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We understand that governing boards in different settings have different needs. To meet those specific needs, we have established a number of networks to allow governors, trustees and clerks to share best practice, to provide them with tailored information and guidance, and to gather their views to inform our work.
Our Clerks Advisory Group plays a valuable role in representing clerks and is a forum for clerks to raise issues, share best practice and exchange information. Due to popular demand of the forum, we held our first ever national clerks’ conference in Birmingham in 2017; and was repeated in 2018 bigger and better. Due to a high level of interest, further events are planned. In addition, a dedicated section of NGA’s website and termly newsletter continues to be produced.
We still see many new and developing MATs continuing to face the same challenges that their predecessors had, and the network allows us and successful Community MATs to share experiences and demonstrate the standard of governance necessary and the variety of possible models. The network has also continued to be an invaluable resource adding to our own bank of intelligence on the kind of MATs that are often most misunderstood, with the national and regional focus too often being placed on large MATs and those expanding rapidly, despite the majority of MATs fitting within the Community MAT bracket.
For those governing in special schools, our Special Schools Advisory Group grows increasingly important. The meetings are an opportunity for governors, trustees, members of management committees and headteachers to raise any concerns they have and share best practice. As a result of the group’s popularity, we are now organising a special schools conference that will take place in 2018.
In response to our concerns about the age profile of those governing, we piloted the Young Governors’ Network. Membership of the network is now approaching 200 governors and trustees aged under 40. The Young Governors’ Network is an opportunity to share experiences and improve their own practice. Many members tell us they value the opportunity to speak about governance with similar people. After a successful pilot, we are now looking at extending the network meetings to other regions in England by providing online opportunities to get involved.