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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 12 October 2015

 

Report of the Director of Learning and Skills

 

Governor Training Report 2014/15 and Update on Strategic Appointment of LA Governors

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To report on governor training for the 2014/15 academic year and provide an update on the strategic appointment of LA Governors introduced from September 2014.

Recommendation

  1. That Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) note the report.

Reason for the Recommendation

  1. This report has been requested by the Chairman of Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) and will be an annual item. It will be presented in September each year for the preceding academic year.

Background

  1. There are approximately 1,000 governors managing 57 schools within the Vale of Glamorgan. Governors play a key role in school improvement. Recent legislation introduced mandatory training for school governors from September 2013. The mandatory elements cover Induction, Data, Chair and Clerk training and are a major focus of our governor training programme.
  2. The strategic appointment of LA Governors was introduced in September 2014 to more effectively match governors to vacancies on governing bodies via a skills analysis exercise.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. A total of 30 courses were held covering 11 different topics ranging from Chair training for experienced governors to Induction training for newly appointed governors. All courses are run at the Civic Offices, Barry at no cost to participants and are delivered at various times, mostly during the evening to maximise attendance as many governors work during the day. Courses last around 2 hours each and whilst the method of delivery varies by course and trainer, interaction and sharing of good practice is positively encouraged to ensure the maximum benefit for attendees.
  2. A summary table of the data from the 359 completed evaluation forms for 29 courses is given overleaf. Please note that although 30 courses were held, evaluation forms were not completed for 1 course due to an administrative error hence 29 courses are referred to for statistical purposes.

 

Question

% of good or very good evaluations

1. How well did the course meet its stated aims and objectives?

97.2

2. How useful was the course content to your needs?

94.3

3. How effective were the course providers?

95.8

   
  1. As can be seen from the above table and Appendix 1, analysis of the completed evaluation forms indicates that a very high number of governors have rated the training (both mandatory and other topics) as either good or very good against each of the 3 questions asked on the form. An example of the evaluation form is given at Appendix 2.
  2. As well as the training opportunities listed on Appendix 1, 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 6 March 2015 at The Heronston Hotel in Bridgend. However, we do not hold written evaluations for these events so they are not included within the statistics in Appendix 1 although the feedback for both these events was also positive.
  3. A more regional approach to Governor Support via the Central South Consortium has been in place since 1 April 2014 resulting in the following developments. Consultant Governors have recently been appointed and they will be deployed to work alongside governing bodies of schools in red and amber categories where required from September 2015. Three experienced Vale governors have been appointed as Consultant Governors.
  4. Since September elearning for all elements of the mandatory training is available to any governors who cannot attend training sessions. Further briefing sessions for governors will be held at Ty Dysgu during the Autumn and Spring Terms and further details will be circulated when available. The Autumn Term sessions will cover the National School Categorisation System and implications for governing bodies. The flyer for these events is on the Council's website alongside our training programme and all governors have been emailed the link.
  5. The revised policy for the appointment of LA Governors was 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 appointment 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 is a more strategic and prioritised approach to LA Governor selection and one which is more sharply focussed on the specific challenges faced by individual schools.
  6. The Appointment of Local Authority Governors Advisory Panel has met twice since the introduction of the revised policy from September 2014, on 22 October 2014 and 25 February 2015. A table showing the number of vacancies and response to the respective advertisements is provided below. To supplement this process contact has also been made with several prominent local employers who have agreed to advertise current vacancies within their organisations to boost the number of applicants. The next Panel meeting is scheduled for 30 September 2015.

LA Governor

Panel

Vacancies

Applications

Appointments

Deferred

Autumn 2014

58

43

39

19

Spring

2015

27

24

18

9

         

 

  1. The Local Authority, using its statutory powers of intervention, 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.
  2. At the next meeting of the Appointment of Local Authority Governors Advisory Panel on 30th September, the Panel will be asked to advise on the appointment of two additional governors to the Governing Body of Barry Comprehensive School following the placement of the school in the Estyn category of significant improvement and the use of statutory powers of intervention.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. All the training is delivered by Council or Consortium employees at Council or Consortium venues so there are no additional costs for delivery. However, there are nominal costs for basic refreshments as most governors attend training sessions straight from work.
  2. Consultant Governors are funded by the Central South Consortium. The initial set up costs of the elearning training for the mandatory elements were met by the Central South Consortium with each of the 5 Consortium LAs paying £500 per annum towards the running costs.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. None directly arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. All local authorities must provide training for governors in accordance with The Education Measure (Wales) 2011 to enable them to fulfil their roles. Mandatory elements for Induction, Data, Chair and Clerk training are required by The Government of Maintained Schools (Training Requirements for Governors) (Wales) Regulations 2013.
  2. The appointment of LA Governors is covered by the Government of Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations 2005.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. None directly arising from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. None directly arising from this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. Governor training is an essential component of the school improvement agenda and it is a statutory requirement that all local authorities provide it to enable governors to fulfil their roles effectively.
  2. The strategic appointment of LA Governors also forms part of the school improvement agenda.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for noting by the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning).

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. Ward member consultation is not applicable.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

The Government of Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations 2005

The Education Measure (Wales) 2011

The Government of Maintained Schools (Training Requirements for Governors) (Wales) Regulations 2013

Contact Officer

John Sparks, Head of Governor Support

Officer Consulted

Mike Glavin, Head of School Improvement and Inclusion

Meryl Plummer, Lead Officer for School Improvement

 

Responsible Officer

Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning and Skills

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