Education CommitteeFurther written evidence submitted by the Haberdashers’ Company

The Chair was clearly very keen to obtain “recommendations” and The Haberdashers’ Company’s written submission contained several. Nonetheless, I would like to reinforce/add some in no particular order:

1.Governing Bodies should be served by an independent, professional & remunerated Clerk.

2.A skill/competence/experience based Board is preferable to one comprised of too many “stakeholders”.

3.The ideal Board size is around 12–15 for several reasons, including: it is easier to chair; all members will have the opportunity to contribute—no-one should feel a “passenger”; others can be involved via representation on sub-committees (curriculum, property, finance etc—and school committees where the Board covers more than one school); its workings will tend to be more efficient.

4.Federations can provide an effective/efficient governance structure provided that there is a synergy (eg geography, values, traditions etc) between the schools covered.

5.Whilst Board members may be professionally qualified as accountants/lawyers/surveyors etc, they should not be seen as a source of “cheap/free” advice but rather as people who will know when professional advice should be sought.

6.Training is very important but there is a need to distinguish between knowledge based and role based learning eg knowledge about specialist areas such as trends in education, health & safety, special needs provision, admissions policy, finance etc; role based such as chairing, role of a Board member, involvement with school etc.

7.Self and external evaluation of a Board’s performance is important; governors should also be appraised.

8.Being a governor needs to be recognised as a valuable community service and celebrated (events, public acknowledgement, “honours” etc). The positives must be emphasised (education is important, schools are fun places to be, “out of the box” experience, meeting fellow governors with diverse backgrounds and skills etc) in order to offset perceived negatives (time commitment, liabilities etc).

9.A school strategy supported by up to 10 high level KPIs is essential to enable the Board to remain focused on the big issues and to avoid micromanaging.

March 2013

Prepared 3rd July 2013