NGA's new chair - Ian Courtney MBE

09/01/2015 12:56:46 | with 2 comments

Following the elections to the NGA’s newly constituted board, the results of which were announced at our AGM in November, the first task of your new board was to elect a chair. As I'm sure you’ll know by now, Duncan Haworth, the previous chair, was not re-elected as a director and so very sadly was unable to continue as chair.

I had not for a second expected to be sitting here in January as the newly elected chair of the NGA, although I am honoured by the faith my fellow directors have shown in electing me  – but sometimes unconnected events conspire and the result is that the right things happen at the right time. Duncan will be a hard act to follow and I'd like to thank him publicly here for his huge contribution and commitment to the NGA.

So – who am I, and what about those “unconnected events”? I have been a director of the NGA for 3 years, this last year as Hon Sec. I have been a school governor for 15 years, chairing for the last 3 years a federation of 5 schools in Devon; 4 primaries and a secondary. I chair the Devon Association of Governors, the Devon Education Forum and the Dartmoor Co-Operative Learning Trust. I was thrilled to receive an MBE in this years’ New Years Honours List for service to education.

Previous charity governance experience covers Rotary and various sports clubs and I was chair of a medium-sized charity working on the education, training & rehabilitation of young offenders in the South West from 2000 to 2006. C-FAR was around three times the size of the NGA in terms of finances and staff, but otherwise the challenges were very similar and I gained a great deal of interesting and valuable experience during those fascinating but challenging years.

My day job for 37 years has been with NatWest, latterly as a special situations commercial manager working with stressed businesses in Devon and Cornwall – very much a people centred specialism which, whilst stressful, was also extremely rewarding.

The unconnected event – the day before the board meeting to elect the NGA’s new chair I was informed that my application for early retirement from NatWest had been accepted. I have always believed that you shouldn't take on a job unless and until you know you will be able to commit the time and energy it requires to do it well. Chairing the NGA is a high profile, demanding role and as long as I was working full time, I did not believe that I could realistically undertake it. So, the circumstances, unforeseen and unplanned as they were, seemed to be telling me something….

I am excited by the task ahead and extremely proud of the NGA. 2015 promises to be an “interesting” year for our country and whatever happens at the General Election I think we can be sure that there will be changes in education. The NGA will be here, stronger than ever, to support governors through those changes, but also to speak truth to power on your behalf. Here’s to a busy year!