Welcome to the Clerking Matters campaign page!
NGA’s Clerking Matters campaign began in 2013 following a jointly hosted roundtable discussion with the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE).
We wanted to raise the profile clerking and so launched the Clerking Matters campaign with the following four aims:
- to increase the understanding of the importance of the work of clerks and what can be expected of a well-trained clerk
- to help governing boards find good clerks where there is difficulty in doing this
- to help clerks know where continuing professional development can be found
- to encourage appropriate remuneration of clerks
Progress so far
Clerks’ development programme
The campaign achieved some notable successes, such as Lord Nash, Schools Minister announcing the funding for the Clerks’ Development Programme. NGA’s Development for Clerks programme offers a blend of flexible learning over approximately a nine month period and is designed to ensure both new and experienced clerks have the knowledge and skills they need to carry out their role effectively.
NGA is proud to run the clerks’ development programme. Our programme is accredited by The Chartered Governance Institute (ICSA) –the only DfE contractor to be accredited.
Clerks’ advisory group
After listening to clerks, we arranged our first clerks’ advisory group in Birmingham in February 2016. We are pleased that these meetings are now a regular feature on our events calendar with us hosting two meetings in the autumn term and two in the summer term. In addition to receiving updates and information from NGA relating to the processes and procedures of governance, the meetings provide an opportunity for clerks to network, share good practice and discuss the issues that impact the role.
In 2017, NGA was pleased to host their first ever clerks’ conference. The conference was so popular amongst clerks that we have continued to host one every year since. In 2019, Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System, praised the impact of school governance professionals. The 2020 conference was our best attended and offered delegates the opportunity to attend practical workshops designed to help them in their role.
Model job descriptions
NGA has also published two model job descriptions: one for a clerk to a maintained school governing board and another for the clerk to an academy trust board. The job descriptions not only set out the expectations of the role but could also be used by governing boards to determine what they can expect from their clerk.
Annual appraisal form
NGA thinks that clerks should receive an annual appraisal. To help Chairs of boards with this we created a model appraisal form.
Outstanding clerk to a governing board
NGA’s biennial Outstanding Governance Awards held at the House of Commons celebrate the best of school governance practice. To recognise the contributions made by clerks to effective governance we have the Outstanding clerk to a governing board category.
There is a Clerking Matters page in NGA’s Governing Matters magazine. The articles are written to give clerks practical tips.
Find Us A Clerk
From speaking to our members, we discovered that some schools had encountered difficulties in recruiting a clerk. NGA’s Find Us A Clerk service is a free service that gives schools a platform to advertise their vacant clerks’ positions and clerks to advertise their services to boards.
NGA is often asked what a reasonable rate of pay is for a clerk. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer and in our experience rates of pay can vary greatly. A clerk is a professional role and NGA believes that clerks should be paid accordingly. Since the campaign began, NGA undertook two surveys on the pay and conditions of clerks. In 2014, the survey focussed on the issues faced by clerks. The focus of the survey undertaken in 2016 was the pay and conditions of clerks. Although the surveys gave us a wealth of information about what the pay and conditions for clerks was, we wanted to carry out a more comprehensive piece of work and so in 2020 we completed a research project into Clerks’ pay.
We hope that our work in this area will inform pay conversations between clerks and those who engage their services.
- We are pleased that DfE are also engaging with more clerks and attended our clerks’ conference 2020 to speak directly to clerks and find out what barriers they are facing in their roles.
- In light of the evolution of the role, particularly in relation to MATs and the increase in the number of ‘Head of Governance’ and ‘Governance Managers’, NGA created a model role description for governance professional and academy committee clerk.
If you have any questions or comments about NGA’s Clerking Matters campaign, please email [email protected]