Education Secretary issues call to arms for school Governors

Damian Hinds calls on leading employers to lend their business expertise to support schools to improve education for every child

Published 9 June 2018

There are around 250,000 experienced Governors and trustees across the country – including many parents – selflessly providing their time, energy, and guidance to support schools to provide the very best education for children.

The Education Secretary will announce that the budget for training and support for this “army of volunteers” will be doubled to £6 million up to 2021 to ensure more school leaders have access to popular training courses that build on their existing skills and will help raise education standards even further.

He will also set out plans to bear down on Academy trusts that pay excessive salaries and hand out lucrative contracts to family and friends in a clampdown to make them more accountable for the money they spend. These announcements will build on the clear rules already in place to provide transparency over academy finances. The measures include:

A requirement for academy accounts returns to detail staff earning over £100,000 and the percentage of teaching time those individuals undertake; and a requirement, from April 2019, for all related party trans- actions to be declared to the Education and Skills Funding Agency and for academy trusts to seek ap- proval for any transaction over £20,000.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

“Thanks to the hard work of teachers and the government’s reforms, there are now 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010.

Today’s commitments will raise the bar even further, strengthening the expertise within the systems that govern our schools and colleges.

How would we run our schools without this army of volunteers? I want to do everything I can to help boost governor recruitment and retention. Because, quite simply, we need more great people.

` So today I’m issuing a call to arms......appealing to people up and down the country to take on this vital role – to play their part in helping the next generation to thrive. I want to make sure that every pound of public money for our schools is used in the best possible way for the good of our children and society. That means taking a tough approach...

This includes a new more robust process to manage related party transactions made by academy trusts. I think pretty much everyone would agree that a situation where board members could hand out unjustified contracts to companies that they or their friends and business associates have an interest in is not okay... We also want to be clear about our expectations on high pay – which applies to all schools not just academies. There is no doubt that our school system has many great leaders – and for large and complex organisations, pay must reflect the scale of the task.

However, pay needs to be proportionate – and pay rises for non-teaching staff should not exceed that awarded to teaching staff. And where salaries aren’t justifiable – we will say so.”