Clerking Matters campaign

Welcome to the Clerking Matters campaign page!

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In 2013 NGA and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) hosted a roundtable discussion. We found that the critical issues facing school governing boards in regard to clerks were: lack of understanding of the importance of a trained clerk; the need to pay clerks appropriately for a professional job; and how and where governing boards can source good clerks, and develop them further.

NGA re-launched the Clerking Matters campaign with four main aims:

  • to increase the understanding of the importance of the work of clerks and what can be expected of a well-trained clerk
  • to help governing boards find good clerks where there is difficulty in doing this
  • to help clerks know where continuing professional development can be found
  • to encourage appropriate remuneration of clerks

Progress so far

The campaign achieved some notable successes, such as Lord Nash announcing the funding for the Clerks Development Programme. After many requests from both clerks and governors, the campaign was relaunched in 2016. The first stage was to set up a clerks’ advisory group made up of experienced practitioners to help develop and drive the agenda. The group met for the first time in Birmingham in February 2016 and you can read about what happened on the clerks' advisory group page.

There is a widespread consensus that professional clerking is a good thing, but some governing boards can be unsure what that means. NGA published a model job description which not only set out the expectations of the role, but could also be used by governing boards to determine what they can expect from their clerk.

Find Us A Clerk

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From speaking to our members we discovered that some schools had encountered difficulties in recruiting a clerk. NGA therefore piloted Find Us A Clerk, a free service that gives schools a platform to advertise their vacant clerks’ positions. Available clerks can also advertise their services so that schools can contact them directly. Following a review of the service we can confirm that NGA will be continuing with this.

THE CLERKS’ADVISORY GROUP
If you are interested in knowing more about the group or to get involved email
rani.kaur@nga.org.uk.

Training was also a concern to members so we were extremely pleased when Lord Nash announced DfE plans to invest in training for clerks via the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL).


NGA sat on the steering group which developed the programme and the Eastern Leadership Centre (ELC), in partnership with NGA, now deliver the Clerks’ Development Programme around the country.

Get involved

Clerks can access guidance specific to their role in our Guidance Centre. Here you will find detailed notes on a range of topics, including organising meetings, recording information, advising the governing body and how the school is governed.  If you're not a member, find out more about joining the NGA here.

What still needs to be done? To help NGA gain a better understanding of the issues affecting clerks we conducted a survey which received nearly 900 responses. The survey covered a range of areas including the clerk’s role, remuneration and professional development. It was completed by clerks of both school governing bodies and academy trust boards.

Some clerks felt that their role is undervalued. Respondents told us about the challenges they face trying to get their governing boards to understand the importance of the role and that
it is so much more than sending out papers and recording minutes. Pay also featured heavily with clerks feeling that the remuneration they received was not commensurate with the role and often did not take into account the additional work carried out outside meetings.

Remuneration debate

NGA is often asked what a reasonable rate of pay is for a clerk. Unfortunately there is no simple answer and in our experience rates of pay can vary greatly. A clerk is a professional role and NGA believes that clerks should be paid accordingly. NGA’s good practice for governing boards is already informed by governance in other sectors and
we intend to do the same for clerking. We will look at clerks in other sectors, both to inform our good practice guidance and just as importantly the remuneration debate.

So while we’ve made important progress, we know there is more work to do to ensure that a clerk’s role gets the recognition it deserves.

Read more about the Clerking Matters campaign:

2017 - Inaugural NGA Clerks confernece Feb 2017

 
 
2016 - Clerking Matters article looking at clerks continuing professional development 2016 - New clerks advisory group has its inaugural meeting in Birmingham in February

2016 - Clerking Matters 2016 launched

2015 - Why getting agendas right is so important in clerking

2015 - Naming names in minutes

2015 - Independence: who do clerks work for?

2015 - Find Us A Clerk -a progress report

2015 - NGA's Outstanding Clerk award 2015

2015 - Working together - the importance of building good relationships

2014 - The importance of annual appraisals for clerks and governing boards

2014 - The NCTL Clerk's Development programme

2014 - Clerking Matters at the NGA summer conference

2014 - Clerking Matters article on working with governors

2014 - The State of Clerking in England

2014 - From clerk to governance manager

2014 - Clerking Matters article on training and pay

2013 - NGA and SOLACE announce they are working together to support the work of clerks and publish a job description for clerks

2013 - NGA celebrates outstanding clerks at our national awards
 

 

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Rani Kaur is NGA’s senior advice officer and campaign lead for Clerking Matters. Email Rani: rani.kaur@nga.org.uk

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