The DGA meets once a term and the key Agenda items ensure governors are fully briefed by the LA and kept up to date with matters surrounding school governance. Senior Officers make themselves available to answer any questions governors may have about the LA’s current and future strategies for schools.
Several Local Authority officers have been invited to present at various meetings to discuss the LA approach to things such as delegated funding and school budgets, staffing, LA structural changes, arrangements for governing body clerking and clerks’ pay. Standing items include an update from the Head of Education and Children’s Services, the governor training and development programme (with feedback from governors) and an update from Governors Wales which includes information from other Associations and latest news on the national scene.
The Association was fully engaged with the consultation on the proposed changes to school governance regulations early this year and the debates that surrounded those proposals highlighted the passion and commitment of our volunteer force – with the emphasis on FORCE! Everyone recognises that the governors’ role has changed significantly in recent years and the expectations placed on them is so considerable that many find it overwhelming at times. A move towards more freedom to select governors, with less reliance on nominated and elected governors, will enable governing bodies to target and recruit people with the right skills, assuming those people are willing to give their time! Denbighshire ran a very successful governor recruitment campaign a few years ago and this is set to be repeated this autumn. We were hoping that the new Regulations would be agreed and published by this time to help that campaign, but the delays in analysing the consultation feedback mean that we unlikely to know what the new governing body constitution will look like before 2018.
The Association works with the LA to focus on ensuring that all governors are properly informed, trained and have the skills they need to support the proposed changes to schools’ governance being taken forward in Wales.
Over the past academic year, in addition to scheduled meetings, the LA has worked with the Association to deliver two very successful conferences, both of which attracted an excellent turnout and very positive feedback from participants. The first conference included presentations and workshops covering the following topics:
Critical Friend & Challenge; ‘Good’ to ‘Excellent’; Safeguarding; Unreasonable Behaviour Policy; Wellbeing Act & Future Generations; Supporting School Improvement.
The second conference, another successful event, hosted by Children & Education Services, was entitled “Protecting Children from Harm Conference”.
On the back of these successful conferences, the LA will work with the DGA again to undertake similar events in the future, emphasising the strong partnership we have.