Newsletter and governor development opportunities 2021

In order to support governors through this academic year, and in response to the challenges we face as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we've revised the governor development opportunities available. The sessions are current and up-to-date to ensure that governors feel confident and well equipped to be able to provide the support and necessary challenge to the headteacher of the school where they're a governor.

All the sessions will be delivered virtually using Microsoft Teams until we're in a position to be able to deliver the sessions face to face once more. 

Read our newsletter and development opportunities brochure 2020-21.

Date Session Time
Tuesday 23 March 2021 Staff and pupil wellbeing 6.30pm to 8pm
Thursday 1 April 2021 Remote learning information  6.30pm to 8pm
Thursday 22 April 2021 Dealing with parental complaints 6.30pm to 8pm
Wednesday 5 May 2021 Curriculum 2021 update: getting back to ‘normal’ 6.30pm to 8pm
Thursday 13 May 2021 Inspection update 6.30pm to 8pm
Monday 17 May 2021 Staff and pupil wellbeing 6.30pm to 8pm
Tuesday 25 May 2021 Curriculum 2021 update: getting back to ‘normal’ 6.30pm to 8pm
Tuesday 22 June 2021 New governor induction: part 1 6.30pm to 8pm
Tuesday 29 June 2021 New governor induction: part 2 6.30pm to 8pm
Wednesday 30 June 2021 New to chairing – induction for governors new to this role 6.30pm to 8.30pm

About the sessions

Staff and pupil wellbeing

Governors should take a strategic approach to promoting mental health in their school. A key part of this is ensuring that a promotion of mental health is embedded in all the school's policies and procedures. It is important that this is a ‘whole school’ approach, which includes pupils, staff and even members of the governing board.

Course overview

This workshop will highlight the resources available to help schools through this challenging time.

It aims to help governors consider the provision of pastoral and extra-curricular activities that:

  • support the rebuilding of friendships and social engagement
  • address and equip pupils to respond to issues linked to coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • support pupils with approaches to improving their physical and mental wellbeing.

Governors also have a duty of care for their headteacher and staff and will need to be assured that there are processes in place to support staff and to check that they are not overwhelmed by workload.

Who should attend

All school governors, especially those with inclusion / SEND responsibilities and also performance management governors.

Remote education

Course overview

School attendance was mandatory for all pupils of compulsory school age from 8 March, but schools continue to have a duty to provide remote education for pupils covered by the Remote Education Temporary Continuity Direction where their attendance would be contrary to government guidance.

Many schools have reflected on previous lockdowns and bubble closures to inform their provision from January 2021, with many examples seen of much improved practice.

In addition to clarifying the mandatory requirements for remote learning provision, this session aims to share experiences of the most successful provision from the spring term lockdown. There will be opportunities for governors to share their thoughts and experiences of the remote learning provided by their school during the crisis so that governors are able to disseminate what has been learned with their own governing boards.

Who should attend

All school governors, especially those with inclusion / SEND responsibilities.

Handling parental complaints

Fortunately, most schools receive very few parental complaint and these are typically infrequent, but all schools must have a complaints procedure and governors must know, understand and be able to comply with its expectations.

Unfortunately this is not always the case and leaders and governors can inadvertently create additional problems when they do not apply their procedure fairly and consistently.

This workshop aims to help governors know and understand:

  • The requirements for the content and publication of complaints procedures that apply to maintained schools and academies based on the DfE’s guidance.
  • The process for dealing with parental complaints for maintained schools and academies
  • Dealing with parental complaints made against headteachers, chairs and governors
  • Anonymous complaints
  • Persistent complaints
  • Holding a complaints hearing during coronavirus

Who should attend

Governing board panel members, particularly those that may potentially deal with parental complaints or appeals. Governors that have membership of other panels may benefit from the workshop as it covers the process for holding panel hearings.

Curriculum recovery

This workshop considers the implications for governors of the key principles that underpin the DfE’s advice on curriculum planning:

  • Education is not optional. All pupils receive a high-quality education that promotes their development and equips them with the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
  • The curriculum remains broad and ambitious. All pupils continue to be taught a wide range of subjects, maintaining their choices for further study and employment.

This workshop aims to help governors explore:

  • The actions taken by school leaders to provide education in the current challenging circumstances
  • The effectiveness of leaders in adapting school’s curriculum to meet current challenges, considering what their school had achieved before the COVID crisis and where they are currently with curriculum planning. How are leaders planning to get back on track? What plans have been delayed or altered due to the COVID crisis?
  • How effective is the school’s remote learning strategy? What has been learned from this and can continue to enhance the curriculum and learning offer moving forwards?

Who should attend

All governors, but particularly curriculum focused governors.

Ofsted updates

At the time of writing (March 2021) Ofsted had resumed its monitoring inspections remotely, but was considering the form and timing of inspections in summer term and beyond with the government and stakeholders.

Course overview

This session will share and consider the latest information available in May 2021, and to reflect on the experiences of schools recently inspected so that governors know and understand the issues and lines of enquiry that may help them to best support or challenge their school appropriately.

Who should attend

All school governors

Headteacher reports

It is executive leaders’ job to provide the governing board with the information it needs to do its job well. They are required to provide whatever management information he board requires to monitor different aspects of life in school throughout the year – but being mindful of the impact of workload.

Therefore, as potentially the most valuable source of key information, it is important that the scope and format of the headteacher’s report are clarified so that the board stays focused on its core strategic functions and does not get distracted or overwhelmed by information of secondary importance. It is for the governing board to determine the scope and format of the headteacher’s report.

This workshop aims to help governors explore:

  • The scope and format of each report identifying the key information to be included
  • The frequency and timing of headteacher’s reports
  • The characteristics of fit for purpose evaluative reports
  • Making the most of the headteacher’s report – how to analyse and identify lines of enquiry, including appropriate questioning and challenging approaches.
  • Ensuring that minutes reflect governors’ engagements with their headteacher in response to their reports.

Who should attend

All governors, including chairs and vice-chairs.

Induction for new governors

NOTE: This induction programme includes two sessions that include pre-reading and a straightforward gap task.

Course overview

There has never been a more challenging time to become a school governor as schools and their governing boards are continually having to respond to ongoing and rapidly changing guidance due to the COVID crisis. It is crucial that governors understand their roles and how these support and compliment those of school leaders in these most challenging of times.

The purpose of these two linked induction sessions 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.

The sessions cover:

  • 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.

Who should attend

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

New to chairing – induction for governors new to this role

Becoming the Chair for the first time is a daunting prospect at the best of times, but especially so as your school emerges from the COVID-19 crisis and continues to address the to the significant challenges ahead.

However, being in the role of chair for 2021 gives your governing board a significant opportunity to help your school to not only successfully emerge from the pandemic having learned from its experiences, but to build something better and more successful than before. As chair you will play a crucially leadership role in partnership with school’s senior leaders.

This session covers:

  • How to work with your headteacher, governors and clerk to ensure that your agendas for 2021 / 2022 focus on the right priorities for your school during this challenging period.
  • How to ensure that your governing board’s plan of business is tightly aligned to school’s priorities and milestones for achieving these so that it is able to make a real contribution to school’s success.
  • How to develop and deploy your colleague governors to maximise their expertise, and where necessary to share experiences and to develop new skills.
  • Effectively manage meetings so that business remains focused on core statutory functions and does not stray into operational issues.

Who should attend

Chairs and vice chairs new to these roles from September 2021

Find and book a course

You can book a place on a course through our Personal Online Development (POD) system or email Governor Services