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What we learnt from you this year


We know that NGA members look to us for essential governance knowledge and support. But we don’t often talk about how much we learn from you (and we’ve learnt a lot this academic year).

This year, we saw more than 1,500 members at NGA virtual events and our Knowledge Centre resources were downloaded more than 130,000 times – a new record! Talking directly to members through our events, forums, networks, and taking note of the resources you use most shapes the work we do and helps us to represent your voices and drive positive change in the sector.

1.Taking time to reflect

Our updated governing board self-evaluation questions have been among NGA’s most popular resources this year. After so much disruption during the height of the pandemic, normal practice is resuming and many boards have been making time to reflect on their practice, evaluate and make development plans.

2.Moving the green agenda forward

Many of you have been working on environmental sustainability for some time, but we like to think our Greener Governance campaign has helped to push the green agenda forward in schools and trusts this year. Megan Tate, NGA policy and research officer, highlighted some of the work being done in all types and size of school and trust in our March issue of Governing Matters. We’re delighted to see boards using our guidance on the topic to get environmental sustainability on the agenda.

3.Making curriculum count

We all understand the positive impact that a rich, engaging and diverse curriculum has on pupils’ education, their academic achievements and preparedness for adult life. Many of you have focused on giving pupils the opportunity to make up for lost time this year: school trips, music lessons and end of term productions are all back in the diary. You’ve been looking beyond academic achievement, using our curriculum resources; working with school and trust leaders to review your curriculum aims and areas for development.

4.Tackling the leadership challenge

NGA members attending our summer seminars were clear that supporting and retaining school and trust leaders is a significant issue across the sector. Many leaders have been taking stock this year and thinking about the future of their career; too many are leaving education. As a result, governors and trustees are prioritising staff workload and wellbeing, perhaps now more than ever. Gaining a clear understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities is a sound place to start these conversations – many of you have used our guidance on What governing boards and school leaders should expect from each other to do just that.

5.Understanding the evolving schools system

Last month we shared our take on the government’s schools white paper. Many NGA members see the path to a fully trust led system as complex, but that hasn’t stopped you looking to the future and thinking about what this direction of travel means for your school or trust. More than 700 of you have made use of our recently updated Taking the next step guidance to support conversations around joining or forming an academy trust. Existing multi academy trusts (MATs) with plans for growth are also using our MAT mergers guidance.

Looking ahead to September, we are committed to supporting you – with more opportunities to network and learn from colleagues, more resources to guide effective governance and more opportunities for us to learn from you!

Ella Colly
Ella Colley

Head of Content

As Head of Content, Ella takes the lead on coordinating content development across the organisation. She also oversees NGA’s Knowledge Centre, ensuring members can find information and guidance on a range of governance topics.