VSGA Management Committee is elected from nominations from schools every two years, and as part of the open democracy in the Vale, VSGA nominates Governors to sit on the various statutory committees within the council – Budget Forum, Admissions Forum, the Local Authority Governor Appointments Committee and the Children and Young People Partnership, as well as to the Consortium Governor Steering Group. The two elected Parent Governor Representatives on Education Scrutiny Committee are also ex-officio members of the VSGA Management Committee.
Over the years, VSGA has been active in providing opportunities for governors to get together and learn from each other. For example, we ran the Chair of Governors training sessions when it became compulsory. It has been a hobbyhorse of mine that governor training has been too reliant on interminable boring PowerPoints. Our sessions were based around discussions of case studies in small groups and plenary session. This allowed the sharing of all the experience in the room and covered what Welsh Government required in a way which did not talk down to governors.
Recently our main events have been six-monthly Education Briefing updates at which we invite the Cabinet Member for Education, The Director of Learning and Skills and her senior staff to present on topics selected jointly by VSGA and the Education Department, and to answer questions from governors. These are very popular, with representation from most Vale schools and very good feedback.
The Management Committee meets regularly to discuss feedback from the committees and raise topics of concern from members. A recent session was on the Welsh Government’s proposed changes to Governing Body Regulations. The Welsh Government representative seemed surprised by a well-informed and articulate critique from members of some of the more contentious proposals.
VSGA is in good form and its original ideal of partnership with the Council seems to be working.