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Chartered Director

School Governance for Directors: Top tips

05 Nov 2018

When it comes to corporate and school or academy governance - there may be more similarities than you think.

Dr Roger Barker, Head of Corporate Governance at the IoD, Mark Eydman, Governor Trainer for Leicestershire Governor Development Services and Dominic Judge, Director of Governance Programmes at charity 'Education and Employers' joined forces for a webinar at the IoD entitled 'School Governance: The hows and whys for directors.' If you missed the webinar, you can access the recording here.

Throughout the webinar, our speakers addressed the benefits and challenges of governance for both businesses and education, as well as ways directors can use their skills to take on roles as school or academy governors. With an hour of engaging information to choose from, we've tried to break it down into 4 top tips you can put into practice today:

Challenge leadership

Whether it is your CEO or the headteacher, constructively challenging the senior leadership team is an integral part of your role as a school governor or corporate governance guardian. Speaking up can be difficult if you're the lone detractor, but Roger, Mark and Dominic all spoke of the importance of being a "critical friend" to leaders within your organisation. Speak out early, or risk being spoken over later on!

Hit refresh

Constructive challenge is all well and good, but conflicts of interest should be avoided. As a director entering into the education sphere through a school governor or academy trustee role, your commercial experience, financial knowledge or leadership qualities are an important asset to the school, but clashes can occur when these are countered with in-depth knowledge of education systems and personal interests or loyalties. However, your fresh eyes and ears can help to rebalance a school board, and give the leadership team a much needed refresh.

Give back

A school governor or academy trustee position is a great stepping stone towards your first non-executive director role, but it is so much more rewarding than just a boost on your CV. Taking up a governor position lets you give back to you community, as well as making a valuable contribution to local pupils' progression. If nurturing career progression and leadership opportunities among your employees is important to your board and organisation, apply that same mentality and drive to a school board and it's pupils!

Give it a go!

Whilst there are time commitments involved in a governor role, and meetings to attend, you do not have to have pupils at the school on whose board you sit, or even have children at all. Some schools will have catchment areas in place in regard to appointing governors, to ensure feasibility and local interest, but in the case of multi-academy trusts (MATs) there are likely to be academies all over the country under the same umbrella that would be grateful for your input and expertise, making geography less of a barrier.

To find out more about how - and where - to find school governor or academy trustee roles, please contact Mark or Dominic using the contact details provided at the end of the webinar.

Next steps

To find out more about becoming a school governor or a non-executive director, please read our IAS School Governor Factsheet or our Pathways to a Portfolio Career article.

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