The proposals were announced in the recent government White Paper – ‘Educational Excellence Everywhere’. If approved, then all school governing boards will have to focus on seeking people with the right skills for governance, rather than drawing on parents of pupils to fill places.
Supply teacher agency PK education, which is based on Collingwood Street in Newcastle, believes the business community should step up and join school governing bodies. It is calling on businesses to get involved with schools now and help support them in their improvement journey ahead of them all converting to Academy status. Its own staff are governors at Elemore Hall School in Pittington, Durham, and Cheviot Primary School on Newbiggin Hall Estate in Newcastle.
Director of PK education Lee Carpenter explained: “As schools become Academies they require a more commercial approach to ensure they are being managed effectively. The school governor role has always been important however has evolved in recent years and a skills-based governing body is essential if a school wants to be effective in generating the best student outcomes as well ensuring a good or better judgement from Ofsted.”
Within the Governors’ Handbook for Governors in Maintained Schools, Academies and Free Schools which was published last year, John Nash, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools acknowledged that: “Governing bodies are the key strategic decision makers and vision setters in every school and academy. They are also a key part of the overall system for school accountability. Governing bodies have a vital role to play in driving up school and pupil performance and ensuring that resources are used well to give every child the best possible education. I want all governing bodies to focus ruthlessly on these core strategic functions, and avoid getting distracted by matters that are more peripheral.”
A number of staff across PK education’s five offices are already school governors, benefitting both the schools, staff members and PK. Lee explained: “Being actively involved with schools in the governor role enables us to understand the challenges of modern education and we can adapt our business model and the services we provide to meet the needs of schools.
“On the other side of the coin, we’re able to bring a commercial perspective and business acumen to the table, advising on procurement, value for money, people management and marketing for example – all critical elements of the governor skills matrix. There’s also a huge amount of personal satisfaction knowing that we are contributing to shaping educational outcomes for so many young people.”
As part of the proposals, there will be a two tier system of governing boards. The board of Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) taking responsibility for a number of schools in the MAT, while allowing school level governing boards to focus on understanding and championing the needs of pupils, parents and the wider local community.
It is within the MAT board that professionals will be used to hold individual school-level heads to account for educational standards and the professional management of the school.
Established in 2005, PK education is a leading teaching and support staff supplier with five regional offices based in the North East, South Yorkshire, East Midlands, North West and the West Midlands.