As we approach the end of the academic year, I look forward to our annual JTMAT Governance Conference.  This annual event is a great opportunity for many of our colleagues from local governing bodies across all our schools to meet, share, and learn together.  We have benefitted from the generosity of insightful and expert speakers – giving their time freely – on a range of matters as diverse as the strategic direction of the system in the region (from a Regional School Commissioner perspective), through working with a Teaching School to risk management strategies.

This year, our theme is “Getting the best out of everyone.”  We will be hearing from a MAT CEO who has developed workload mitigation strategies for her staff, recognised by the Department for Education.  We’ll be listening to presentations about ensuring Pupil Premium funding is spent effectively to make a difference to children who need additional support to overcome disadvantages, and we’ll be developing our skills of data analysis to ensure that no child, or group of children, is left behind. I’m really looking forward to the day.

You may well have read the Secretary of State’s speech recently about the importance of great governance.  If you missed it, there’s a link to it here:

He drew to a close with the phrase, “Without you, our schools simply wouldn’t run.”  I firmly agree with him.  Within JTMAT, in addition to the annual conference, we try and support good governance through a variety of mechanisms.  We have a governance portal that is a valuable repository for resources, contains links to sources of support, and an excellent way to view agendas, minutes and meeting papers.  We have a Clerk’s Forum in which our clerks can meet and discuss best practice, supporting one another. We have committed to providing governor training via the National Forest Teaching School free of charge for all who want it.

JTMAT Governance Portal

As we’re mid-way through the World Cup, I’ll close with a football analogy. Perhaps governing bodies are like football referees: the best ones don’t interrupt play unnecessarily, know the laws of the game and interpret them wisely and consistently without fear or favour, and seek only the best outcome from others.  Like referees, sometimes the great governors and governing bodies go unnoticed a great deal more than the bad ones!  So, here’s a great big “Thank you!” to our governors, and for the time and expertise they give freely and selflessly.  “Without you, our schools wouldn’t run.”

Thanks for reading.