees must be provided from the current and other setting where you currently govern – not from your case studies – and should be able to comment on the impact you have had in your role.

I am experienced in a very specialised area only; will I be able to apply? What if I only have experience of one phase of education, or one school type? Can I build experience as I go?

Yes. As long as you meet the criteria, we are looking for all areas of specialised experience and it is important we appoint a wide variety of specialist skill sets. Not everyone will have experience of everything. We will also record your experiences and areas of specialism as they change or expand.

As a governance professional who has worked in a variety of settings and made a number of improvements, but not where Ofsted ratings have improved, is it worth me applying?

If you can evidence that you have made a positive change that has resulted in better outcomes, or the organisation is more sustainable (eg the financial situation has been stabilised and improved) then this will count.

Will I need to travel to NGA offices for the interview? What will the presentation I need to deliver as part of my interview look like?

All interviews will be held remotely. When we write to shortlisted applicants inviting them to interview, we will include full details of the presentation you will be asked to deliver.

Questions about the role

What sort of time commitment will I need to make? What if I work full-time or have other governance commitments?

We expect NLGs to be asked to carry out between five and 10 reviews a year, but there will always be the option to refuse work or take on more where it is available/demand requires it. ERGs will take between three and five days (and in some exceptional circumstances, 10 days). Some of the work will need to be carried out during the school/working day so please do consider this and discuss it with your employer should you need to.

What sort of training will be provided, and will I be paid to attend?

A commitment must be made to attend training and CPD sessions. There will be a short induction session focusing on the administration and operations processes as well as two half-day sessions on the ERG process itself. Regrettably, you will not be paid to attend these sessions. Induction and training sessions will be held virtually.

How will the ERGs be quality assured?

The first ERG conducted by every NLG will be quality assured (QA’d), and this will then continue on a sample basis. QA will cover the quality of report writing, examination of the findings, a check that they link to the recommendations, and that the overall assessment of the ability of the board to respond the recommendations is realistic. Feedback from the quality assurance process will be discussed on an individual basis.

Will I be able to work with another NLG to carry out a review?

This is unlikely as each deployment is only funded once however, there may be the opportunity to split the funding between two NLGs in individual negotiated circumstances if deemed appropriate.

Questions about the case studies

Can I include soft measures as well as hard measures when showing improvement? How can I prove impact in terms of outcomes?

Hard measures are objective and so these are powerful; softer measures will also be taken into account but should be from credible sources. Please consider all measures available, whether this be internal pupil attainment and progress data, or external reviews or reports from other professionals.

Can the case studies draw on governance from the charity sector if I have led change on a board outside of education?

Yes, we would consider this as a suitable case study.

I’m finding it difficult to complete the case studies because as a governance professional, often the advice and guidance I give embeds gradually.

We appreciate this may be challenging, but we do need to see where your influence has resulted in positive change. We understand that some of this change may still be in progress, but even partial change and first steps taken upon your support or guidance will be considered.

Questions about external reviews of governance

Will only NLGs be able to undertake ERGs?

No, the sector will undoubtedly continue to provide reviews where they are commissioned by settings as part of regular good practice self-review.

Could an NLG carry out ERGs for a setting that does not meet the DfE’s criteria?

Yes, settings that do not meet the criteria for centrally funded ERGs can still commission an NLG through NGA, as part of good practice, regular self-review.

Will ERGs be carried out for LGBs/academy committees?

No, if there are issues highlighted within a school within a trust, it will trigger a trust board review.

Does the scope of the NLG role cover independent schools?

Independent schools would not be able to access the DfE funded support, however may commission an NLG to provide support through NGA.

How will the ERG process work? Is it the same as the NGA ERG framework? What will happen about supporting action plans for instance, after the ERG has been completed?

NLGs will be deployed depending on their skill set and area of expertise. We will discuss with you each deployment, ensuring you have the capacity to complete the work, have no conflicts of interest. There will be some differences between NGAs framework and that of the NLG programme. The funded support includes a progress check approximately three months after the review. There will be limited funding to provide further support identified where appropriate, and this will be negotiated with the DfE  on a case-by-case basis.

Will NLGs be expected to promote the government’s academisation agenda?

No, an external review of governance will look at the effectiveness and structures of the current governance arrangements and make specific recommendations for improvements as they relate to the current context. NLGs will not be expected to promote government policy, but as set out in the NLG standards, NLGs will be expected to model effective governance as set out in both the Governance Handbook and the Academy Trust Handbook.

Is there a link to the Academy Trust Handbook (ATH) and the emphasis placed on suggested annual reviews of governance and do the ESFA required reviews also link to the ATH?

Regular external reviews will be recognised as good practice in all settings, however DfE funded NLG deployments will only be commissioned in schools or trusts that meet the DfE’s eligibility criteria. ESFA reviews are generally triggered by concerns over financial matters, but with the new ATH and the move from FNtIs to NTIs, this may change accordingly.

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