This should have been a ‘Welcome to the new educational year’ newsletter, but if I don’t get a move on, it will be a ‘Merry Christmas’ one! Although the weeks have flown by, in terms of governance, it has not seemed as busy as previous Autumn terms. Perhaps it is the lack of a Finance consultation - always a highlight. I think as well, a lot of the new initiatives/deadlines were already established last term or before, such as the new Ofsted Framework, reconstitution, details to be published on the web-site, Progress-8, etc.
Here at GOVAS we have not been idle, however. Preparations for next year’s Governor Conference are well under way and we are hoping to be able to send out details shortly after half-term. It will be in March, and the date we are working to is the 12th, but this is still subject to venue and speaker availability. We have been full for the last two years and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, but we are striving to ensure that next year’s is an even better experience.
Apart from representing governors on a variety of LA committees, we have also been busy on developing a local initiative to encourage more people to sign up as governors. We have had a test section on the web-site -HERE- for a few weeks now and despite not having ‘launched’ it, we received our first application this week. Please take time to have a look at it and publicise it through your social networks, because the idea is to attract people who are not currently governors. The other side of the initiative is to be able to show current vacancies on the site. Therefore, if you are looking for co-opted governors, contact us with your details and the skills that you are looking for and we will do our best to find you a match.
Just to give you an idea of the situation following reconstitution in the LA schools, the number of governor posts fell from 1468 to 1389 and at the beginning of term there were 197 vacancies, of which 89 were co-opted posts.
Other issues to highlight this term are:
Stockport Family - this project is moving quickly. We plan to hold a workshop on it either next term, or in the summer. In the meantime, details can be found on learning leads ( Stockport Family Slides - from Autumn 2015 Briefing Available to download). You will need to log in and go to the Governor Development section and the slides are in ‘Training Materials’
Tootoot- This is a safeguarding reporting tool for pupils, staff and parents and all schools are eligible for a free trial. Details can be found at https://tootoot.co.uk and training and demos at
Finally, just to flag up an issue that we are going to be facing over the coming years. If you are involved in the primary sector, then you will be aware of the primary place pressure over the last few years. Whilst this may have plateaued, there will still be hot spots for a number of years to come. However, the next big hurdle we face is the secondary sector. There are currently 3060 secondary places in Stockport and it is estimated that there will be a shortfall of 1750 places by 2020. The LA is holding talks with the secondary sector this term, with one of the issues being discussed the possibility to increase PANS.
There is also a plan to open a secondary free school in Cheadle Hulme. Please ensure that your governing body adds this issue to its agenda now and make sure that you are kept in the loop as far as any discussions that take place regarding this.
Please do take a look at the governor recruitment section and feed-back any ideas to improve on what we are doing.
Become a GOVAS Management Committee Member - we are a happy and contented bunch, but we could do with a few more friends. We meet three, or four, times a year, usually at the Town Hall. Our main visible event is the conference, but we also meet with council officers once a term and represent governors on a number of committees and we are looking to establish workshops/seminars to complement the LA training programme. To join the management committee, you do not need to have been a governor for over ten years, have a beard, or wear sandals. You do not need to be a Chair of governors, or even aspire to be. We just want governors who are prepared to give up a bit more of their time; to provide a fresh outlook; and to be able to speak up for governors within and outside of Stockport. Please contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org