National Governance Association (NGA) Weekly Newsletters 2020

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 10/07/2020

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 03/07/2020

NGA is looking for a Professional Development Officer

We are currently looking for an organised and enthusiastic individual to join our growing team in Birmingham. With a large and growing membership base, NGA has a vacancy for a Professional Development Officer who provide logistical and administrative support for NGA’s Professional Development service.

The postholder will assist with coordinating the accurate and efficient delivery of our Leading Governance programmes designed to build strong governance across England’s state schools.  

Strong personal, organisational and communication skills are all essential, as is attention to detail. The ideal candidate will need to demonstrate at least two years’ experience within an administrative role in the workplace.

To download the application form and job application pack, please visit The closing date for applications is 9.00am on Wednesday 22 July 2020. Interviews are due to be held on Wednesday 29/Thursday 30 July 2020 (please keep these dates available).

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 26/06/2020

Essential website maintenance is taking place on Sunday 5th July 2020

NGA will be carrying out essential work on our systems on Sunday 5th July 2020; we have chosen this day to minimise disruption to our members.

Between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm, NGA’s website will be taken down in order to carry out this work and members will be unable to view or log in to the website.

NGA recommends saving or downloading any information members may need from the website prior to this.

Members will still be able to log in to their Learning Link account during this time using the Learning Link log in.

We apologise for any inconvenience this work may cause and thank you for your patience in helping us to improve the service you receive.

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 19/06/2020

NGA, ASCL and NAHT publish joint guidance on professional and organisational matters

Schools being closed to most pupils has caused significant disruption to the conduct of a wide range of professional and organisational matters within schools and trusts including performance management and appraisal, pay progression decisions, restructuring decisions, disciplinary and capability procedures.  NGA, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) have provided joint guidance on the conduct of schools on professional matters in light of Covid-19. Underpinning it is an expectation that governing boards and school leaders will respond flexibly with care, due diligence and concern for the mental health and wellbeing of those working in schools.

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 12/06/2020

Learning Link user survey 2020

The 2020 Learning Link survey is now live. If you are a Learning Link user, please spend a few minutes answering some short questions about your experience with the platform. Your responses will be used to help us improve the service and develop new content.

Take the survey here. It should take no more than 15 minutes to complete and will be open until 11:59pm on 6 July.

If you don’t already have a Learning Link subscription, and would like to find out more about how e-learning can support your governing board, why not sign up for a free trial to explore the platform and get a preview of five modules.

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 05/06/2020

Ofsted ratings and pupil educational achievement

A study conducted by the University of York has found that school’s Ofsted ratings “account for less than one percent of the differences in students’ educational achievement”. The study also identified that Ofsted ratings had minimal bearing on student wellbeing at a school. Students attending lower rated schools reported ‘similar levels’ of happiness, bullying and satisfaction with the schools than schools with an ‘outstanding’ rating.

The Education Inspection Framework revised from September 2019 pledged to be more focused towards parents, making inspection reports clearer and helpful to ‘inform choices about children’s future education’. However, the findings from The University of York have called into question how useful Ofsted ratings are as a guide for parents who are looking to make informed choices for their secondary school choices.

In a report released in March, NGA has analysed the inspection framework and the usefulness of the inspection reports in relation to effective governance and the school’s improvement strategy. NGA’s recommendations ask “for a return to a more informative format” which includes information for those responsible for school improvement. 

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 29/05/2020

Nick Gibb addresses concerns of the Education Select Committee

Schools minister, Nick Gibb, spoke on Wednesday to the Education Select Committee regarding the safe reopening of schools and the support that the DfE are providing to aid the closing of the attainment gap which many have speculated will widen significantly as a result of COVID-19.

Throughout the meeting, Nick Gibb affirmed that certain government decisions and steps are made on the basis of “what the science tells us”. In order to maintain safety for all those returning to schools, year groups need to follow the measures set out in guidance, such as limiting classes to 15 pupils and maintaining respiratory hygiene.

The schools minister reiterated the importance for children to return to school as they should have the “best approach to education”. The DfE will work closely with schools and local councils that are “reluctant to reopen schools”. The tracking and tracing method in schools enables pupils to self- isolate accordingly and localised issues will be easier to address.

