• Removing parent governors will be seen as power grab to stifle dissent

    Three years ago the then education secretary Justine Greening announced she was dropping her predecessor’s proposal to remove the requirement for academy trusts to reserve places for elected parents. The Department for Education was taken aback by the strength of opposition, particularly from parents themselves. Greening’s statement that “parent governors play a vital role” was

    13.51 Oct. 1st, 2019 | Opinion

  • 4 key questions to progress the MAT governance debate

    The ongoing rhetoric of an emerging and evolving MAT system has been a popular one. In the National Governance Association’s new report – Moving MATs forward: the power of governance – we argue the understanding and practice of MAT governance has to move on. Different approaches to MAT governance have been tried and tested: some

    17.25 Jun. 28th, 2019 | Opinion

  • MAT chairs work more than double recommended hours, study finds

    Chairs of trustees work the equivalent of a fifth of a full-time job running academy trusts, a new study has found, raising concerns over whether the workload is sustainable. A survey by the National Governance Association found the average trust chair works 49.6 days a year – the equivalent to 21.4 per cent of what

    0.01 Apr. 25th, 2019 | News

  • Ex-minister's academy trust ignores governance guidelines

    A former academies minister’s trust is failing to meet government guidelines over good governance – and has seemingly been allowed to expand without having to update its arrangements. Newly published accounts for Future Academies, founded by Lord Nash, show a majority of the trust’s members are also trustees. One governance expert said this level of

    5.00 Jan. 20th, 2019 | News

  • Academy trust rapped over boss' £23,000 ex-gratia fee

    A government investigation has uncovered a swathe of financial and governance failings at a single academy trust – including “potential irregularity” over football tickets costing more than £4,000. The investigation into Westfield Academy, a mixed secondary school with a sixth form in Hertfordshire, also found a former finance boss had been paid a £22,600 honorarium

    16.55 Sep. 28th, 2018 | News

  • Financial warning for the academy trust that sent leaders to New Zealand

    An academy trust that spent over £12,000 on a trip abroad for two of its leaders has been handed a financial notice to improve by the government. Silver Birch Academy Trust now has to run most of its spending decisions past the government and must make changes to the way it is run to avoid

    16.02 Jun. 22nd, 2018 | News

  • Academy trust bosses' New Zealand trip questioned by the ESFA

    A review of financial management and governance at the London-based Silver Birch Academy Trust has revealed serious failings, including a trip to the other side of the world for senior leaders that cost almost twice as much as the going rate. The trust, which runs four primary schools in Walthamstow, Chingford and Redbridge, was visited

    16.27 Jun. 15th, 2018 | News

  • Schools without professional clerk are breaking government rules

    Schools are breaking government rules by failing to employ a professional clerk to advise governors on their legal duties in meetings. The governance handbook clearly states that a board must use a “professional clerk” to take minutes, organise the board and help navigate the law. But Julia Millard, an advocate for National Leaders of Governance,

    7.00 Apr. 30th, 2018 | News

  • 3 ways in which government needs to help school governors

    School governance is a vital but oft-forgotten aspect of the school system. Here Mike Parker lays out what he reckons needs to change “Governors are the unsung heroes of schools”, were the opening words of Belita Scott, an inspector, at the SCHOOLS NorthEast event in south Tyneside last September. We are increasingly concerned about the

    5.00 Apr. 14th, 2018 | Opinion

  • Is there a school governor recruitment crisis?

    There might be a huge surplus of volunteers in London, but rural communities never have enough potential governors, explains Judith Hicks Over a quarter of a million volunteers across England give up their free time to provide strategic leadership at state-funded schools – but this figure is falling, heaping pressure onto serving school governors and

    5.00 Mar. 19th, 2018 | Opinion

  • What knowledge do school governors need?

    Much has been written about the skills needed on an effective governing board or trust board, but very little attention has focused on the knowledge required when you undertake such an important role. Let’s focus on three areas: risk, finances and regulation. These three are matters for all governing boards, but become particularly important in

    9.15 Mar. 7th, 2018 | Opinion