Governing Chatters podcasts

Governing Chatters –  chatting with a purpose! Join us for the latest news and views that affect governors, trustees and clerks of state schools in England. NGA staff and members have a monthly conversation on topics which concern governing boards.

You can find details of our latest podcasts below. All of our podcasts will be available to listen to on this page.

If you have an issue you would like to hear a chat about – or even contribute – please contact

New podcasts

Episode 19: What you need to know about the White and Green papers

In our latest episode, Emma Knights is joined by Sam Henson and Steve Edmonds to discuss the recently published white paper ‘Opportunity for all: Strong schools with great teachers for your child’ sets out the government’s vision for the future of education which was swiftly followed by the green paper, 'SEND review, Right Support, Right Place, Right Time'.

Emma, Sam and Steve discuss what was included, what boards need to know and what NGA would like to have seen included.

If you would like to find out more about either the white or green paper, we are running webinars in the summer term.  Our Governance Leadership forums in the summer term will be focusing on the white paper and we are delighted that Paul Cohen - Deputy Director, Governance and Trust Development Division, Department for Education will be joining us to discuss the implications of the paper.

Book your place at the forums

For more information on our view of the papers, read our information sheets and reaction

You can read Sam Henson’s blog on local governance

Episode 18: Being a young governor – in their own words

In this edition of Governing Chatters, Sam Tranter is joined by two members of NGA’s Young Governors’ Network, Anju Dhir and Matthew McKirgan to talk  about their experiences of being a young governor, the importance of diversity of thought and representation on boards and what they have learnt from governing.

Read the full report on increasing participation in governance

Find more information on NGA’s Young Governors’ Network and you can contact Sam Tranter through the network page to discuss how you can get involved.

Previous podcasts

Episode 17: Creating a culture of development

In our latest episode of Governing Chatters, Steve Edmonds discusses staff development with Mandy Coalter, Founder of Talent Architects and Gareth Alcott, Director of Strategic partnerships at the National College of Education. In a thoughtful discussion, Steve, Mandy and Gareth explore the key points in establishing a culture of CPD within a school or Trust, how to make the most of the CPD budget and how the culture of CPD should fit into a wider talent management strategy. They also look at how you can use the appraisal as a force for good and the vital role of collaboration and peer learning.

If you would like to find out more about our speakers, you can follow them on Twitter:

Further reading
If you want to read more about some of the topics we discussed in the podcast, you can find more below:

Talent Architects; how to make your school a great place to work by Mandy  Coalter

Inside-out and Downside-up, Steve Munby & Michael Fullan

Amazon link to Collaborative Professionalism Book, Andy Hargreaves and Michael T. Connor
Developing Great Teaching, TDT

Executive leader appraisal a guide for governing boards appraising headteachers and CEOs, NGA

CEO template job description, Forum Strategy and NGA

Whitepaper: The Apprenticeship Levy and Schools, NCE

A guide to apprenticeships for the school workforce, DfE

Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunity and Growth, DfE

Standards for Teachers’ PD, DfE

We are always interested in your thoughts on the podcasts, if you want to send some feedback, please email

For more on NGA, please follow us on social media

Episode 16: New Year, familiar challenges

In our latest episode of Governing Chatters, Emma Knights is joined by Sam Henson, Emma Balchin and Steve Edmonds as they discuss the challenges faced by schools as they start the new term. Download the episode now as we discuss wellbeing for leaders, staff and pupils and how you can best support each other as well as the challenge of accountability in the current climate.

We also explore how to balance the urgent and the important with a particular focus on the upcoming Governance Leadership forums where we will be focusing on NGA's Greener Governance campaign and the role governors and trustees have in taking forward COP26 targets. 

Episode 15: Your priorities for schools in 2021 and 2022

Join NGA's Director of Policy and Information, Sam Henson along with Fiona Fearon, Nina Sharma and Megan Tate as they discuss the findings from the 2021 annual governance survey, interpret the data and look ahead to the challenges of 2021.

Episode 14: Increasing participation in Governance

In our latest episode we are joined by three Chairs and Governors to discuss how you can increase participation in governance and why diversity on boards is important. We explore how boards have diversified their membership and supported new governors and trustees when they join.

Episode 13: Start of the year - lots to do

After a break over the summer, Governing Chatters is back. In the first episode of the autumn term, Emma Knights, Sam Henson and Steve Edmonds discuss the big issues facing you this term.

They discuss plans for school returns, covid recovery and recap on the Ofsted framework for inspection. Alongside this, they explore the role of skills audits, look ahead to the rest of the autumn term’s events and releases. 