Concerns relating to dissatisfaction of results were acknowledged; the agreed method of awarding grades prevents the delay of exams by a year. Ofqual’s consultation found that all grades had to be approved by the headteacher, who is still accountable for ensuring that grades are accurately awarded.

The schools minister also highlighted the impact of the investment in technology, online resources, and continual guidance to the well- being of pupils, noting that the Oak National Academy had over 8 million views on their resources to date. A SchoolsWeek article outlines other topics discussed in the committee meeting.

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 22/05/2020

Final chance to fill in the annual school governance survey!

The annual school governance survey looks to capture a snapshot of governance in 2020 and asks for your opinions on key and current educational topics, including how your school or trust has responded to the COVID-19 crisis.

Click here to take part!

The survey will close on Tuesday 26 May at 5.00pm so if you would like to contribute your thoughts and experiences to this vital piece of research, please do so before this deadline.

NGA will use the results of the survey to raise your concerns with the officials and organisations who can effect change. We will also use the results to produce the best resources and tools to help and support governing boards in delivering excellent and effective governance, whether that be through our knowledge centre, training and development programmes or advice.

Thank you to all those who have filled in the survey so far and to those who have shared the survey with their networks, your time and thoughts are appreciated.

Click here to take part!

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 15/05/2020

Have your say in the annual school governance survey

Last year’s school governance survey revealed the views, experiences, practice and demographics of almost 6,000 school governance volunteers across all school types, phases and regions across England and this year, we are on track for an even bigger response.

We want as many governors and trustees as possible to contribute their thoughts and share their experiences of governing. Whatever your role on the governing board, however long you’ve been involved in governance, we value the views and experience of all governors, trustees and local academy committee members in England. You do not need to be an NGA member to take part and we ask everyone to share the survey with their wider networks.

Thank you to all those who have filled in the survey so far and to those who have shared the survey with their networks, your time and thoughts are appreciated. If you haven’t but would still like to take part, please click here to complete the survey.

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 07/05/2020

Have your say in the annual school governance survey

We are at the half-way point of gathering responses to this year’s annual school governance survey. As always, this important piece of research looks to capture a snapshot of governance in 2020 and asks for your opinions on key and current educational topics, including how your school or trust has responded to the COVID-19 crisis.

We appreciate that this is no ordinary year and it was with careful consideration that we chose to run the survey as it allows us to continue to spot yearly trends and changes and still engage with the governance community during a period of lockdown, as outlined by NGA chief executive Emma Knights in a statement.

NGA will use the results of the survey to raise your concerns with the officials and organisations who can effect change. We will also use the results to produce the best resources and tools to help and support governing boards in delivering excellent and effective governance, whether that be through our knowledge centre, training and development programs or advice.

Thank you to all those who have filled in the survey so far and to those who have shared the survey with their networks, your time and thoughts are appreciated. If you haven’t but would still like to start part, please click here to contribute your voice to those governing across England.

The survey is due to close 26 May at 5.00pm.

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 01/05/2020

The Children’s Commissioner highlights profiles of child vulnerabilities

While lockdown has been implemented with the priority to protect all citizens from the harm of the coronavirus, Children’s Commissioner has published local area profiles of child vulnerability to help better identify vulnerable children. Commenting on her office’s most recent report We’re all in this together?, the Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield says that many vulnerable children are currently being “exposed to a cocktail of secondary risks” such as “a lack of food in the house, sofa-surfing or cramped living conditions, neglect, or experiencing acute difficulties due to parental domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health problems”.

The report outlines the various profiles of child vulnerabilities and how life in lockdown can affect these groups of children in particular. Alongside the document is a spreadsheet which has an array of detail on each local authority’s ‘profile of vulnerability’ showing the estimated prevalence of underlying needs in an area to help councils better understand what groups of children at currently at risk and the number of these children in their area to establish need. There are also local area maps displaying the projected proportion of children in families at risk.

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 24/04/2020

DfE to temporarily halt ‘all but essential’ data collections

The coronavirus outbreak has led to much change in the education sector allowing education and care providers to focus on ensuring the well-being of students and staff. This week, DfE has stated that all but essential data collection is to be paused until the end of June 2020 to reduce the burden on educational and care settings.

The published guidance suggests that settings should cancel or pause data collection if they do not meet these five principles: they are not essential for understanding the current COVID-19 position, it’s not crucial for the running of education settings, to update guidance of business continuity, the information is already collected elsewhere and staff are likely to travel to collate the information.

