Release date: 20/02/2019

In support of the National Governance Association’s (NGA) third Clerks' conference, Lord Agnew – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System – has recognised the important impact that governance professionals make on the overall effectiveness of school governance.

In a short film, Lord Agnew says “I want to be very clear that governance professionals are the cornerstone of effective governance: they are vital. The role of governance professionals is not only about good and effective organisation and administration, but also, and more importantly, about helping the board understand its role, functions and legal duties.”

“I’m very grateful for your dedication in helping to make our schools run effectively. I am committed to working with NGA (and others) to help give professionals access to the training they need.” 

NGA is a provider of the Department for Education funded governance development programme for Clerks. Our Leading Governance offer is the only clerks development programme accredited by ICSA: the Governance Institute. 

Lord Agnew describes how ensuring strong governance right across the school system as one of his “top priorities” and that the role of the governance professional as “vital for ensuring that the governing body operates effectively and meets its statutory obligations”. Lord Agnew cites that Ofsted has found that the role of clerk is pivotal to improving the effectiveness of governing bodies work.

Recognition for the role of governance professionals is a key theme of Lord Agnew’s address. “Being a governance professional should not be an unpaid add on to someone’s existing job. We would encourage all schools, trusts, and local authorities to think carefully about the level of professional input that their board requires [and] invest proportionately in this important role and employing someone with suitable skills, training and knowledge.”

Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association, said: “Thank you to Lord Agnew for taking the time to share this message with those at our conference today and with the clerking profession more widely. This is a real indication that the profile of the governance professional role has risen greatly at the Department for Education over the last few years. Our Clerking Matters campaign seeks to raise both the status and professionalism of governing board clerks and this support from Lord Agnew is an important step in continuing to further these aims.”

Steve Edmonds, NGA's Director of Advice and Guidance, added: "Lord Agnew made it clear that the clerk/governance professional should be reporting to the chair of the governing board. NGA has been a promoting the need for clerks to be appraised annually by the chair. Yet our annual survey showed us this only happened in a minority of cases: 42%. We are aiming to see this rise in the coming year."

View the film.

Find out more about our Clerking Matters campaign.

Read our Clerks job description.

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