In response to demand from schools and academy trusts for professional development services, the National Governance Association (NGA) has this month appointed twelve new governance experts to its consultancy team, increasing the total capacity of the team to 37 governance consultants. The selection process is competitive and thorough, with candidates not only expecting to bring extensive governance experience but also other relevant professional knowledge.
NGA’s consultants work across all regions of England, providing a range of services to schools and trusts which want to draw on NGA’s unrivalled expertise and experience to improve the effectiveness of their governance practice. Among the core services delivered by consultants are external reviews of governance (ERG), where governing boards make a positive step to undertake an in depth assessment of their performance resulting in a plan to improve and develop governance. Each ERG begins with a 360° assessment of current governance practice using a tool which is tried, tested and revised over a number of years. Every review report is quality assured by NGA’s Head of Consultancy, Clare Collins.
Other bespoke work includes the provision of independent external support for governing boards that are conducting their senior executive leader’s appraisal; facilitation of away days, and mentoring for chairs alongside a 360° review. The team has also developed a model of facilitated peer reviews where boards of schools working collaboratively agree to review each other’s practice in a positive, professional and confidential manner.
NGA also offers face-to-face training on a range of topics; popular ones currently include the new Ofsted framework for inspection, effective question and challenge, managing risk and understanding finance.
In addition to the 37 governance consultants, 28 partner facilitators are dedicated to delivering NGA’s Leading Governance development programmes for chairs and clerks. So far, 952 chairs and 568 clerks have participated in these programmes across 113 cohorts. Governance consultants with experience of governing MATs provide bespoke support on the board development programme.
All of NGA’s consultants have extensive governance experience and undergo a rigorous selection, training and quality assurance process. Materials and programmes support training and development frameworks and all reference NGA’s extensive knowledge, experience and evidence of effective governance practice, ensuring the highest standards of evaluation, support and advice for schools and trusts. As well as helping individual boards to improve, the confidential consultancy process enables NGA to learn about common successes and challenges facing school and trust governance which both informs NGA policy for the whole system and, through the advice and guidance services, is shared with other school governors, trustees and clerks.
The consultancy team operate as part of NGA’s professional development service which also includes the eLearning platform Learning Link.
Clare Collins, Head of Consultancy at the National Governance Association said: “Our team is growing rapidly, and in terms of skills and experience continues to be impressive. We were delighted to welcome our new recruits for a day’s induction to our frameworks and materials, along with the opportunity to get to know each other better, to meet the team, and to see how NGA HQ works. Having a team of over 60 governance practitioners with experience across types and phases of school means we can keep improving our full service professional development offer to governing boards in all parts of the country. Our approach to delivering professional development services through regional consultants and facilitators means that schools and academy trusts also benefit from important local knowledge and expertise, which creates an even bigger impact upon governance and our children in schools and trusts.”