Teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders are being encouraged to join the governing board of another school or trust in a campaign by the National Governance Association (NGA) and Inspiring Governance which has received the backing of organisations supporting and representing education professionals.
There are enormous professional development benefits to doing so. Governing in a different school provides valuable experience of strategic leadership including finance and human resources for aspiring leaders whilst teachers can utilise and grow their skills and experience in a different context.
Appearing in short films to promote the opportunity, the campaign has won the support of:
- Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) general secretary Geoff Barton, who says “As a leader, you are bound to be able to contribute to what the board is doing strategically and there will be ideas that you can bring back. There’s also professional development in what you can do for the other governing board, for what you can do for your own and what you can do for yourself. We want to encourage as many people as possible to become an educator on board.”
- NAHT’s Director of Policy and NAHT Edge James Bowen, who says “Governors play an absolutely essential role in our school system… it can be hugely rewarding for those who do step up. The same goes for staff in school who decide to be governors too. By doing that you get to see leadership in a whole different context. In a sense it’s the best form of CPD you will ever get, particularly for aspiring leaders.”
- TeachFirst CEO Russell Hobby, who says “It is hard for a school to fail over the long term if it has good quality governance, so we are really keen to encourage our ambassadors and participants to play the role [of governors or trustees] – it’s good for the school and there’s also a lot in it for them. Insight into how a board operates – the kind of things they ask, the kind of things that motivate them – is absolutely crucial insight for those aspiring to a senior leadership role.”
- The Chartered College of Teaching’s chief executive Professor Dame Alison Peacock, who says “If you’re a teacher and you govern in another school, you gain the opportunity to learn about finances, about the way they organise their curriculum – it’s a fantastic form of professional development. I really recommend to you, if you are thinking of becoming a leader in the future or are just generally interested in education, join a governing board near you.”
- Ambition Institute interim CEO Melanie Renowden, who says “I thoroughly recommend getting involved in governance to education professionals. There’s a huge amount in it for you as an individual, you gain fantastic insight, you get brilliant professional development and you get to build your network… The schools and trust boards get all the benefit of your experience in the education sector and as an education professional you can really get to the business of giving all children a great education.”
- Independent Schools Council chief executive Julie Robinson, who says “Great governors can be hard to find but those of us in education are well placed to serve with a ready-made understanding of education priorities and strategic issues. I would urge independent school teachers to consider becoming a governor in a state school – they can benefit hugely from the experience and we hope that teachers and school leaders will want to work together, sharing staff as governors across the country.”
Governing boards must have a balance and diversity of knowledge, skills and experience – including that of education professionals – in order to be effective. By sharing their expertise, educators can support governing boards in one of their core duties of holding executive leaders to account for the for the educational performance of the school and its pupils
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, help shape young people’s futures, and to boost their own skills and experience. The NGA’s campaign will ensure a diverse range of voices on governing and trust boards, which helps schools to reflect the communities that they serve, and builds on the Government’s support for new and existing governors – offering a fantastic opportunity for school leaders to gain more experience and develop their own careers.”
Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association said “Governing boards need to make sure they have the right people around the table and that means including people who have educational knowledge and expertise. Boards, as the employer, can create a culture that enables staff in their school to go out and govern – they can bring back practice from other contexts and will have an understanding of what a governing board does. When considering succession planning to leadership positions, staff will also have experience of strategic leadership and working with a board. It is absolutely fabulous development for educationalists and I encourage teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders to consider whether governing is for them.”
Dominic Judge, Director of Inspiring Governance at Education and Employers said “Educators already do an incredible job and we are increasingly seeing them sharing their valuable expertise more widely through being placed as governors in local schools. Becoming a non-staff governor through Inspiring Governance is an easy way to develop your educational networks and broaden your strategic experience across other educational phases and contexts. We would love even more people to sign up as, by sharing and developing skills through governance outside of your immediate school environment, you can support your own development and that of your school.”
Education professionals and governing boards are asked to register with Inspiring Governance – a free service which connects volunteers with schools looking for governors/ trustees.