The Induction Suite

Using our unrivalled knowledge of best governance practice and learner requirements we have designed a new programme of eight new induction modules. You can find them on the current e-learning content catalogue. The modules will provide interactive and engaging e-learning with next steps guidance for further development and links to essential resources.


1. GovernanceYour role, your responsibilities, your organisation 

People often say that "governance is governance is governance". 

This module, the first of this induction suite introduces some key features of school governance common to all types of school organisation - the three core governance functions, the DfE Governance handbook, expectations of those who govern and the new Competency framework for governors, the essential ingredients of an effective governing board including the important role of your clerk. It also provides you with the opportunity to reflect on the type of school organisation which you govern so that you understand the context in which you govern, the pupils you are responsible for, the education that should be provided and where your funding comes from.  You will also develop an understanding of the need for confidentiality and how to manage potential conflicts of interests. You will learn about the importance of constructive governance and have the opportunity to review a governing board meeting, to develop your understanding of how to work with your chair, the sort of behaviours which make for effective governance and those that do not. 


2. Your organisationUnderstanding school structures and what children should learn

You will have been appointed because your skills will be complementary to the rest of your governing board. You may also have experience of school education. But do you also understand the core purpose of your school organisation and what education it should be providing to pupils and how the education they receive fits into their overall education and preparation for life at 18?

This module provides essential background knowledge about the sort of curriculum that your school organisation should provide and how and why your pupils should be assessed and what your governance role is in relation to this. It explains the responsibilities your governing board has to meet, the needs of all pupils including those with special educational needs and disabilities and those who are disadvantaged and how to use pupil and other premiums. It tackles how the governing board can discharge its duty to ensure effective behaviour management and to ensure compliance with equalities and discrimination legislation. It provides underpinning knowledge necessary for you to be able to work strategically, challenge effectively and contribute to decisions and judgements about your school organisation with confidence and to understand the role of Ofsted.


3. Strategy: Living your values, reaching your vision, managing the risk

Governors and trustees are often told that they must be strategic but it can be unclear what this means for schools and their organisations.  

This module tackles the issues experienced by those looking to carry out the governing board's first core function which is ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction. It introduces the concepts and the stages of the process school organisations need to go through to develop an ambitious vision and a clear strategy for realising it. It also looks at the importance of knowing the education sector and its priorities and concerns, plus the need to consult with stakeholders. Other aspects of the strategic role which governors and trustees need to be aware of include managing risk and evaluation effectiveness, and by completing this module you will gain an understanding of the governing board's role in shaping, contributing, agreeing and monitoring your school organisation's strategy.


 4. Progress and attainment: using data to improve educational outcomes

The acid test of the effectiveness of a school organisation is the extent to which it helps each of its pupils achieve what he or she should be capable of. Those in governance are expected to know how to judge if their school is doing this and to address areas where it needs to improve in a strategic way and by holding the school and its leaders to account.  To be able to apply the test all those who govern need a basic understanding how pupil's progress should be monitored, how pupils are assessed and how to evaluate their assessment results.

This module explains all of this and provides an approach to using various key information sources to provide an accurate benchmarked assessment of how well your organisation is supporting its pupils' achievement. It also demonstrates how a governing board can ensure that a lack of progress by current students is addressed effectively during the year by school leaders and how to take a strategic approach to address more deep rooted areas of weakness. 


5. Resources: Making the most of what you’ve got

Every school organisation should use its resources to ensure that pupils outcomes are as good as they can be.

This module outlines the funding and types of funding schools should receive, how this should be used and managed and the strategic and compliance function of the governing board. It explores the frameworks, policies and procedures which regulate school resources and demonstrates what is expected of you and your governing board to ensure security and solvency and to avoid some typical pitfalls. You will develop a clear understanding of how the most financially efficient schools use their resources and how to use this knowledge in the budget setting and monitoring process to evaluate impact and ensure money is well spent in line with agreed short and medium-term strategy. Governors and trustees provide insights into meeting the challenge of how to make tight resources go as far as possible. You will gain a clear idea of pupil and other premiums and what your governing board can do to ensure spending has the impact on pupil outcomes that it should. Various tools and approaches for developing financial efficiency in your organisation will be highlighted. To consolidate your understanding, you will evaluate the effectiveness of a governing board in helping a school struggling to balance its budget and work within its compliance frameworks.


6. Working Together: Building the team and improving the organisation

Governors and trustees have considerable responsibilities and, quite understandably, may find it hard to find time to think or do anything beyond that which concerns their own school or group of schools. Building relationships and working together with the senior executive team including the recruitment and performance management of executive leaders is central to most boards; most work hard to ensure that relationships are professional and enable the board to robustly hold the organisation to account for its performance. But the wider strategic role requires engagement with other stakeholders - parents, staff, the community, employers. This kind of engagement enables the board to create more ambitious, creative and responsive strategies which will lead to better outcomes for the organisations' pupils.

This module covers all aspects of working together and prepares governors and trustees for thinking and engaging with all stakeholders.


7. Compliance: Assuring your organisation, keeping it safe, secure and solvent

The compliance function of school governance is one that some governors and trustees challenging. The stakes are high and compliance breaches can have negative consequences, sometimes drastic, for pupils, staff, governing boards and the school organisation.

This module raises awareness of the key areas of compliance not covered in other modules including for example safeguarding, health and safety, admissions, information publication and management and school policies and is essential studying. It also explains what the expectations are for governing boards, governors and trustees and how these respective expectations can be discharged in practice so that all are confident as to their role and understand that it is not necessary to be an expert in all areas to effectively assure the organisation. Approaches to effective monitoring and holding the school leaders to account including where necessary, challenge and courageous conversations will be explored; you will have the opportunity to test and develop your understanding of key compliance areas and the governance role through the virtual review of a school, its website and some of its policies. 


8. Effectiveness: Governance making an impact, changing lives

Most governors and trustees are clear that their role is to ensure that their school organisation is effective, but they must also ensure that they themselves constitute an effective board which is able to identify when their strategy is making an impact, and, most importantly, when it isn't. This means creating a professional meeting culture which enables business to be conducted in a timely manner but without skating over issues that need serious consideration. It also means addressing individual governors or trustees if their contributions to the board are not what is expected. In order to do this, governors and trustees need to be aware of the standards expected of them, the options that are available to them for assessing their performance against these standards, and to be able to plan for developing the board when and where necessary.