This issue we take a look at ways of bringing governors into the fold when it comes to CPD and improving professional skillspdf-9255401

CPD Week Info Sheet – Governor training.pdf

Learning is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back.
Chinese proverb

Your school’s governors may well be missing out on drives to improve effectiveness through professional and personal learning, and this can only stifle the progress you can make as an institution.

Bringing governors into the fold
Your school’s governors are likely to be a disparate group of people in many ways, not least regarding the level of experience and expertise they have in school governance. And, just like any other members of your school’s workforce, governors need access to quality training and encouragement in order to achieve.

The voluntary nature of the school governor role makes it very difficult to request that they spend yet more of their donated time and energy on training and development in addition to the hours spent in meetings and on monitoring, supporting and generally discovering what makes the school tick. But hard as it may be to ask your governors to commit to development while in the role, that’s what your school must do. Good governance cannot happen if your governors don’t undertake continual learning about performing their responsibilities in the most effective way possible. Training and development comes with the territory – end of story.

In schools where governing bodies have fully accepted their development responsibilities, the professional learning leader, while not directly responsible for the development of the governing body, works with it in supporting and encouraging learning. If you’re keen to improve the quality of governance at your school, these ideas for prioritising training will help:

  • develop a working relationship with the chair of governors and encourage him or her to put governor training on the agenda for all full governing body and committee meetings
  • encourage your school’s governing body to develop a policy for the induction of new governors, ensuring that expectations for further development and training are made explicit. This needs to be understood from the outset. Governors who are not fully committed to continuous training and development are not likely to be suitable for the role. You need to harness the ethos of continuous development that exists elsewhere in your school within the governing body. Training for governors isn’t compulsory, but without it they won’t be able to undertake their responsibilities effectively. In that sense, training is an essential dimension of the role.
  • raise awareness of the BTEC Advanced Certificate in School Governance which may offer a target and structure for professional learning among governors. Find out more from your local authority governor support service.
  • invite governors to professional learning that is happening in your school. Encourage staff to welcome governors and develop professional dialogues with them.
  • explore what your local authority offers for governors. Some have buy-back packages for governor training which work effectively in encouraging governors to plan their training over the academic year.

It’s no secret that many governing bodies could improve the level of challenge and support that they offer the schools they serve, and boosting commitment to training is just one way of helping to achieve this. The more frequently your school’s governing body hears this message, the better.

Further information…

  • This information sheet offers a structure for exploring learning needs among your school’s governors.
  • The National Governors’ Association website carries information on training for governors
  • The Governornet site carries extensive information for school governors:
  • Your local authority will have guidance on the training available for school governors in your area.

This e-bulletin issue was first published in June 2009

About the author: Elizabeth Holmes qualified as a teacher at the Institute of Education, London and is the author of several books specialising in the areas of professional development and teacher well-being.