Businesses lead drive to professionalise school governance with new online training
Leading organisations in the finance and education sectors have united to develop free, online school governance training to ensure professionals new to the role are better prepared for their journey from the workplace to classroom.
Lloyds Banking Group, The Key and SGOSS - Governors for Schools have joined forces to launch a new e-learning module, School Governor Induction, after new findings highlight the need for more professional skills on school governing boards and higher quality, more accessible induction training.
The free module, designed to offer valuable support to newly appointed, professional academy trustees, local governors and governors of maintained schools, launches to the sector today and follows the release of the DfE’s Competency Framework for Governance in January 2017 - which sets out the competencies needed to effectively govern schools and multi-academy trusts (MATs).
According to findings from The Key's annual survey of school governors, more than a third (34%) of governors believe that having a broader set of skills on their board would most improve its impact and individuals with financial expertise are the most in demand. A quarter of governors also call for higher quality induction training with many finding current initial training difficult to access or out of sync with the school year .
As one governor explains: “In my experience, induction training happens at the end of each term, often on a Saturday, which is not only inconvenient but happens months after someone has been to their first meeting.”
The new School Governor Induction e-learning module addresses the need for more tailored governor training for professionals with busy schedules, and is a bid to improve retention rates among governors in their first year of the role. At just an hour long, the high-level online induction recognises and makes links between business skills and the role of school governor, and can be accessed anytime, anywhere and on any smart device. It will ensure that governors feel prepared and confident before they attend their first meeting, and are equipped to make an impact from the start.
Speaking about the new module, David Rowsell, Education and Financial Education Lead at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “This e-learning module has been designed with the needs of professionals at its core and aims to address the inconsistency of training available to school governors. In the work place, few would attend a board meeting unprepared and this should be no different in a school governor context. Alongside SGOSS and The Key, we have developed a robust and comprehensive form of online training that can be fitted around a busy schedule and shows professionals how they can transfer their skills to make a real difference to education.
“As part of Lloyds Banking Group’s wider ambition to help Britain prosper, we hope that by developing such innovative and forward-thinking training resources we are helping to provide schools up and down the country with the excellent support and skills that they require.”
This transference of skills is not one way, however. More than eight in 10 (85%) school governors in The Key's survey say they’ve learnt new skills in the role. Two-thirds (66%) feel their school governance experience has equipped them with new skills for the workplace, and more than three-quarters (76%) of the employed governors say it has benefited them in terms of gaining or using their leadership and managerial skills in the workplace.
Janet Scott, CEO of SGOSS – Governors for Schools, said: “Offering valuable support to governors, particularly as they embark on their journey, is integral to what SGOSS offers. The new School Governor Induction module draws on the experiences and anecdotes of some of the many professionals that we’ve placed in school governing boards over the years and who have gone on to have a real impact in their roles.
“This collaboration between Lloyds Banking Group, SGOSS - Governors for Schools, and The Key means that timely, relevant training tailored to a professional audience will give new school governors across the country the confidence and knowledge to make a positive impact on their governing body from the outset.”
Fergal Roche, CEO of The Key, believes the module addresses an ever-increasing issue within the sector: “The gap between the government’s vision of highly skilled governing bodies and the day-to-day reality of the role is getting wider. As Ofsted’s recent Improving Governance report found, many boards lack the expertise needed in an increasingly complex education system to hold school leaders to account, so more needs to be done to ensure people with the right skills are attracted to school governance and supported to stay.
“At a time when there is such uncertainty over budgets and school structures, as well as increased autonomy at school level, the governing board’s ability to provide skilled challenge and support is critical, so those individuals who dedicate time to being school governors deserve appropriate and accessible training to help them do the best job possible.”
Nigel Redman, Head of Function 24x7 Operations at Lloyds Banking Group and non-executive director (NED) at Southfield Grange Academy, said: “I found the e-learning module incredibly useful, in fact I wish I had this back in August when I first joined.
"As a newly appointed non-executive director, with my background being in finance, the education environment I had joined was completely different and quite daunting to begin with.
"If I had access to the e-learning module from the start it would have provided a concise clear view of what was required of me and built a solid base to move forward from. The module is an excellent tool which highlighted the benefits I could bring to the NED appointment. It helped me get to grips with some of the education phrases, terms and documents, and set me up to make an immediate real difference in the initial trustee meetings at Southfield Grange Multi Academy.
"My suggestion to any newly appointed NEDs or governors is make reviewing this module a priority as it will ultimately help you start off in the new role on the front foot.”
The free School Governor Induction module will be available from 10th March 2016
Visit the School Governor Induction module at: www.thekeysupport.com/gov-induction
For more information or to speak to a member of the team, please contact Jessica Bull on: Jessica.email@example.com / 0203 907 8110
To find out more about Lloyds Banking Group’s commitment to Help Britain Prosper, please visit www.lloydsbankinggroup.com/ProsperPlan
To find out more about SGOSS – Governors for Schools, please visit: www.sgoss.org.uk and follow @SchoolGovNet
To find out more about The Key, please visit: www.thekeysupport.com and follow The Key for School Governors and The Key for School Leaders on twitter @TheKeyGov and @TheKeySL
About The Key's survey
- The Key surveyed 979 school governors in February 2016, as part of its annual State of Education activity.
- The questionnaire for the study was designed by The Key and conducted online using Survey Monkey. 979 governors completed the full survey.
- The survey response data was weighted to match the population profile of schools in England, so the data described in this summary can be taken to provide an indication of the opinions of governors in mainstream schools across England.
You can see more findings here: www.thekeysupport.com/skills-needed-school-governance
 A Competency Framework for Governance - DfE - January 2017: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/583733/Competency_framework_for_governance_.pdf
 The Key surveyed 979 school governors in February 2016, as part of its annual State of Education survey. You can see the findings here: www.thekeysupport.com/skills-needed-school-governance [Updated webpage will be live at 0.01am 10th March 2017 - in line with embargo]
 66% of governors believe that financial skills are what governing bodies need most and 13% say their governing body is missing these skills - The Key's State of Education survey 2016 - www.thekeysupport.com/skills-needed-school-governance
 25% of governors believe that higher quality induction training for new governors would most improve the impact of their governing board – The Key's State of Education survey 2016 www.thekeysupport.com/skills-needed-school-governance
 73% of governors who do resign do so in the first 12 months - SGOSS research carried out July 2014
 Improving governance - Ofsted schools survey reports - December 2016: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-governance
A practical online introduction to school governance
- Understand your role
- Feel confident and add value from the start
- Use your professional skills
- Fit training around your life
- Gain insight from experienced governors
- Test and refresh your knowledge
- Introduction to school governance and your core role – in just one hour
- Essential information to prepare you for your first meeting and beyond
- Activities to quickly check and embed learning
- Video insights from experienced school governors
- Practical resources from trusted national information service The Key for School Governors
- Glossary of governance terms and phrases
- Simple, interactive format you can access on the go