30th April is a date marked on my calendar as this is the date Optimus Education will be holding their third annual governance conference in London. Having attended the last one in Birmingham, (I have storified tweets from that conference here. I am looking forward to attending this one too.
Governance is under the spotlight as never before and rightly so in my opinion. Although we are volunteers that does not mean we should not carry out our duties to the best of our abilities. One way to ensure that we do so is by attending training and by finding out about best practice. Attending conferences is one way you can do both.
This conference will be focusing on how we can develop our skills so that we operate strategically. The main take aways from this conference will be
- understanding the implications for governors of the changes to the Ofsted framework
- understanding strategies which can be used in recruitment and development of your governing body so that it operates strategically
- understanding governor responsibilities in light of the Trojan Horse scandal
The new Ofsted framework and governors
This will be the focus of the first keynote address of the day which will be delivered by Ruth Agnew. She will also be talking about evidence which you may be expected to present during your inspection. Ruth is a National Leader of Governance and a very experienced governor. Her address will be worth listening to (especially as she is someone who really engages her audience). You will also have a chance to hear from Matt Millar, NLG and Chair of Governors about his Ofsted experience. He will be talking about what evidence were the inspectors looking for and what questions were put to him and his fellow governors.
Developing your governing body so it operates strategically
The second keynote will be delivered by Emma Knights, Chief Executive NGA. Her keynote will be about the effective governance after the Trojan Horse scandal and the roles and responsibilities of governors. Emma will also be leading one of the morning’s sessions where she will be talking about NGA’s new framework of governance and how that can be used to drive the development of strategic vision by governing bodies.
Understanding statutory obligations of governing bodies
Mark Blois, Partner & Head of Education, Browne Jacobson LLP will deliver the third keynote address. He will be talking about the impact of the latest legislations and guidance on the work of governing bodies. Not only is Mark best placed to talk about legislation and how it affects us, he also chairs a MAT so has practical, on the ground experience as well.
Recruitment of skilled governors
The fourth keynote will be looking at how governing bodies can identify and recruit highly skilled governors. Recruitment of skilled governors is becoming more and more important but, sadly, at the same time it is also becoming harder. This session will, therefore, be very useful and timely.
There will be various sessions running throughout the day which will equip you with tools to help your governing body discharge its functions effectively. Ruth will be talking about how to structure your governing body and committees so you work efficiently. Restructuring may involve skill audits and there is a session on just that. Governing bodies need to be able to evaluate their own performance as well as the school’s. If this is something you are thinking of doing then head to Andy Kent’s (NLG and Chair National Co-ordinators of Governor Services) session where he will tell you how to self evaluate and come up with an action plan. As governors one of our duties is data evaluation which is what Dr Jamie Clarke, Executive Headteacher, Sponne School will be talking about. As governors we need to be able to understand assessment and curriculum changes which are the topic of one of the afternoon sessions. Whether we as governors are looking at data or assessment or curriculum changes we need to be able to ask probing questions. Effective and challenging questioning does not come easily to all and if you need help to develop your questioning skills and confidence then you must attend Shena Lewington’s session. Shena is known to all of us as Clerk to Governors and her session will be worth attending. Governors need experienced clerks who can not only minute these challenging questions but also guide and help them. One of the afternoon sessions will be discussing effective clerking and how to make best use of your clerk.
Who should attend the conference?
This conference will be useful for governors, chairs of governors, heads, principals, deputies, vice principals and clerks. In fact anyone involved in governance will be able to find something that will be interest to them. Two delegates can attend the conference for the price of one so you can come with someone from your governing body or school. Delegates will be able to download presentations after the event and they can use these materials to develop their governing bodies. If you do decide to attend, please do say hello. I would love to meet old friends and make new ones.
You may also like to read
Questioning and effective challenge by Shena Lewington
Developing skilled and strategic governing bodies by Ruth Agnew