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A year in governance


As we wrap up for the year at NGA, we’ve been looking back on a busy 2022. Here are some of the ways we’ve been championing and supporting the governance community this year.

Navigating a changing system

Back in March, we kept members updated on the launch of the White Paper and SEND Green Paper, and what these meant for your schools and trusts. We know some of you have looked once again at the future options for your organisation in light of the DfE's continued drive for schools to become part of a family of schools. We updated our popular Taking the next step guidance and published MAT mergers guidance to help you with those conversations. For those in MATs we’ve also continued to expand our support and insight – from publishing our 12 expectations to make the local tier meaningful– to updating guidance on setting executive pay.

Helping boards and leaders work well together

In April, we updated our popular guidance What governing boards and school leaders should expect from each other. Now with versions for those governing in a single school, and for MATs. With over 8,000 downloads this year, we know building trusting, respectful relationships between boards and school leaders remains a key priority. That’s why we’ve now launched new induction sessions to help leaders build their understanding of how to work effectively with their boards, bespoke for different settings.

Championing Equality and diversity

Across the year we’ve continued our work championing equality, diversity, and inclusion. To give governing boards the tools and knowledge they need to create and inclusive and welcoming school and trust culture, we partnered with ASCL to develop free e-learning modules. We also responded to requests for more practical support to increase governing board diversity with our diversity indicators form, with input from members. Thanks to those who gave up their time to join our focus groups that helped us to ensure this resource meets your needs.

Promoting governance

In this year’s annual governance survey, you told us that recruiting to your board was becoming increasingly challenging. So, as part of our ongoing Visible Governance campaign we got to work on resources to help. In July we launched a short, animated film to explain the role of governors and trustees in helping schools and trusts succeed – which has now been viewed over 4 thousand times! We’ve also updated our popular ‘right people around the table’ guidance and guide on finding your next chair, as well published a new resource to encourage employers to support their staff to govern.

Amplifying your voices

As schools returned in September, the increasing concerns around school funding, energy prices and impact of the raging cost of living came into sharp focus. Balancing the budget returned to the top spot of your challenges and we worked with others across the sector to highlight the impossible situations you and your organisations were facing directly with MPs. We’re pleased that the government’s autumn statement announced additional funding, having listened to our collective voices. We know there is more needed, but for many this has given a lifeline.

Supporting the success and wellbeing of children and young people

As ever, ensuring the wellbeing and welfare of the children and young people we serve remains the central goal for us all. So this autumn we focused on equipping boards to best do that – we updated our safeguarding guidance in line with changes to KCSIE and launched a new safeguarding Learning Link module, which turned out to be our most popular module ever!

At our annual conference, Children’s Society’s Mark Russell called on boards to maintain a relentless focus on children’s wellbeing to ensure “every child has the best chance to have the best childhood” regardless of postcode, background or income. In this spirit we’ve published new guidance on tackling educational disadvantage and supporting pupil wellbeing to help governing boards take on this challenge.

Driving Greener Governance

Another theme central to our work this year has been Greener Governance. We’ve enjoyed seeing boards across the country take the #GreenerGovernance pledge, and we’ve collaborated with over 10 organisations to equip you to oversee this work. Over 2000 people have downloaded our environmental sustainability guidance and many of those who joined us at our conference shared their passion for championing environmental sustainability – and got to hear directly from a panel of brilliant young people setting the example.

Creating a career pathway for Governance professionals

Finally, we ended the calendar year with the launch of the long anticipated and highly requested career pathway for governance professionals. The pathway was endorsed by Baroness Barran, Minister for the school system who recognised the need to support aspiring and existing governance professionals to succeed in their career. More than 300 members joined us at the launch and we were inspired by conversations at the network meeting around investing in career development. We look forward to seeing how it will be used in the new year and beyond.   

Looking to 2023

So as we wind down things at NGA ready for a well earned rest, we hope you are doing the same, proud of the things you have achieved this year in supporting your schools and trusts. And thank you – to governors, trustees, governance professionals & school and trust leaders – for your continued commitment to children and young people. We look forward to continuing to support