SGA Conference 13 November 2021

The Surrey Governance Association conference took place at Denbies Winery on the 13th November 2021 which due to the Covid -19 Pandemic was the first SGA live event for two years. SGA Chair Fred Greaves was delighted to welcome over 60 Surrey governors and Trustees. who were treated to two excellent presentations and a great opportunity to network over coffee as well as question the speakers in depth. Brief reports and the PowerPoint slides for their presentation follow below.

Please do not forget to keep an eye out for SGA live events for Surrey Governance in 2022.

Presenter Maria Dawes

Subject “Why change must happen (and it’s not about the money!) and how we can get there.” Why change must happen (and it’s not about the money) and how we can get there.

Maria shared her thoughts with governors who were attending our conference by starting her presentation by looking back at education over the past 50 years, seeing how much it has changed during that time and the pressures and challenges head teachers and teachers are facing in the education world of the 21st century.

We need to be asking ourselves where are we going to be in the next 10 – 20 years, how is education going to adapt? What kind of changes do we need to make now, to help our young people move forward in this digital era? Do we have the capacity to make those changes happen?

A knowledge rich curriculum is an important part of making a difference, and each child deserves to have great teaching, each day, in every lesson, by every teacher. Teachers need to be experts in every subject and by sharing that knowledge with other schools will help build that capacity. More than ever there is pressure on safeguarding our children in their mental health and wellbeing.

So where does that leave governance?

A question to ask is, do we have a Surrey vision over the next 5 years for our schools? The main priority must be to improve quality of teaching, which in turn, will improve the outcomes for our children. Over the past 18 months we have seen a different set of challenges due to COVID, and our schools have risen to those new challenges of how to continue remotely, providing an education for our children in ways that we had not previously thought possible.

Can we do this alone?

With more pressure on financial budgets, some of the smaller schools may find it very difficult to have the sustainability to offer a wide curriculum fit for 21st century education. We may need to start looking at working in a partnership or collaborating with other schools in our area, to share expertise and collaborative teaching. Do we need to be thinking of any structure changes, maybe an Executive Head over two or three schools, allowing for infra structure growth? Maria’s final thought she shared with us - Is doing nothing an option? We need to have a measured approached, what are our drivers for change? An interesting question to put to your governing board/body.

SGA Conference 2021 Maria Dawes Presentation

Rosemary Hucker SGA Executive Committee (Treasurer)

Presenter Steve Barker

Subject “The State of Governance , post pandemic.”

Steve gave a thought provoking, stimulating survey of how Governance must develop if Governors and Trustees are to fulfil their statutory duties in the future. Inevitably there were many links between this session and the one conducted earlier by Maria Dawes.

The education landscape has inevitably altered, and many changes introduced because of Covid regulations are here to stay. Change must be seen as a force for good. These changes include remote working, shorter, effective meetings, reduction in the work of committees, more strategically focussed meetings of full governing bodies. Above all there must be a focus on Children’s Learning, especially for those who are disadvantaged / vulnerable and the wellbeing of all young people.. Efforts must be made to increase the recruitment and retention of teachers. Teachers must assess children regularly and the members of the leadership team ensure that this evidence be passed to Governors and Trustees to enable them to make the right decisions.

Effective governance will also be influenced by funding cuts many of which are hidden, the increased workload of staff and governors, demands made by the DFE, Ofsted and parental pressure. Society is also evolving with increased demands for diversity and equality. It is therefore up to all governors to ensure they carry out the Nolan Principles, adhere to the Governors Competency Framework of 2017 and become very vocal advocates for all schools, trusts, staff and pupils. Particular topics which governing bodies and trusts must inevitably discuss will include new ways of cooperative working and possible academisation. Many of these points were also raised in the Question-and-Answer session which followed.

SGA Conference 2021 Steve Barker Presentation

Glenys Mason SGA Executive Committee (Member)

SGA Conference 2021 Full Presentation

For further information on SGA or to join our executive committee please contact Sheila Danson