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I’m sorry I can’t be there in person with you today. But I’m very grateful for the opportunity to say a few words on the subject of school funding.
We all want the same thing from our schools, to deliver an excellent standard of education to every boy and girl across the country. And good governance is vital for the future of our schools and young people.
The modern school governor is
• a skilled and experienced individual
• a vision setter and
• a key strategic decision maker who
• challenges their school to improve and holds them to account.
And the Government is also committed to supporting schools to improve through funding. For example, we have committed to continue to protect the core schools budget. So going forward, as pupil numbers increase, so will the funding going to our schools.
We know that this has to be done in a fair and efficient way – we must strive to achieve educational excellence, everywhere and we must make the best use of taxpayers’ hard earned money.
And you have a key part to play. All governing bodies whether in the maintained or academy sector, are tasked with overseeing the performance of their schools and making sure money is spent well.
The vast majority of schools set sensible financial plans and ensure that spending stays within budget. Governors are playing an important role in achieving this, both in allocating resources and scrutinising accounts.
And governors have a crucial role in challenging the school to achieve greater value for money. You are instrumental in challenging and supporting schools to minimise waste and to focus more of the school’s resources on the things which will be most effective in improving pupil outcomes.
Governors come from a diverse range of backgrounds and provide a fantastically wide set of skills and experiences. You give up your time, draw upon your expertise and use your passion to improve the life chances of children. I’m sure this is because, like me, you believe fundamentally in the power of education.
Having governors with different strengths will become even more important in the future. We have seen schools recruiting more governors from business backgrounds and this is certainly something to encourage. I would like governing bodies to identify those with the right business skills to join them as part of a diverse and effective governing body. This can strengthen school financial management, improve value for money and ensure robust management systems are in place.
Maintaining improvement in schools is rarely done in isolation. The most effective schools work in collaboration with others. They share knowledge, skills, experience and resources in order to achieve their collective aims.
So I would like to encourage you to take the opportunity presented to you at the conference today, to discuss your schools, challenges and experiences with other governors and to consider how you could work together to improve the governance of schools overall, to provide valuable support to more children and young people.