The guidance lists the collections that are due to be cancelled for the academic year, paused and reviewed or to continue as normal. A decision on data collections or services which are not due to go live until later this year will be made in due course. Governing boards should seek to adapt to these arrangements when identifying what their school data means for future planning and data collection that either no longer needs to be submitted this year, is on hold or will continue.

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 17/04/2020

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 03/04/2020

Continuing governing board business webinar recording

Last Friday, 27 March, NGA held a webinar for members on the topic of continuing governing board business effectively and proportionately during the pandemic. You can view our latest guidance and the webinar in the knowledge centre.

To continue to support you in the coming weeks we are developing a full programme of webinars and podcasts that will explore our research on the new Ofsted inspection framework, the governance of SEND and the latest advice and guidance. If there is any particular subject you would like to see covered, please email with suggestions

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 27/03/2020

Extra support for Inspiring Governance-placed volunteers

From 1 April 2020, volunteers appointed to your governing board through the Inspiring Governance recruitment service will benefit from additional support and expert guidance from NGA as part of the 12-month free support package.

Volunteers will now be able to access over 50 modules on NGA Learning Link where the most popular topics include key functions of the governing board, visits to schools, pupil premium and understanding school finance. These newly available modules cover a greater range of topics and are of varying lengths. Each appointed volunteer will also be able to book a free place at one of NGA’s annual regional conferences when they resume in the autumn term. This will apply to all new volunteers as well as volunteers currently receiving support.

All existing benefits will remain in place including a monthly ‘hot topics’ email especially for new governors and trustees, a complimentary copy of one of NGA’s induction guides and access to a dedicated email and telephone support service from a professional adviser to answer any queries new volunteers may have.

This support package is designed to complement the induction and ongoing face-to-face training provided by your board and provides the essential knowledge and skills that volunteers need to govern effectively.

Inspiring Governance is a Department for Education funded online service that connects volunteers who are interested in becoming governors and trustees with schools that need them. Governing boards can sign up to use the service by visiting

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 20/03/2020

DfE announces further details on grades following exam cancellation

The Department for Education has confirmed that teachers will work with the exam regulator Ofqual and exam boards to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled this summer.

Exam boards will be asking teachers, who know their students well, to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received, if exams had gone ahead. There will also be an option to sit an exam early in the next academic year for students who wish to. Ofqual will work to ensure that the grades awarded reflects students’ performance as fairly as possible, and will work with exam boards to ensure this is consistently applied for all students.

To produce the grades, teachers will consider a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment – clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly will be provided to schools and colleges. The exam boards will then combine this information with other data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student. The aim is to provide these calculated grades to students before the end of July.

The DfE says its priority is to “ensure affected students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives”.

More information is available here.

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 13/03/2020

DfE funded Development Programmes Leading Governance for Chairs, Clerks and Boards

Those interested in improving their leadership and governance knowledge and ability should secure their place on our DfE funded professional development programmes. By working in partnership with local authorities, we provide comprehensive country-wide courses for chairs, clerks and boards. The next 2020 start dates are coming up, so sign up today and begin your development journey.

Development for Chairs

This programme for chairs, vice chairs, committee chairs and future chairs provides opportunities for developing leadership skills and confident governance.

Cost: Two fully funded places - worth £1,000 in total – are available for the Development for Chairs programme for each governing board in England.

Next step: Find out more and book your place here.



Pre-work begins

First face-to-face session

Blackpool 1

7 April


7 May

Darlington 1

7 April


7 May

Lancashire 1

2 June


Late June -TBC

Norfolk 1

22 September


28 October

Solihull 2

5 May


22 June

Wakefield 1

12 April


28 May

Walthamstow 1

5 May


10 June













Development for Clerks

This ICSA accredited programme is designed for new and experienced clerks currently working in all school settings to develop the knowledge and skills required for high-quality clerking.

Cost: In most cases the DfE provides £350 of funding for each clerk, with only a £75 contribution required from the participant.

Next step: Book your place here.



Pre-work begins

First face-to-face session

Lancashire 1

26 May


6 July

Lincolnshire 3

17 March


22 April

Newcastle 2

7 July


23 September

Sheffield 2

5 May


6 June

Walthamstow 1

28 April


25 June


Development for Boards

To find out more about this bespoke programme, please click here.

