New service launches which revolutionises the way schools can find skilled volunteers for their governing boards

21 Nov 2016

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The Inspiring Governance service launches today at an event being hosted by Bank of America Merrill Lynch with Lord Nash, Under Secretary of State for Schools. The new service revolutionises the way in which schools can find skilled volunteers for their governing boards. It also provides new governors and trustees recruited through Inspiring Governance with induction, support and guidance. The Inspiring Governance service is run by our charity Education and Employers and National Governors’ Association in partnership with ASCL and NAHT working closely with Academy Ambassadors and other key partners.

To see all photos from the launch click here.

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The Inspiring Governance service connects schools and colleges with skilled volunteers interested in serving as governors and trustees and provides support, advice and guidance to ensure that volunteers newly appointed to boards are able to govern effectively right from the outset. The service, which launches today is an innovative, free, online match-making service which allows individuals to register their skills and boards to find governors and trustees no matter where they are in England.

A new state of the nation survey published in October has found that 61% of governing boards had difficulty attracting new recruits to serve as governors and trustees. The survey, conducted by the National Governors’ Association and TES, highlights the increased importance of school governors and trustees in the education system and the challenges that come with recruiting such volunteers.  Governors are one of largest volunteer forces in the country and play a vital role in raising and maintaining educational standards. They set the vision, ethos and strategic direction of their organisation; hold head teachers, executive leaders and senior management teams to account for educational performance; and make sure that finances are managed effectively. Good governance is a fundamental characteristic of a high-performing school.

The new Inspiring Governance service provides free expert bespoke support for volunteers and governing boards as well as for employers wanting to run governance volunteering programmes for their staff. As part of the service the National Governors’ Association is providing free support and expert advice for newly appointed governors/trustees via a dedicated helpline, induction materials and online guidance.  The NGA is also providing governing boards with free help and advice on the recruitment of chairs.

Over 3,000 volunteers have already signed up online and recruiting boards can search quickly and easily for the skills and experience they need. Hands on support is also available where it is not possible to make matches online.

Inspiring Governance is run by the charity Education and Employers in partnership with the National Governors’ Association working closely with Academy Ambassadors, the Association of School and College Leaders, the National Association of Head Teachers and other key partners. It is funded by the Department for Education until 2020 and powered by the Inspiring the Future technology platform.

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Speaking at the event, Lord Nash, Under Secretary of State for Schools said: “It’s more important than ever to give our young people the opportunities they deserve. This means building and supporting better school governing boards across England. As the people who appoint headteachers and chief executives and hold them to account, governors and trustees should be the driving force behind school improvement so it’s essential that we do more to attract talented and committed volunteers to school governance. That’s why we are supporting Education and Employers and the National Governors’ Association to revolutionise the way people can get involved in governance and be supported in the role once they’re in place.”

Neil Carmichael MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee, said: “One of the best ways to give back to your local community is by serving as a governor and supporting local schools to become more successful and their pupils to achieve their best.  I believe the Government should do more to encourage a stronger pool of talent and new networks which help connect schools and those with an interest in public service are to be wholeheartedly welcomed. I therefore welcome the new Inspiring Governance service which is being run by the charity Education and Employers in partnership with the NGA.”

Nick Chambers, Chief Executive of charity Education and Employers, said: “We know that schools and colleges find it hard to find governors and trustees. The new Inspiring Governance service makes it really easy for people to express an interest in volunteering via a simple on-line form. Governing bodies can then look at the profiles of volunteers who have signed up in their area and get in touch with them directly.”

Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governors’ Association, said: “School governance is very challenging but also extremely rewarding. It’s for people who want to use their skills to make a positive difference to the lives of children. It’s for people who want to achieve something in public life. It’s for people who want to make life better for their community. Being a governor or trustee is not about doing a “good day’s work” but about making an impact over a number of years. It’s not for everyone and yet over 300,000 people do it every single day. Please join us today at: www.inspiringgovernance.org.”

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT said: Schools need highly skilled and highly motivated governors in order to succeed. This new scheme is very welcome as it’s a clear and straightforward tool that everyone concerned with the important business of recruiting governors can use. Governors are volunteers, but their role is vital. NAHT will promote this new service to our members as part of our ongoing work to strengthen school governance across the country.”

Jennifer Taylor, Chief Operating Officer, EMEA at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said: “We are very proud of our work with Education and Employers that helps young people transition from education into employment. Beyond financial contributions, our employees have dedicated time, skills and resources to engage with young people across the UK. As a bank, we clearly recognise the importance of governance, so we are delighted to host the launch of Inspiring Governance. The additional skills-based volunteering offered through this initiative, provide an invaluable opportunity that should benefit not only schools and students, but our employees too.”

Neil Carberry, Director for People and Skills CBI said: “There’s no better or more strategic way for business to support and influence the education system and our future workforce than through school governance. All the evidence and the experience of an increasing number of businesses is that it also delivers significant benefit to employees and their employer through the strategic board level skills they develop and bring back into the workplace.”

Press coverage:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-38052688

https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/match-making-service-aims-pair-governors-schools

http://schoolsweek.co.uk/online-service-launches-to-connect-schools-with-volunteer-governors-and-trustees/

Visit the website www.inspiringgovernance.org for more information.

View the full flickr album here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edu_employers/albums/72157672911170664/with/31176609885/

Follow us on twitter @InspiringGov.

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