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«PLANNING YOUR GOVERNORS ’ DEVELOPMENT Governor Development - Your Questions Answered 1. New Governors Q. How can the Governing Body (GB) help new ...»

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Governor Development - Your Questions Answered

1. New Governors

Q. How can the Governing Body (GB) help new governors to plan their training and


A. A systematic approach to governor induction should ensure that most of the basic needs

are identified. The steps identified below represent a good starting point:

Introduce the new governor to the School, GB, and allocate a `buddy/mentor`.

• Provide a School Based Induction Pack for all new governors.

• Ensure the new governor is booked onto a Governor Services induction course as soon • as possible.

Agree ongoing development needs with the individual, recognising their existing • experience/skill, role within the GB and committee membership. A programme of development would normally include a mixture of formal Governor Services training, visits to the school to understand the work and ethos of the school, and observation of committees at work.

Include new governors in any GB Self Evaluation Process.

• Training Liaison Governors (TLGs) should be able to offer support and guidance, particularly if they have attended the Training Liaison Governor’s Forum and the TLG meetings.

Q. Which courses are particularly recommended for new governors?

A. Each governor will have a different range of skills/experience and a standard approach to training new governors would not be appropriate. However, a useful outline training

plan to consider is given below:

During First 2 years in Post During Your Term of Office - developing

- Courses About Your Role specific expertise for work you've been asked to do In committee

Induction Course for New Governors e.g.:

(best in first 6 months)


Understanding Personnel Level 1 Strategic Personnel and Employment Practice Understanding Finance in Schools Selecting and Interviewing Staff Understanding the Primary Curriculum

Understanding Special Educational Needs Finance:

Strategic Finance in Schools

Role specific courses if appropriate: Specific jobs:

Representing Parents as a Governor e.g. Performance Management Training or Representing Staff as a Governor

Developing Your Role:

Governors’ Strategic Role How to Support and Challenge to Ensure Accountability Although some governors may have received relevant training from other sources or have significant work experience in areas which are valuable to the GB, it is always useful to consider how this experience may differ from the education situation e.g. a governor may have personnel or accountancy experience but often the Local Authority (LA) frameworks and policies/procedures will be different. Attendance at relevant courses is therefore valuable in terms of developing an appreciation of LA practices.

Q. Why is it helpful to allocate a 'buddy' or mentor to new governors?

A. Having questions or doubts about a new role is a natural reaction. Giving a new governor someone to approach who 'knows the ropes' and understands how they may be feeling will help new governors to establish relationships within the GB. It will also provide the right environment for them to ask questions, to clarify their role and to establish how the Governing Body operates. People are more likely to stay if they feel supported.

Q. What should a New Governor’s Induction pack include?

A. A small induction pack for new governors will introduce them to the school, the Governing Body and its way of working. Contents may include details of GB Membership, School Prospectus, last School Profile, the Committee structure, reference to key school/GB policies, School Improvement Plans, a copy of the most recent GB/Committee minutes, a schedule of meeting dates, ground rules for meetings and management of paperwork etc. Most of these documents should exist within the school, and using a buddy/mentor to explain them can help new governors to appreciate some of the key issues facing the governing body and feel better able to contribute quickly to the work of the GB.

It is important not to over load new governors with information.

2. Our governing body has new officers, (CHAIR/VICE-CHAIR/TLG), this year, what can they do to get to grips with new roles quickly?

Firstly, wherever possible ensure that the new officer meets with their predecessor to ensure that there is an effective handover of the role. (Explain responsibilities, filing systems, highlight relevant information, and items requiring action).

There is a Development Course for New Chairs (including Vice Chairs and committee chairs) and a forum for Training Liaison Governors (TLG). These are usually in the Autumn or early Spring terms to coincide with new appointments following the election of officers.

The Local Governor Forums provide opportunities for Chairs (and other governors) to expand their understanding of educational issues and the broader aspects of governance. There are also regular Chairing Matters events in each area which provide an opportunity for chairmen/vice chairmen to update their knowledge and share experience.

Each local office organises regular meetings for TLG’s. These focus on new developments in governor training and consultation on future developments, and ensure effective communication between Governor Services and GBs on training matters.

Local Office staff are available to offer advice on individual issues. By visiting the Governor Services Web Site, {www.hants.gov.uk/education/governors}, it is possible to record enquiries/questions 'on-line', book onto training courses and access information.

3. We have a new clerk. What support should we be providing to enable them to perform their role effectively and where else can they get help?

Supporting your clerk begins when you recruit them. Explain that there is a development course for new clerks which you expect them to attend. Make sure you give them a full job description (DCSF and HCC examples are available on our website) which clearly outlines their role and responsibility in your school. Before the first meeting, find time for the chairman and clerk to meet to discuss the role in practical terms in order to remove uncertainty and develop an

effective working relationship. It helps if clerks understand for example:

where and how papers are filed • how agendas are drawn up • how papers are distributed • the preferred format for minutes etc.

• To keep your clerk up-to-date, there are regular Clerks’ Support meetings in each local area.

Clerks are also welcome at any governor training courses. The termly newsletter and the special clerking section on the Governor Services website {www.hants.gov.uk/education/governors} are sources of additional information. The e-learning programme clerking pupil discipline committees is designed to help them prepare for this particular role.