Please see our FAQs to learn more about the funding criteria and what you need to have ready to book your place.

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 06/03/2020

Ofsted consultation: Revision of post-inspection arrangements

Last week, Ofsted revealed plans to reconsider the process of complaints handling against school inspection judgements. Ofsted have since released their consultation to seek the views of education providers, with an aim to enhance Ofsted’s current arrangements to deal with any queries or concerns about an inspection, before it is finalised. To strengthen the complaints- handling arrangements, the consultation proposes to:

  • implement new and consistent post-inspection timelines that will apply across all inspection remits;
  • allow all inspected providers 5 working days to review their draft report and submit any comments about issues of factual accuracy and the inspection process for us to consider before we finalise the report;
  • consider and respond to formal complaints from inspected providers before we publish their inspection report, if these complaints are submitted promptly;
  • retain current arrangements for internal reviews into complaints handling, including the scrutiny panel.

The consultation is now open and closes on 31 March 2020 and the full findings will be published on 8 May 2020.

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 28/02/2020

Revised secondary IDSR released

Ofsted has released the secondary inspection data summary reports (IDSR) for 2019, which have revised updates on key stage 4 data, destinations and data for disadvantaged pupils. The service is linked through DfE’s Analyse School Performance (ASP) which you can access by logging in here to find Ofsted’s IDSR - make sure to access the latest version which is dated 25 February 2020. There will also be a full refresh of all IDSRs with full year absence data, which is scheduled to be released April 2020.

For guidance on how boards can best use ASP to self-evaluate a school’s performance, NGA members can visit the knowledge centre for guidance. Additionally, the Department for Education has a guide specifically for the IDSR available here.

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 14/02/2020

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 07/02/2020

Places remaining at NGA Midlands regional conferences

The first regional conference of 2020 is fast approaching and there are a final few places available to members in the Midlands who want to join us in Nottingham on Saturday 29 February.

We are delighted to welcome Professor Toby Greany, Chair in Education at the University of Nottingham, who will be delivering our keynote presentation, and Katrina Gueli, Ofsted Regional Director for East Midlands. 

Places are also available at our South East regional conference in Reading on Saturday 28 March, which will include a presentation given by Christopher Russell, Ofsted Regional Director for South East.

To secure one of the remaining places, please visit

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 31/01/2020

NGA’s SEND advisory group

NGA will be hosting its termly Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) advisory group which is open to all NGA members that are interested in SEND governance on Wednesday 1 April 2020.

The SEND advisory group provides an opportunity for those governing to network and exchange information and good practice. It also provides a platform to discuss issues relating to special provision, how to meet the needs of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and current policy in this area. NGA takes into account the views of the SEND advisory group when developing policy, guidance and responding to consultations that relate to SEND provision. We welcome suggestions for the agenda and discussion topics for the next meeting.

For more information or to book your place, please contact Adelaide Chitanda

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 24/01/2020

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 17/01/2020

Education secretary looking for more free schools outside of London and the South East

Free schools are set up by charities, universities, independent schools, community and faith groups, teachers, parents or businesses. The free school programme allows for the creation of new schools in England and has a significant impact on competition and educational provision in a local area. Multi academy trusts (MATs) have been amongst the most engaged in setting up free schools.

Concerns were raised this week that free schools are disproportionately situated in London and the South East. The secretary of state for education, Gavin Williamson, has called for more free schools to be “rolled-out, spread much more widely through the midlands, the north and the south west of England”. Schools Week has, however, suggested that expansion of the programme outside of the South East has been hindered by “other structural issues”. Of all free schools that have needed to close since the programme began, 87% were established outside London.

Those governing may be interested in the free school’s programme for a number of reasons, ranging from trustees of a MAT looking to set up their own free school, to others who are interested to know how the programme may affect provision in their area. More information can be found here.

National Governance Association Weekly Newsletter 10/01/2020

NGA spring events

Bookings are now open for our spring conferences. With an exciting line-up of speakers focusing on the challenges and opportunities for school governance at local and national levels.

Regional conferences

Clerks’ Conference

Places are booking up fast for the Clerks’ conference on the 2 March. To secure one of the remaining places visit

Save the Date

Looking ahead to the summer term, we can now confirm the dates for our summer conferences.

  • NGA summer conference - 6 June, Manchester
  • SEND conference 4 July, Birmingham

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