Access the resources we discussed in the show:
Skills Audit 
Model Code of conduct
Ofsted webinar

Episode 12: Making pupil mental wellbeing a priority

In this month’s podcast, Emma Knights, Steve Edmonds and Emma Balchin looked at pupil wellbeing, what do we mean by it and what does the current data tell us. What are the key elements for building a whole school culture that supports pupils and engages them directly?  

We also explored the importance of induction and CPD in supporting new and experienced governors to make an impact and deliver the best education for their pupils.   
If you want to watch the webinar on Pupil well-being, you can see it on our webinars page.

Members can download the information sheet on making pupil wellbeing a priority.

Episode 11: Schools and their communities

Following the launch of NGA's latest report, MATs Moving Forward, we look at the key issues of the report and how they apply across all schools.

Episode 10: The role of clerks and other governance professionals in developing and maintaining effective working relationships

In our latest episode of Governing Chatters we have a fascinating discussion with four outstanding clerks who give us their insight on how you manage relationships, foster a culture of challenge and enable effective governance remotely.

Find out about NGA’s work to support governance professionals and to raise their profile with #VisibleGovernance.

Episode 9: Ethical Leadership and how it works

In this episode we are delighted to be joined by some of the key figures involved in the development of the Ethical Leadership framework and the Pathfinder project.

NGA's Nina Sharma talks to Carolyn Roberts, former chair of the Ethical Comission and three pathfinders - Karen Cornell, Cath Kitchen and Rosemary Hoyle -  about how they have used the pathfinder project in their school(s) and the impact the work has had. Find out more about the report and the project.   

Episode 8: Farewell to 2020

Christmas is a time for reflection, today we are going to look back on what we have learnt from the seminars, reflect on where we are with Covid and the impact on the sector. We are also going to look at what we have learnt from such a strange year and with a sense of optimism(?) look ahead to what 2021 might contain.  Watch the annual conference seminars. 

Episode 7: Annual Conference, Seminars and the autumn term so far

Join us as we discuss the latest on how schools operate through the autumn term and deal with the challenges of the pandemic. 

We also look ahead to our annual conference seminar series which will look at the Governing Board's role in: 

- Closing the disadvantage gap for pupils
- Promoting diversity & equality in senior leadership
- The well-being and retention of senior leadership 
- The future outlook for school improvement and accountability

Episode 6: Leading during Covid

Schools are open and children in the main are returning to school thanks to the efforts of senior leaders, staff and governors. It has been a remarkable effort to get everything ready.  

That effort can come at a cost and today we want to focus on leadership, the headline findings from our latest annual governance survey on leadership as well as the recruitment, wellbeing, appraisal and development of leaders. Access NGA's resources on recruitment, wellbeing and development of leaders. 

Episode 5: New academic year - Ready to go?

As we start a new academic year, schools returning fully for the first time since lockdown, we look at some of things NGA has been up to during August. 

Emma Knights OBE, NGA Chief Executive, Sam Henson, NGA Director of Policy and information , Emma Balchin, NGA Director of Professional Development look at the Annual Governance Survey, Skills Audits and Board reflection as well as the implications of the student grade decisions made during August. 

Episode 4: Time to reflect?

Well, that has been a busy summer term, it has been testament to the strength of boards and senior leadership along with their staff that we have come through the lockdown the way we have.

August is a chance for us all to take stock of where we are,  look ahead to the new academic year and look at the big strategic issues we face.

Episode 3: Planning ahead - what does September look like?

Join Emma Knights OBE, NGA Chief Executive, Sam Henson, NGA Director of Policy and information , Emma Balchin, NGA Director of Professional Development and Steve Edmonds, NGA Director of Advice and Guidance as they discuss the latest policy announcements from DfE and they make sense of where we are now. We explore the key issues in planning for the September return to school, catch up money and how and what you should be focussed on monitoring if you can’t visit your school.  Read our COVID-19 monitoring  priorities information sheet.                                                                                                         

Episode 2: Examining the new Ofsted inspection framework

Join us as Emma Knights OBE , NGA Chief Executive, explores NGA’s latest report into the new Education Inspection Framework with Sam Henson, NGA Director of Policy and information and Nina Sharma, NGA Policy and Information Officer. We outline our findings into the impact of the new framework on governors, outline what has improved and what could be improved to support governors and trustees. Read the report. 

Episode 1: Governing through COVID-19

Listen to our monthly update on the latest school governance issue. In this episode Emma Knights OBE, NGA Chief Executive, is joined by Steve Edmonds, NGA Director of Advice and Guidance and Emma Balchin, NGA Director of Professional Development to discuss the challenges faced by schools during the COVID-19 lockdown and how NGA has supported all schools. We explore the role CPD can play on the lockdown and we also look ahead to our next podcast covering our report into the new Ofsted inspection framework.

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