Clerks Award 2017

The Clerks Award recognises the exceptional contribution clerks across Wales make to the effectiveness of school governing bodies. The award was judged by Glyn Owen, Governors Wales board member, and Hugh Pattrick, Vice Chair of Governors Wales, who shortlisted two clerks from nearly 40 clerks across the country:

  • John Gummery, clerk to governors at St Mary’s RC Primary School in Wrexham
  • Liz Everson, clerk to governors at Caerleon Comprehensive in Newport

As governing bodies play an essential role in improving performance and promoting the highest standards of educational achievement for all learners across Wales, clerks are key to ensuring they function effectively and have the correct procedures and processes in place.

Following visits to the two schools, the judges were impressed with John’s attention to detail, strategic planning and introduction of new training measures for individual governors which he took upon himself to create, resulting in a much more effective and efficient system. They were equally impressed with Liz’s formulation of minutes, whereby areas of challenge were highlighted in green and then passed to the Senior Leadership Team and eventually to heads of department. The “Action Plan” sheet attached to the minutes was also an innovation.

The judges felt that both nominees offered an excellent service to their respective school both in terms of efficiency, support and challenge and both were much appreciated by their headteachers and governors. It was agreed that John Gummery should win the award this year.

Accepting the award, John, who has been a clerk for 6 years, said in recent years there have been many changes to how governing bodies across Wales work, which has meant the responsibilities of the clerk have increased and as a result are relied on even more to make sure the governing body works effectively. I’m really pleased that Governors Wales has recognised the work of clerks in Wales with the Outstanding Clerks Award 2017 and it was an even greater pleasure to win the award.

Celebrating John’s success, Jane Morris, director of Governors Wales said: With such an important part to play in upholding best practice of our governing bodies, the work of a clerk should not be underestimated, and this award is a great way of recognising this. While we had many excellent entries which made the judging process particularly difficult, the responsibilities that John takes, along with understanding and passion for the role, made him shine through as the worthy winner.