Good governing boards don't just happen. The identification and co-ordination of learning and development priorities for governors is important. This welcome information provides you with details about the Service and invites you, as a subscribing board, to make the most of the opportunities and services that are available to you.

School governance is changing and expectations on governance have never been higher. Integra Schools, Governor Services provide a comprehensive high quality service that will ensure that your governing board has the knowledge, skills and confidence to exercise effective governance.

We are a well-established and respected team which works in close partnership with other Integra Schools Support Services, the Local Authority, National Co-ordinators of Governor Services and the National College for Teaching and Leadership. The Service also draws on an extensive network of experienced governors, headteachers and other professionals to advise and support boards and clerks to perform their role effectively.

What we offer

The following services are provided as an all-inclusive package, providing value for money and straight forward access. We offer a fast, reliable, responsible and friendly support service to governors, headteachers and clerks. We provide knowledgeable, sensible and practical solutions based on many years of working in school governance.

Access to advice, guidance, support and information

The team offers support and guidance through our advice line. Many governors tell us that they really value being able to just pick up the phone and talk through a question. We regularly speak to chairs of governors, headteachers, governors and school staff on a variety of important issues, ranging from how the law and regulations are interpreted, to matters concerning the recruitment of governors.

Whether you see it as a problem or an opportunity, we are pleased to help you find a solution.

Contacting us is easy if you have a query, our phone lines are open during office hours and we also answer queries by email.

Email – Governor.Services@southglos.gov.uk

Telephone – 01454 863182

Keeping you updated

We publish a newsletter three times a year which includes changes in good practice, legislation and guidance and a variety of interesting informative articles for governors and clerks. It also includes a list of recommended agenda items for each term to support boards to fulfil their key and statutory responsibilities.

Clerks also receive a weekly email for distribution to their governing board, which includes details of forthcoming training and development opportunities, general information, details of consultations, guidance and updates.

Governors' password protected website

Our website offers 24/7 access to a comprehensive range of information, legislation, advice, policies, guidance and good practice templates.

There's a 'What's new?' section and specialist areas for clerks and chairs of governors.

Website link: https://www.sgsts.org.uk/governor/

Training and briefing sessions

Access is unlimited to events published in the annual Governor Services Training Programme.

Our diverse programme of training courses and briefing sessions cover all aspects of the governance role. This includes supplementary sessions specifically aimed at chairs of governors and clerks.

We take great care in the design and delivery of training sessions, making sure that information is relevant and meets governors’ needs. Every course is evaluated so that we can continually improve our service and meet your needs.

A record of all sessions attended for both individual members and governing boards is maintained by the Service for your convenience.

Additional service options

Membership through Integra Schools, Governor Services also provides you with access to:

  • Reduced subscription rates to Modern Governor E-Learning modules, providing an alternative effective, flexible way of learning;
  • Access to National Development Programmes offered through our partnerships – the fee and any scholarships for these programmes are determined by the DfE; and
  • Preferential rate for services provided on a consultancy basis.

If you would like further details of additional service options please contact us.

Consultancy services

Successful governing boards recognise and regularly reflect on their effectiveness and are able to understand their collective strengths and weaknesses in terms of their skills, knowledge and experience. Ofsted inspectors have increasingly sought evidence on how governing boards assess their potential and also evaluate their ability to be effective.

The Governance Handbook (January 2017) states that "Boards should regularly evaluate their own effectiveness. As explained in guidance for maintained schools, the chair has a particular responsibility for ensuring the effective functioning of the board. Good chairs lead by example and ask for regular feedback from their board to improve their own effectiveness and have an annual conversation with each person to discuss the impact of their contribution to the work of the board".

1. Governing board facilitated self-evaluation

This facilitated self-evaluation session is pivotal for generating governor discussion and reflection. It requires governors to consider and record the types and range of evidence that support any judgement. Critically, it also requires governors to identify where their actions, in providing both support and challenge to school leadership, have made a difference to provision and outcomes.

A summary record is collated, which includes what the governing board does well and any identified opportunities for improvement. This record forms the basis for the board to create a governance development action plan.

2. Governing board skills and development audit

An annual audit enables boards to explore its skills and knowledge base, as part of an overall assessment of effectiveness. This information will support individual member and board development, future recruitment and organisational development.

The matrix focuses on essential personal attributes, relevant skills, knowledge and professional experience.

The outcomes are compiled and a report provided.

3. Chair 360 review

Being a chair of governors is a key role in the leadership and management of your school. To be effective, a chair of governors needs a good understanding of the role and its responsibilities, so that the school gains the maximum benefit from the work that chairs and governing boards undertake.

The purpose of the 360 degree review is to provide the chair of governors with the opportunity to receive constructive feedback from members of the governing board which they serve. 360s are not performance reviews, but a tool designed to provide feedback and create a clear picture for the chair of governors about their behaviour, impact and skills.

The process is designed to provide anonymous feedback to support the chair of governors in identifying opportunities to develop, shape or hone their current practice. The review itself will not improve the performance of the chair of governors, this only comes from a commitment on their behalf to develop and become more effective. The outcomes are compiled and a report provided.

4. Review of governance

The purpose of a Review of Governance is to support improvement and development, and is not an additional inspection. Instead, it provides the board with an external perspective to help to identify priorities, challenge current practice and recognise what steps need to be taken to improve.

Our professional support enables boards to establish their strengths and weaknesses through a solution focused approach. Our support is highly valued by schools and is based on an expert understanding of the requirements of governing boards, and the ways in which they can effectively discharge their duties. The Review includes a comprehensive action plan to enable the governing board to begin the improvement process immediately, increasing the impact of effective governance immediately.

Ofsted have recognised the contribution that Integra Schools, Governor Services have on improving governance and the impact it has on a governing board's ability to hold the leadership team to account, and improve outcomes.

Ofsted will sometimes recommend a Review of Governance, however, you do not need to wait for an Ofsted inspection recommendation to seek a Review. You can arrange a Review of Governance at any time to improve the effectiveness of the work of the governing board.

5. Bespoke board sessions

Although governors have individual responsibilities, they carry them out as part of a corporate body and not as an individual. We offer a wide range of training opportunities, tailor made to meet the requirements of individual governing boards and deliver them at times and venues of your choice. Governing board sessions have the following advantages:

  • It helps the governing board to develop as a team;
  • All members of the governing board receive the same training;
  • It enables governors to discuss information or priorities that are relevant to their school;
  • It enables boards to reach an understanding on a matter of common interest;and
  • It provides an opportunity for governors to invite school staff or other governing boards to work with them on a particular issue.