The Chairman commenced by welcoming the report which had been requested by Councillor Ms. K. Edmunds and as a result of Scrutiny performance panel recommendations that an update on the strategic appointment of LA Governors and the training provided be presented to Committee.


The report noted that there were approximately 1,000 Governors managing 57 schools within the Vale of Glamorgan and that Governors play a key role in school improvement. From September 2013, recent legislation had introduced mandatory training for school governors which covered Induction, Data, Chair and Clerk training and was a major focus of the Vale Governor Training Programme.


The strategic appointment of LA Governors had been introduced in September 2014 to more effectively match Governors to vacancies on Governing Bodies via a skills analysis exercise.


With specific regard to training provided to date a total of 30 courses had been held in 2014/15 which covered 11 different topics ranging from Chair training for experienced Governors to Induction training for newly appointed Governors. All courses were run at the Civic Offices, Barry at no cost to participants and were delivered at various times, mostly during the evening to maximise attendance as many Governors work during the day. Courses lasted around two hours each and whilst the method of delivery varied by course and trainer, interaction and sharing of good practice was positively encouraged to ensure the maximum benefit for attendees.


Appendix 1 to the report provided full details of the courses undertaken, attendee numbers and an analysis of the forms received. The analysis of the completed evaluation forms indicated that a very high number of Governors rated the training (both mandatory and other topics) as either good or very good against each of the three questions asked on the form. An example of the evaluation form was given at Appendix 2 to the report. As well as the training opportunities listed on Appendix 1 to the report, Vale Governors were also invited to attend "Good Governance" briefing sessions at Ty Dysgu during the Spring Term 2015 and the Annual Consortium Conference was held on Friday 6th March, 2015 at the Heronston Hotel in Bridgend. However, as written evaluations for these events were not held they had not been included within the statistics in Appendix 1, although feedback from both events had been positive.


The report also highlighted that a more regional approach to Governor Support via the Central South Consortium had been in place since 1st April 2014 resulting in Consultant Governors recently being appointed who will be deployed to work alongside governing bodies of schools in red and amber categories where required from September 2015. Three experienced Vale Governors had also been appointed as Consultant Governors. Since September e- learning for all elements of the mandatory training was available to any Governors who could not attend training sessions. Further briefing sessions for Governors were also to be held at Ty Dysgu during the Autumn and Spring Terms with further details would be circulated when available. The Autumn Term sessions would cover the National School Categorisation System and implications for Governing Bodies. The flyer for these events was on the Council's website alongside the training programme and all Governors had been emailed the link.


The revised policy for the appointment of LA Governors had been introduced to ensure a more strategic approach to these appointments by requesting schools with vacancies to complete a register of need and all applicants must now complete a skills register. The Appointments Panel use a "map and gap" approach to ensure that the Governing Bodies of schools in greatest need are better supported with specific expertise and experience. This was a more strategic and prioritised approach to LA Governor selection and one which was more sharply focused on the specific challenges faced by individual schools. The Appointment of Local Authority Governor's Advisory Panel had met twice since the introduction of the revised policy from September 2014, on 22nd October, 2014 and 25th February, 2015.


The Local Authority, using its statutory powers of intervention, had also appointed two additional LA Governors to Eagleswell Primary School in July 2014 to be in place for the 2014/15 academic year. These appointments were made following the placement of the school in the Estyn category of significant improvement. The school was removed from that category following an Estyn monitoring visit in February 2015. The two Governors provided useful feedback to inform future appointments of this type.


The Head of School Improvement and Inclusion advised that it was too early on in the process to detail the impact of the new appointments process, although he could confirm that the appointments were being made having regard to the skills match and the detail provided on the evaluation form.


Members welcomed the report and the detail contained therein and noted that the report would be presented on an annual basis to the Scrutiny Committee. However, a Member who had raised issues previously regarding Governor training although welcoming the report, stated that they were aware from discussions that some Governors were largely unaware of the challenging role they had, and they hoped this would be rectified in the future by the training programme being offered.


Following consideration of the report, it was subsequently




(1)                T H A T the information on Governor training for the 2014/15 academic year and the update on the strategic appointment of LA Governors introduced in September 2014 be noted.


(2)                T H A T a report on Governor training and an update on the strategic appointment of LA Governors be presented on an annual basis in September each year to the Scrutiny Committee.


(3)                T H A T Cabinet be advised of the contents of the report and the work being undertaken in relation to Governor training, which had been requested by the Scrutiny Committee.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)                In view of the contents contained therein.


(2)                In order that the Scrutiny Committee can ensure effective monitoring on an annual basis.


(3)                To apprise Cabinet."


Attached as Appendix - Report to Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 12th October, 2015