Effective Governance in a changing world

January 19, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Political Science, Government
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Accountability & effective school governance in changing times Emma Knights Chief Executive National Governors’ Association www.nga.org.uk 0121 237 3780

Who are we? • A membership organisation representing the voice of school governors in England at national and regional level • We aim to improve the effectiveness of governing bodies by providing expert and tailored information and advice • We represent governors from all state funded schools, including Academies

Governing Body Responsibilities – where we are now?

Core GB Responsibilities The governing body is the school’s accountable body. Core responsibilities for GB’s have not changed (2002 Education Act): • The GB is responsible for the conduct of the school • The GB must work to promote high standards

But is the Coalition Government likely to change this? No And how is this different in Academies?

White Paper The importance of teaching • School governors are the unsung heroes of our education system.... To date, governors have not received the recognition, support or attention that they deserve. We will put that right. • The time and expertise of governors needs to be better respected and deployed. • Sometimes GBs lack the information or training to challenge effectively and support the senior leadership of a school to improve.

White Paper con’d • We will work with the NGA and others to clarify GB accountabilities and responsibilities to focus more strongly on strategic direction • encourage schools to appoint trained clerks • give governors easier access to data about how their school compares to others • GBs benefit from having people with business or management experience as members......we will encourage business people and professionals to volunteer as governors.

White Paper con’d • National College will offer high-quality training for chairs of governors. • Many successful schools have smaller GBs with individuals drawn from the community, such as parents, businesses, local government and the voluntary sector. • We will legislate … so that from early 2012 all schools can establish smaller governing bodies with appointments primarily focused on skills

Size & composition of GBs • GBs will not have to change their size & composition • The legislation is permissive – you can change within limits if you want • Size does not relate to effectiveness • This is not the end of the stakeholder model • Ensuring a minimum of two parent governors • Regulations will follow the Education Bill and changes will be possible from Sept 2012

Lord Hill at NGA’s Annual Conference 1. ‘the most important decision-making group in any school is the governing body’. 2. ‘governing bodies should set the overall strategic direction of a school, hold the headteacher to account and have a relentless focus on driving up standards – but not get dragged into micro-managing the school or the minutiae of its day-to-day activities’.

Lord Hill at NGA’s Annual Conference 3. ‘we need to ensure that governing bodies have the best possible people, with the right mix of skills and expertise, rather than just because they are there wearing a particular hat’ 4. ‘all schools are different and need different things at different stages of their development – so school governance needs to be more flexible’.

Lord Hill at NGA’s Annual Conference 5. ‘an energetic and sustained attack on the culture of guidance and paperwork … if you are serious about trusting people, you have to start trusting them’. 6. ‘we need – even in these straitened times – to find ways of supporting governors, especially chairs of governors, including by providing access to high-quality training and also making it easier to see a wide range of information and data about the performance of local schools’.

The Government’s position to-date • More local decision-making & less prescription • Academies Act 2010: – no maximum size for GBs – more flexibility on numbers for difference categories – elections for at least 2 parent governors

• Education Bill sets the framework for maintained schools to have the same flexibility, and for the removal of a number of local authority duties, e.g. compulsory SIPs • Reducing bureaucracy: less guidance • DfE wants to communicate with governors but ...

So do we need a new model? No, governance is not ‘broken’ • But we could do better: Ofsted judgments • Draw on the best features of so-called ‘business’ model and ‘stakeholder’ model • Do we have enough volunteers? • Do we have enough time? • Need to ensure strategic focus • Need to ensure school leaders are equipped to do their jobs, including HR aspects • Need to ensure access to support & expertise

What makes a good GB? • Relationships based on trust and respect • Managing the business well: – Chairing: NGA’s ‘Chair’s Handbook’

– Clerking: NGA’s ‘Welcome to Clerking’ – Appropriate delegation & committee structure – Managing time

– Doing the right tasks

• Knowing the school – hard & soft understanding

A good GB con’d • Collaboration & working in partnership – Listening to parents

• Accountability: reporting to the community

• Reviews its own effectiveness – e.g. GovernorMark, Target Tracker, ‘a’ SEF – Commitment to their own development

• High aspirations and a focus on school improvement

And this is essentially the same in Academies • If you are considering converting to an academy, see NGA’s Q&As v10 • do you need to convert in order to achieve what you want to achieve? • do you have staffing capacity & skills to carry out additional responsibilities? • Trustees delegate responsibilities to GB • Company limited by guarantee • Consultation

Federations Similar questions posed by considering federating e.g. Is this necessary to achieve what you want? But only one governing body: • do all schools have the same ethos? • is this a take-over or an equal partnership? • relationships, trust & ownership? • knowledge of schools, especially if not all are local

Accountability • To the local authority or the Secretary of State • Judgments by Ofsted • A ‘market’ regulated by parental choice • Transparency – publication of data • Stakeholders on the governing body • Reporting to our communities • Who holds the GB to account?

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