Another year over - 10 things you might have missed from NGA in 2016

23/12/2016

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At NGA we deliver all year round. And what a year it’s been 
for school governance. We’ve covered some ground and, as ever,
this year’s big themes had our eight elements of effective
governance right at their core. They are:

1. Getting the right people around the table
2. Understanding roles & responsibilities
3. Good chairing
4. Professional clerking
5. Good relationships based on trust
6. Knowing the school: data, staff, parents, children and community
7. Commitment to asking challenging questions
8.Confidence to have courageous conversations in the interests of
children and young people

As there’s no NGA e-newsletter today, we’re recapping on some of the
things you might have missed from us in 2016. You’ll need to be a
member to access some of this, so if you’re not a member yet
(why ever not?), please do join us in 2017.

1. Growing Governance

We celebrated our 10-year anniversary, paying tribute to those who had the
vision to create NGA in 2006 to represent and support governors (and now 
trustees and clerks) in England. We also ran a campaign to challenge
governing boards to step-up and inspire others with their ideas and creativity
and establish themselves as strategic leaders. Take a look at our video
This is our Vision and download: Growing Governance: 10 years of the
National Governors’ Association
and how to create a vision and turn it
into a strategy
. Click the link to read our Growing Governance case-studies.

2. Helping you get the governance right in
multi academy trusts

Schools can be complex organisations these days but NGA remains ahead of the
curve when it comes to how to govern them. This year, we published an all-new
guide called Welcome to a Multi Academy Trust
- high-quality practical
information 
for new trustees and senior leaders. 

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We also published version II of our working models, to help trustees in
MATs decide the best governance structure for their schools in order to be
effective. The models suggest what to delegate and to whom, with a
number of given scenarios. At the same time we released parts 1 and 2
of an updated guide, published jointly with partners, called: Staying in
Control of your School’s Destiny
. This guide is all about what to consider
when forming or joining a group of schools.

Finally, we started ‘Community MATs’ – to give those involved with governing
smaller MATs the opportunity to meet and share their experiences and practice
with others. These pioneering resources build on the experience that NGA has
of working with MATs around the country of various sizes, complexity and maturity,
as well as conducting our own reviews of MAT governance as part of the 
Training and Consultancy Service.

3. LA Maintained Schools delegation planner [Updated]

Governing bodies are accountable in law for all major decisions about the school
and its future. But this doesn’t mean that they are required to carry out all the
work themselves. Many of the tasks can and should be delegated to individuals
and committees. This updated planner sets out how each responsibility can be 
legally delegated and, importantly, what not to delegate.

4. Financial Efficiency

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Few of us volunteer to govern because we have a passion financial efficiency.
We do so because we want to make a difference to the lives of children and
young people. Well, using the school’s resources wisely helps to achieve that a
im. In the course of the year we used our regional events to promote good
financial practice and advised governors and trustees via the GOLDLine.
Gillian Allcroft, NGA’s Deputy Chief Executive, also wrote this piece on
managing the money
for Governing Matters magazine.

5. Pupil premium: assessing the impact guidance

This brand new guide was produced to help governing boards make pupil
premium spending decisions as well as how to assess the impact.

6. A guide to school visits

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This comprehensive and easy to use guide is for getting the most out
of visits to your school. Visits to school can be enormously useful in
carrying out the strategic role of the governing board. This guidance
explores how a well-planned programme of visits inform the workings
of the governing board.

7. Knowing your school: engaging parents 

Parents are key stakeholders and their involvement in schools has a major influence
on their children's achievement. This briefing note, written in partnership with
PTA UK, aims to help governors and trustees understand why parents are so important
and how the board can effectively engage with them.

8. Blogs Blogs Blogs

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This year we’ve blogged on a range of issues to stimulate debate and
provoke your thoughts and opinions. Check out our blogs:

Emma Knights on generosity at Christmas time

Learning from each other – what can schools can learn from trusteeship as
practiced in the third sector?

Let’s be open minded when we consider who we employ to lead our schools

The rise of executive pay: appropriate reward or over-egging the pudding?

On the misuse of the word ‘autonomy’ when referring to schools within multi
academy trusts

Emma Knights digs beneath the survey findings of this year's NGA TES survey,
which found only 12% of the 5000 respondents were positive about how the
Conservative government had performed in education in its first year

Are we doing enough to keep our staff? As well as encouraging people into
the profession, governing boards need to consider their role in retaining teachers

Are we concentrating power in the hands of too few? The risk of small groups
of people having too much influence over our schools and an appeal for
collective action

Emma Knights considers the nature of oversight and accountability in schools
and suggests a radical alternative

Tom Fellows introduces NGA’s Federation First Campaign and explains why
forming or joining a group of schools is not restricted to academies, it is
something that maintained schools should be considering too

School level governance: a debate about their purpose and future

9. Young Governors’ Network

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The 2016 NGA/TES survey of school governors and trustees found that only 11% of
respondents were under-40. So this year we supported a new pilot network for
young governors to try and address the many challenges that young people face
when volunteering. Increasing diversity on boards should be a priority for all schools.
Supporting more young people to become effective governors is one way that we
hope to bring a broader range of perspectives to school boards. Also, how old is
your youngest governor or trustee? Emma Knights blogs about at diversity

on governing boards and how we might begin to increase the number of young
governors and trustees volunteering to govern

10. Executive Leadership Research

As you’ll see from our blogs, one of our defining themes this year
has been executive leadership. Our research into executive headship
with Future Leaders Trust and NFER came at a pivotal moment in the
development of multi academy trusts (MATs). We were able to show
that despite the explosion of executive leaders into the system, their
role and remit remains worryingly vague in practice.

Coming up next year…

We’re extremely fortunate to have active members who let us know what
they want from their association. So, having listened to our members throughout
2016, we will be prioritising the following issues in 2017:  

  • Funding and financial efficiency
  • Clerking Matters: our campaign to highlight the importance of the work of clerks
  • Relations with leaders: hiring, performance managing, rewarding,
    supporting and developing, leadership structures
  • Preserving a broad and balanced curriculum
  • Strategic planning: how to measure what we value
  • Helping disadvantaged pupils
  • Increasing diversity on governing boards, including black and minority ethnic groups,
    and young governors and trustees
     
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