Secretary of State addresses NGA summer conference

09/06/2018

Addressing governors, trustees and clerks at the National Governance Association's summer conference today (9 June 2018), the Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds set out a number of measures that impact school governance.

You can find a full transcript of the speech here.

‘Call to arms’ for employers to support school governance

In a joint letter with the Institute of Directors, the Secretary of State has called ‘on more than 30,000 leading British businesses to encourage their employees to lend their expertise and commitment in the running of schools and colleges.’

Responding to the announcement, Emma Knights, chief executive of the NGA said: “Governing boards need skilled volunteers and a good mixture of perspectives and experience around the table in order to effectively support and challenge school leaders, making decisions in the interest of all pupils. The call by the Secretary of State for Education and Institute of Directors for employers to support their employees to govern schools is most welcome. Being a school governor or trustee is very rewarding; while the pupils in our school will benefit from the time and expertise that committed volunteers can offer, employees will also learn and develop .”

Investment in governor training doubled

The Secretary of State announced that the budget for training and support for school governors will be doubled to £6 million up to 2021 to ensure more school leaders have access to popular training courses that build on their existing skills and will help raise education standards even further. The Secretary of State said that this commitment will raise the bar even further, strengthening the expertise within the systems that govern our schools and colleges.

Welcoming the announcement, Emma Knights, chief executive of the NGA said “The additional investment in the training and development of the people governing our state schools, announced today at our conference by the Secretary of State for Education, is welcomed by the National Governance Association. Being a school governor or trustee comes with great responsibility and rightly high expectations, and volunteers tell us that they value high quality training that improves their confidence and effectiveness. Development is also central to ensuring governing boards have professional clerks to advise them. Schools need outstanding governance to provide the best possible education and positively impact the wellbeing of children, and investment is central to this.”


Plans to tackle ‘excessive salaries’ in academy trusts and ‘crack down’ on related party transactions

Speaking at the NGA conference, the Secretary of State for Education announced plans to tackle “excessive” salaries in schools and to “crack down” on academy trusts handing out contracts to family and friends.
This includes a requirement for academy accounts to detail staff earning over £100,000 and the percentage of teaching time those individuals undertake.

Emma Knights, chief executive of the NGA said: “The National Governance Association has had concerns for some time about excessive salaries being agreed by a small number of trust boards and supports the increased accountability expected. Trustees of academies have a duty to remunerate their executive leaders appropriately whilst being mindful that it is public money that they are spending.  Trustees need to consider a range of factors when setting pay, including pay differentials with other staff, the ethos of the school, and the Nolan principles of public life. We hope that the DfE will be providing guidance and support to trustees to help them make decisions that have solid justification.”

The Secretary of State also announced new rules concerning related party transactions to coincide with the release of the new Academies Financial Handbook.

Gillian Allcroft, deputy chief executive of the National Governance Association said : “NGA welcomes the tightening of the rules concerning related party transactions as a step in right direction but our position has always been that related party transactions should be an exception rather than norm and that academy trustees should avoid conflicts altogether where possible rather than managing them.”

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