Release date: 19/07/2019

Dear members,

As we reach the end of another academic year, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for continuing to choose NGA to support you in your governance role. I hope that this year has brought you and your school many achievements and progressions, and that any challenges have been resolved. As always, thank you on behalf of the NGA team for all the time and energy that you commit to your role and to the pupils you serve.

In our role of representing the views of our members, we have continued to campaign this year on the biggest issue school governors/trustees tell us that they face: funding. A lobby of Parliament led by NGA resulted in MPs of over 140 constituencies in England being contacted by those governing in their constituency about the difficult decisions they are having to make and their impact on pupils, staff and the school community. Many MPs then raised these conversations in debates at the House of Commons and with ministers at the Department for Education.

Helping your board to get the right people around the table continued with the successful launch of Educators on Board and the continuation of Everyone on Board – both campaigns which seek to enable boards to get a diversity and balance of skills, experience and perspectives in their team.

The team have continued to produce an array of sector leading guidance, utilising our experience, evidence and conversations with valued partners, particularly in the field of staffing and MAT governance where we have produced several pieces of guidance and research this year to help governors and trustees in their role.

Supporting you in being confident and effective in your role is crucial to NGA’s work in helping you to make the best possible impact on your school, so I am delighted that over 40% of boards now choose Learning Link as their eLearning option. Every board can now access two fully funded places on our Leading Governance for Chairs development programme which we run alongside development training for clerks and for boards. I really encourage boards to take advantage of this free development opportunity, for which we have received very positive feedback.

Celebrating the achievements of boards and clerks at the Outstanding Governance Awards was a particular highlight of the year; it is always a pleasure to recognise those that have gone above and beyond in their role to have a significant impact on their school. All of our finalists are kindly sharing their experiences, so look out for those in future editions of Governing Matters.

The new academic year sees the introduction of Ofsted’s new education inspection framework: on Wednesday night I took part in a webinar with Ofsted’s deputy director to highlight what the changes mean for those governing. To support governors/trustees in understanding the new framework and how this affects their role, we will imminently be publishing new guidance on this.

Over the summer, the NGA team will be planning the projects which we will be focusing on in the coming year but I know that collaborations will feature alongside continuations of our focus on funding, staffing, disadvantaged pupils, SEND and of course good governance. We are also preparing to host our autumn conferences and meetings, as well as our annual conference which takes place on 16 November.

Of course, as I hope you all know, a good clerk is an enormous asset to any board, providing sound advice, helping to make sure we remain on the straight and narrow. But clerks do not always get the recognition, thanks and indeed pay they deserve. We will continue to campaign under Clerking Matters for a fairer deal for those of you clerking, and it is has been exciting to hear of so many stories where clerks have made a real difference.

First up next term will be the publication of the School Governance in 2019 report, revealing the current picture of who governs our schools and the views of governors/trustees on education policy and practice. This is the only annual survey capturing the experiences of those governing and we will use the findings to champion the voice of school governance across the education sector. New guidance on parental engagement will also feature early on, supporting boards in their important role of listening and working well with all school stakeholders.

These are just some of the highlights of the past year, and you can see a full round up of all the new opportunities and resources available to governors/trustees here.

Wishing you an enjoyable summer break,

Emma Knights, chief executive, National Governance Association

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