Governor development opportunities

Our governor training sessions are designed to make sure that you're fully equipped with the information you need to support your school. The sessions aim to make sure you feel confident to be able to provide challenge to the headteacher of the school and to get the most out of your role. 

Cost of training

Sessions are fully subsidised by the Barnsley Schools' Alliance. Governors in all schools and academies in the Barnsley borough can attend the sessions at no charge to the school/academy.

Book a course

You can book a place on a course by emailing us at Please tell us your name, school, governor category, email address and phone number.

Spaces on each course are limited, so request to book your place early to avoid disappointment.

Cancelling a course 

If you need to cancel a place on a course email as soon as possible. If we receive less than 48 hours notice of non-attendance the school/academy will be charged a £55 cancellation fee.


Sessions will be delivered either in person or virtually. The in-person sessions will be held at HCAT Offices, Unit 4, 4 Great Cliffe Road, Dodworth, Barnsley, S75 3SP. Parking is available.

For all sessions please plan to arrive, or log onto the virtual session, 30 minutes before the start time.

Date Session Delivery method Time
Monday 18 September 2023 Building a picture 2023-24 update (for LA maintained schools only) Microsoft Teams 6pm to 7.30pm
Monday 25 September 2023 Welcome to governance In-person 5.30pm to 8pm
Tuesday 26 September 2023 Chairing the governing body - a session for new (and not so new) chairs  In-person 6pm to 7.30pm
Wednesday, 27 September 2023 Safeguarding training In-person 5.30pm to 8.30pm 
Monday 2 October 2023 Effective headteacher appraisal In-person  6pm to 7.30pm 
Monday 9 October 2023 Developing the governor role: support and challenge… getting the balance right In-person  6pm to 7.30pm 
Monday 13 November 2023 Handling complaints

Please note that this session will be based on the Barnsley Council Model Complaints Procedure. Schools were encouraged to adopt this in September 2022. It has since been reviewed in September 2023.
In-person  6pm to 7.30pm 

More sessions are being finalised and will be available soon.

About the sessions

Building a picture 2023-24 update

Our risk assessment framework continues to be firmly rooted in the school self-evaluation process. We recognise that accurate self-evaluation is not only a sign of strong leadership but, undoubtedly, leads to self-improving schools.

The ‘Building a Picture’ document includes the LA risk assessment criteria. This is used to engage leaders and governors of LA maintained schools in a wider discussion about their self-evaluation.

This document underpins the annual cycle of meetings that include school leaders, governors and the aligned SEO. Evidence is then shared to support a school’s evaluation judgements. If its agreed that a school would benefit from additional support to address its priorities at the pace required, the SEO will work with leaders and alliance partners to ensure that high quality help is secured in a timely manner.

Governors are strongly encouraged to attend this briefing session. The risk assessment criteria, and its correlation with the Ofsted inspection framework, will be explored. This will secure governors’ understanding of the self-evaluation process to enable engagement in this evaluation process.

Chairing the governing body – a session for new (and not so new) chairs


Effective leadership of the governing board is crucial in ensuring that governance is effective in fulfilling its strategic functions.

Becoming the Chair for the first time is a daunting prospect at the best of times, but especially so as your schools regroup following significant disruptions due to the COVID pandemic.


This session explores:

  • working with your headteacher and clerk to set the right agendas for your school throughout the school year.
  • ensuring that the work of your board is focused on your school’s priorities by making sure that governors are well informed and able to engage purposefully in discussions and activities to support these.
  • working effectively with your fellow governors to deploy their expertise and experience so that your board functions as effectively as possible.
  • staying in control of your meetings so that everyone remains focused on their roles and responsibilities, particularly towards pupils and staff.
  • ensuring that discussions do not stray into operational matters.


New Chairs, Vice Chairs and those aspiring to lead their governing board.

Led by 

Brian Beal

Developing the governor role: support and challenge… getting the balance right

This session covers:

  • Ensuring that there is a high level of trust and respect between the headteacher and governing board and that the headteacher is open to questions and suggestions from the board.
  • Identifying clear ground rules for discussions and decision-making, including respecting confidentiality following discussions.
  • Being able to hold the headteacher and school leadership to account by asking questions in a positive and constructive manner and ensuring that, where appropriate, the governing board follows this through.
  • Ensuring that the governing board is able to discuss the school’s strengths and weaknesses openly and frankly with the school’s leadership team.
  • Facilitating opportunities for the leadership team to work with governors on improvement issues and the implementation of policies.


All governors that have been through the induction process and have some experience as governors but may wish to consider ways to increase their effectiveness.

Led by 

Brian Beal

Effective headteacher appraisal


  • To understand the statutory requirements for the performance management of headteachers.
  • To understand the roles and expectations of the governing board (panel), the external adviser and headteacher.
  • To know and understand the performance management cycle including the setting of objectives, summative review of performance, and interim monitoring.
  • To know and understand the preparation for, effective participation in, and follow-up actions for the annual performance management meeting with the headteacher.
  • To know and understand what constitutes well focused, appropriate and rigorous objectives and success criteria.


Headteacher appraisal governors.

Led by 

Brian Beal

Welcome to governance

Highly recommended for all new governors


The purpose of this face-to-face induction session is to ensure that you know and understand your responsibilities as you contribute to the work of your governing board in fulfilling its statutory duties. It aims to provide you with the insights and the confidence to contribute effectively in your first year as a new governor.

Aims and objectives

The session covers:

  • knowing and understanding the core functions of the governing board and the key features of effective governance;
  • the governing board’s accountability to, and relationship with others (e.g. Ofsted, DFE, LA, Diocese);
  • the governance structure of the organisation, including its constitution and procedures, scheme of delegation and how and where decisions can be made.


All new governors, including for maintained schools and academies (including at local and trust levels).

Led by

Brian Beal

Safeguarding training 


Statutory for all governors, according to statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education. Attendees are expected to be aware of this document. Ch 2 will be covered in the session.

Aims and objectives 

  • Define safeguarding and consider governor role.
  • Recognise safeguarding legislation, guidance and inspection criteria for Education.
  • Recognise vulnerable groups and consider current issues including Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment/Online Safety/Filtering and Monitoring.
  • Reflect on issues and lessons learnt for Education in Serious Cases.
  • Consider culture and how to ‘temperature check’ your setting in regards to safeguarding responsibilities.


All governors.

Led by 

Vicki Maybin, Safeguarding Advisor for Education Wakefield Safeguarding Children Partnership