Outstanding governance celebrated at prestigious awards


The very best of school governance and clerking was celebrated at the National Governors’ Association Awards for Outstanding Governance in London today.

Presenting the awards, Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Tristram Hunt MP, said: "I'm very pleased to be here to present awards to such outstanding governing boards and clerks...I am extremely grateful for all you do, for the considerable amount of time, thought and energy you devote to give young people a better education and a better start in life."

The ceremony, held at the House of Commons, saw six governing boards and four clerks acknowledged as national finalists and take home trophies for their excellent work.

The winner of the Outstanding Governance Award went to the governing board of Churchill Community College from Wallsend, Tyne and Wear.

This year the clerking award had joint winners and went to David Walker of St Georges Church of England Academy Trust, County Durham, and Sally Coulter of William Farr Church of England Comprehensive, Lincoln.

Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governors' Association, said: “Our finalists for the Outstanding Governance Awards 2015 all demonstrated how good governance and clerking can be. They all show how they make a real difference to the achievement of and opportunities for children and young people. It takes commitment, skill, teamwork and clarity of direction to do what these people do and we are proud to celebrate them today at the House of Commons.”

Churchill Community College

Judges of the award for outstanding governing board, Duncan Haworth and Brenda Steel, said: “We ended up agreeing on six governing boards that showed, in a variety of different ways, their depth of understanding and skill in governance…However the school that the judges decided was the winner was Churchill Community College.

"The school has progressed from ‘satisfactory’ to ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’ and is now a teaching school. The governing board’s breadth of experience and skills is wide ranging and their expertise has enabled them to challenge leaders well, holding them to account for the progress made by all. The vision of the college – “excellence for all” – has resulted in an outward-facing school prepared not only to share its experience and knowledge but also to continue to learn in the process. We were very impressed by the way this governing body interacts with its students and gives them the opportunity to share their feedback so that governors have a clear picture of how students feel about their learning experience.”

Judges of the award for outstanding clerking, Stephen Adamson and Nicola Podd, said: “David and Sally are at the heart of the strategic team that drives and leads governance, working alongside the chair and headteacher. This collaborative approach to leadership and governance has enabled them to create, embed and manage effective and robust rigorous systems and processes for managing effective governance in their schools.

"Their relationship with their heads and chairs is a key feature of their success as it provides the platform and foundation for strong planning and leadership of governance and gives an excellent example of how collaborative working drives standards and outcomes.”

David Walker and Sally Coulter

You can catch up with today’s event on Twitter @NGAMedia and look out for the hashtag #NGAawards

Outstanding Governance Award Finalists 2015 in full:

Our 6 finalist schools were:

  • Churchill Community College, Wallsend, Tyne and Wear – Winner
  • Upland Primary School, Bexleyheath, Kent – Special Commendation
  • Silver Springs Primary Academy, Stalybridge, Cheshire – Special Commendation
  • Ashmount Special School, Loughborough, Leicestershire
  • Plantation Primary School, Halewood, Knowsley
  • Kingsway Community Trust, Manchester

Our 4 finalist clerks were:

  • David Walker of St Georges Church of England Academy Trust, County Durham - Winner
  • Sally Coulter of William Farr Church of England Comprehensive, Lincoln - Winner
  • Helen Barber of Riverhead Infants’ School, Kent
  • Anwen Bumby of Ysgol Glan y Mor, Ffordd Caerdydd, Pwllheli, Wales

These awards are held every two years and are open to any government funded school in England. The clerks award is run jointly with Governor Wales. The aim is to celebrate good school governance and examples of best practice throughout the governor and clerking community.

The awards are vital in helping to celebrate the work of volunteers. NGA thanks all those who entered.

The winners and the event at the House of Commons will be reported in Governing Matters in July and in SchoolsWeek. Don't forget to follow the event from 16:00 on Twitter @NGAMedia using #NGAawards. 

You can read more about our finalists in the event programme which can be downloaded here

View the photos from the event on NGA's Flickr page here