Posted in governors, Uncategorized

Should governors be striking a deal?

Last week, governors in West Sussex went on strike in protest of the lack of funding for schools. This is the first action of its kind, as governor volunteers withdrew their support to schools for the day.

We contacted governors at Upper Beeding Primary School after they released a statement to parents outlining the funding issue.

We asked what measures the governing board had put in place to try and avoid getting to strike action. Continue reading “Should governors be striking a deal?”

Posted in governors, Uncategorized

Challenges facing school governors

School governors are people who want to make a positive contribution to children’s education. Governors are one of the largest volunteer forces in the country, and have an important part to play in raising school standards. The role of the governing body is absolutely key to the effectiveness of a school. Time and time again Ofsted has noted that the most efficacious schools demonstrate successful leadership and management – including by the governing body.

School governors provide strategic leadership and accountability in schools, and they appoint the headteacher and deputy. In some schools, it is the governors who hold the main responsibility for finance, and it is governors who work with the headteacher to make the tough decisions about balancing resources. Continue reading “Challenges facing school governors”

Posted in communication, leadership, parents, Primary, school business management, school governance, school leadership, schools, Secondary, technology, Uncategorized

Why should you consider using technology in the education boardroom?

The use of technology in the boardroom is fairly commonplace in the private sector; however, it is yet to make a significant breakthrough in the education boardroom. A look at the key benefits will get you asking: “why not?”

A hub for all strategic conversations

Typically, board packs are shared by email or post to school directors, leaders and governors. In practice, this means wasted time prior to or, more frustratingly, during meetings to find the right email in order to print off reports, presentations, etc. I’m sure we’ve all asked the question, “Was I sent that?” to be met with the reply, “You were cc’d into the email sent on the 13th, would you like another copy printed now?”

In schools, where personal email addresses are often used for communication with governors and academy directors, this also relies on individuals creating methods to filter out school documents from the latest Tesco delivery email and Netflix offer.

An online board hub makes it easy for everyone to access the same document at the right time in one consistent, secure place.

Last minute amendments, updates or reports can be shared instantly to all attendees, meaning everyone has the latest report for the start of the meeting, and making mid-meeting print-outs a thing of the past.

Fewer interruptions. Less distraction. Better board meetings.   

We’ve all been there, silently flicking through a ream of
paper to find the specific section of a report being referred to, or just the right report amongst the pack, whilst trying to listen and contribute to the conversation taking place.

A board hub that supports electronic documents can be searched, categorised and filtered to make finding the right information quick and easy, allowing you to concentrate on the matters at hand.

Quicker decision making

The ability to access more information in meetings results in decisions being made quicker, rather than extending into the next committee or board meeting.

This is perhaps one of the biggest benefits of introducing technology into the education boardroom, where the ability to have impromptu catch-ups or meetings just isn’t to the same degree as the private sector.

The right board hub will be a point of reference for all school conversations and will be accessible by everyone.

This blog was brought to you by our communication experts:


“SchoolCal makes it easy for education leaders, directors and governors to concentrate on what’s important.”

Web, mobile and app based: access documents, minutes and agenda’s anywhere, on any device, and at a time to suit everyone. Easily review papers, open links and share with colleagues.

Everything exactly when you need it: quickly search, filter and bookmark content. Easily access past papers, meetings and documents.

For in-between meetings: share news, updates and key information all year round, providing leadership teams with important updates throughout the year − perfect for multi-academy trusts who operate across multiple sites and meet infrequently with directors and governors.

Professional design, simple to use: set up takes seconds.

For organisers to:

  • Share information with specific groups, committees or individuals.
  • Easily plan, schedule and communicate with everyone from a consistent platform.
  • Schedule meetings in advance and edit to add documents, new attendees and location details at any time.
  • Message and send reminders to all or specific delegates.
  • Send unlimited messages, reminders and contacts.
Posted in education, leadership, school governance, school leadership, schools

The future of leadership and governance in education

TheSchoolBus, HCSS Education and our legal experts, Berg, will be hosting a joint event this February to discuss a solution based approach to improving governance and leadership. In anticipation, this blog piece by Berg explores the future of leadership and governance in schools and academies.

Strong leadership and governance are key factors for schools in helping deliver successful educational outcomes for their students. This can be achieved by increasing autonomy for headteachers and schools while providing them with a strong support structure to assist and encourage accountability. This support structure must include a renewed focus on the central role of governing bodies.

Recent governments have taken steps to increase autonomy for schools and headteachers by the introduction of academies, but these growing freedoms also bring an increased responsibility on the part of government to create safeguards that will maintain and improve standards. As such, more needs to be done to increase the support structures that will help to drive improvements and boost young people’s educational achievements. School leaders need a clear framework within which to act and the best way to achieve this is through greater cooperation between schools, an emphasis on professional development and more effective governing bodies.

Education and Industry Working Together

Schools and governing bodies should also acknowledge the value of school leaders with industry experience and encourage a greater exchange between the education sector and industry. This will ensure that senior management teams in academies have the right mix of skills, knowledge and experience. Greater efforts must be made by the government, business and education sectors to encourage industry leaders to serve as school governors.

Stronger Governing Bodies

While many academies already enjoy the benefits of a strong and decisive governing body, there are also many that don’t and concerted action is needed to raise standards across the country, including continuing training and support for all governors. Governing bodies should be kept at a reasonable size so as not to hinder their decision-making capabilities, and their focus must always be on clear and relevant issues, both in terms of the day-to-day and the wider strategic picture.

Some governing bodies are failing in their duty to deliver consistently high standards due to a shortage of governors with the right skills and knowledge for the job. Governors recruited from the ranks of British industry can provide qualities, such as confidence and assurance, as well as a wide-ranging set of other skills. These leadership qualities are critical in supporting headteachers and staff in delivering significant improvements to their academy’s performance.

Benefits for Business

Drawing school governors from business not only brings wide-ranging benefits to the academies themselves, but it also brings important benefits to the individuals appointed and to the business organisations in which they work. And of course, in supporting the raising of educational standards, British businesses will benefit from a future workforce of highly educated and multi-skilled young people. Schools and businesses can learn from each other in improving their operations, particularly in areas such as accountability, board composition and succession planning.

Raising performance levels in UK schools to match the best in Europe could increase growth by more than 1% each year, boosting UK GDP by £8 trillion over the lifetime of a child born today. As such, it’s clear that raising educational standards should be a defining goal for the present and also for any future government, as well as for industry and the educational sector.

As employers understand only too well, successful educational outcomes are about more than exam results – school leavers need not only the right skills and knowledge, but also the right attitude to succeed. The business sector can play a vital role in improving educational standards for the benefit of everyone. Support and concerted action from government is required both now and in the future, so as to create the conditions for real improvements in our schools.

In February 2015, Berg will team up with Dame Kathy August DBE to host ‘The Future of Leadership and Governance in Education’ event, in association with HCSS Education and TheSchoolBus. This provides a fantastic opportunity for headteachers, governors and business managers working in academies to discuss practical steps in improving leadership and governance with experts in the field.

Click the link below to register your interest in the event, and let’s work together to make the future of leadership and governance in your academy a successful one.

(The information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Berg or any of its partners or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.)