As they gain experience, they should be encouraged to participate in the clerks’ accreditation scheme which will enhance their understanding of the role and recognise their skills and knowledge.

4. How can our governing body identify its training and development needs?

One of the best ways is to use the Governing Body Self-Evaluation package. Many governing bodies have found this process beneficial in terms of identifying strengths and development areas and sharing their perceptions of the way the GB operates. This process supports the philosophy of schools and governing bodies being self-managing and self-improving and it also helps to develop team work - an added bonus! Governors first complete an individual questionnaire to assess the efficiency, effectiveness and knowledge of the GB. All governors then share their assessments, identify potential areas for development and then draw up a 'GB development plan'. The TLG will have an important role to play in this process.

Self-evaluation is not a one-off exercise. To achieve long-term benefits from the time invested in the process, it needs to be repeated periodically to evaluate the effectiveness of work completed and to shape a new development plan. The self-evaluation pack is available on our website or you can ask us for a paper copy.

The pack has just been updated to bring the assessment criteria more into line with those used in the Quality Mark for School Governance, Governor Mark. Further details about this award can be found on our website under G in the A – Z index.

If you forward a copy of your governor development plans to Governor Services we can take account of your needs in developing future programmes.

5. How can we make sure that the training governors undertake benefits the work of the governing body?

Put training on the agenda of GB meetings but make sure that it is not the last item! Ask governors who have attended training to provide a brief report to governors on the usefulness of the event, relevance of the event to other governors, and recommend 2 or 3 things which the GB could do differently as a result of what has been learnt. (Some GBs ask for this in written form - see appendix (1) for a sample form).

Discussions can then focus on what action needs to be taken to apply recommendations and review progress. If there are specific issues relating to the quality and relevance of training please contact your local office.

6. What are Ofsted’s Expectations of Governing Bodies and how can the training programme support them in meeting the necessary standards?

The Ofsted Framework examines the extent to which the management and leadership team,

which includes Governors:

• Direct improvement and promote the well being of learners through high quality care and education.

• Monitor and improve performance through quality assurance and self-assessment.

• Promote equality of opportunity and tackle discrimination so that all learners achieve as well as they can.

• Have effective processes for recruitment and selection of staff to ensure learners are well taught and protected.

• Have adequate and suitable resources, such as ICT equipment, learning resources and accomodation.

• Have efficient and effective deployment and use of resources to achieve value for money.

• Have the capacity to make necessary improvements as shown in its performance since the last inspection.

There are four gradings from outstanding to inadequate and schools should aim to be at least good. The Hampshire Governor training programme aims to support governing bodies in reaching this goal and beyond. To help governing bodies focus their training and development the table at Appendix (2) outlines the courses that will aid them to address the criteria against which they will be judged by Ofsted. The courses include relevant events from both the Centre Based and Whole Governing Body Training Programmes. It is also possible to have a session on other topics where appropriate to meet the requirements of the governing body.

The governing body’s development plan should be linked directly to the School Improvement Plan and also ensure that the needs of individual governors are addressed.

7. How can we gain commitment of our governors to attend training?

Involve governors in identifying their development needs, (the GB Self-Evaluation tool is an excellent way of doing this). Explore reasons for governors not attending and look for ways of addressing these (e.g. Remember that some development can be delivered without the need for formal training). Support can be offered to TLGs with specific issues. Linking with other schools (Cluster training) can reduce the distance which governors need to travel to events and provide a greater opportunity to target course content on local governor issues. Specific actions which a

GB might take include:

Gain the commitment of new governors to attend Induction training. We automatically • book all new Governors on to an Induction Course and offer alternative dates to attend (you might include this in a governor training policy which prospective governors see prior to being appointed).

Discuss and agree what is a reasonable level of investment in training for your governors.

• Agree a target that each governor will plan to attend at least one training session per year • as part of their commitment to keep their knowledge and skills updated. (An easy target to achieve for Full Access schools who are entitled to a Whole GB training session every year).

Seek governors’ agreement to attend training which supports their committee roles, (the • table included in the response to Q I is helpful in this context).

Ensure that the governing body keeps abreast of changes and developments by attending • new courses and briefings appropriate to the work of the GB. This ensures that, even where the membership of the GB is stable, governors stay in touch with the current focus on governance -'change is the only constant' in today's society!

Explain that the governing body will only not appoint members to selection or • partnership member panels unless they have been trained.

8. Where can governors go if they want more information about a course?

The Training Directory or Termly programmes provide an outline of course content. This information is also available via the Governor Services Web Site, {www.hants.gov.uk/education/governors}, and governors can make bookings on-line.

Each GB is encouraged to appoint a Training Liaison Governor (TLG) to provide support for the development of the GB and act as an interface between the GB and Governor Services on training issues. Tell us if there is insufficient information about a course to enable you to make your choice and we will try to make it clearer.

9. Can governors only attend courses programmed in their area?

No - definitely not! Governors can attend any Hampshire Governor Services course wherever it is scheduled within the County.

10. What are the benefits for my GB in opting for the Full Access Training Option?

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