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Why we need Educators on Board

Governing boards must have a balance and diversity of knowledge, skills and experience – including that of education professionals – to be effective. Teachers, middle leaders, senior leaders and executive leaders can make a valuable contribution of experience and expertise to the governing board of a different school/trust (to where they are employed).

We are encouraging educationalists to find out more about the opportunity. Find out why in this short video from our chief executive Emma Knights.

“An education professional from another school can be more independent, whilst knowing both the job role and governance. People from outside the school can challenge more confidently and they can be a critical friend without worrying about challenge their employer or manager.”
Tracey Bailey, Chair of Governors, primary school in Milton Keynes.

The benefits

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System Lord Agnew said: “The role of governance in our school system cannot be underestimated – it underpins our efforts to continue raising standards in our schools. Governors and trustees have a huge opportunity to make a positive impact, and we need even more people to come forward to invest in their local community... and to boost their own skills and experience. NGA’s campaign [offers] a fantastic opportunity for school leaders to gain more experience and develop their own careers.” [May 2019]

To a governing board:

  • Getting someone with education expertise and experience on your board can help in effectively supporting and challenging executive leaders
  • You can benefit from someone who brings ideas and insight from a different phase, type of school or area
  • Their specialist skills, knowledge and expertise may include data analysis, teaching and learning, SEND, curriculum, safeguarding and more which can add valuable perspective to your discussions and decisions
  • With experience of working in a school, education professionals can shape the culture and policies of your school/trust with a view on how they may impact practice.

“It’s really valuable to have an education professional on the board because they are somebody who understands an education context, can get to grips quickly with issues and knows the right language to use.”
Tracey Bailey, Chair of Governors, primary school in Milton Keynes.

Why would educationalists volunteer?

Governing in another educational setting is a fantastic professional development opportunity for educators, particularly for aspiring senior leaders and those looking to apply their expertise in another community. It enables them to develop strategic leadership skills and knowledge, gain a practical understanding of governance, and build networks with other educators and professionals from different sectors.

‘‘It’s been the best CPD I’ve had as a teacher in the last nine years.”
Connor Acton, secondary school teacher and MAT trustee in Leicester.

“You might go to a CPD session on how to become a great leader and think that was really interesting, but then might never think about it again. This is ongoing and the projects are constantly changing and involves a lot of people. I’m not in charge of how these things develop in the school, I’m in charge of asking the right questions.”
Sanum Khan, middle leader in a secondary school and a governor at a primary school in Buckinghamshire.

“It is exciting to be part of driving school improvement from another angle and to have an impact on a wider community. Governing is a voluntary role and a truly rewarding one – you feel such pride by investing in another school and trying to support another set of young people.” Rob Leitch, deputy headteacher of a secondary school and chair of governors in a secondary school in London. Read about Rob's experience in this blog

Our campaign has won the backing of several organisations supporting and representing education professionals:

We want to make teachers and school leaders aware of the opportuity to govern and the benefits of doing so, enabling them to consider wheteher it suits their interests and circumstances.

"I would definitely encourage boards to recruit educationalists. It gives them an opportunity to develop their own skillset, interact with people that they wouldn’t usually meet, [and] gives the potential to enhance their career.”
Tracey Bailey, Chair of Governors, primary school in Milton Keynes.

Supporting staff in your school to govern elsewhere

Governing boards also have an important role to play in creating a culture of professional learning and development. Supporting staff in your school/trust to join a different governing board by encouraging them to consider the opportunity and providing them with time to govern is a great way to fulfil this role.

  • When considering succession planning to senior or executive leader positions, you will benefit from having staff who have experience of strategic leadership and working with a board
  • Staff governing elsewhere will bring back new ideas, insight and networks to their paid role, as well as develop their professional and leadership skills
  • Access to substantial, long-term, evolving, no-cost development within an education setting
  • Experiencing governance will help to create a more governance-literate staff who understand the role of a governing board and can work better with the board in your school
  • By volunteering in different phases, types and contexts of schools, staff will gain new perspectives and knowledge to feed into your school
  • Gaining a strategic view of schools and education topics will help staff to understand the discussions and decisions of your board. 
Connect With Us
  • NGA, 36 Great Charles Street, Birmingham, B3 3JY
  • Phone: 0121 237 3780 | Contact Us
  • Charity Number: 1070331 | Company Number 3549029

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