National Leaders of Governance or “NLGs” are highly effective chairs of school and academy governing boards who are designated by the National College for Teaching and Leadership to provide support to chairs of governors in other schools. There are currently thirty NLGs designated in the Greater Manchester sub region, with three based in Stockport (Stu Foster, Charles Nevin and Andy Kent). Having an NLG “deployed” to your governing body is usually free of charge, as NLGs are as a condition of their designation expected to be available for deployments with no charge for delivery for five working days in total per year. Time spent beyond this may be chargeable; this is entirely a matter for discussion and agreement between the school or other commissioner and the NLG. NLGs can provide support in several different ways.
Further information on NLGs in Greater Manchester may be found on the Greater Manchester Learning Partnership (GMLP) website at www.gmlp.org.uk and via the links below.
What is a National Leader of Governance Deployment?
An NLG is deployed into a school to provide support for its chair of governors. This support can take different forms depending on the circumstances of the school. Examples of deployments are as follows:
Improving school performance:
- Supporting the chair to focus more closely on raising standards and leading improvement
- Helping the chair to understand and interpret strategic school/academy data
Supporting the relationship between headteacher and chair:
- Coaching a chair in developing solutions to identified problems or in providing more effective challenge to senior leaders
- Helping the chair establish and develop an effective professional relationship with the headteacher/principal
Skills and understanding of governance
- Helping the chair to better evaluate their own performance and develop their leadership, effectiveness and confidence
- Supporting a new or recently appointed chair
- Observing a governing body meeting and providing advice to the chair on procedures, protocols and behaviours
- Helping the chair identify priorities for governing body development and draw up an action plan
- Mentoring a chair to provide support through a process, for example relating to complaints or staffing related issues
- Providing expertise to help with an aspect of a GB’s work
- Signposting or brokering additional training and support
- Facilitating a board self-review or undertaking an external review of governance
- Supporting aspects of federation or academy conversion
A review of governance is a deployment and is usually charged for. Reviews of governance may be recommended following an Ofsted inspection or commissioned by a school as part of their own cycle of self-evaluation and development planning. Any arrangements for paid for work are between the school and the individual NLG.
How do I request a NLG Deployment?
NLG deployments are typically commissioned by individual boards and trusts, Local Authorities, and Diocesan Bodies schools. Commissioners may contact individual NLGs direct, or seek signposting support via the NCTL, or teaching schools or the Greater Manchester NLG advocate, appointed by the North-West Teaching School Council. One of the recently agreed priorities for the newly reappointed advocate is to develop the local and sub regional brokerage model for NLGs
External Reviews of Governance
The Ofsted School Inspection Framework allows for the inspection report to include a recommendation for an external review of governance. Recommendations for such reviews are almost always made when a school is judged as requiring improvement or placed in an Ofsted category.
Sometimes governing bodies choose to commission an external review when they haven’t received such a recommendation because they want to evaluate their effectiveness. For some schools this is part of their preparation for an Ofsted inspection, but in any case, all schools are encouraged to periodically review the effectiveness of their governance, just as they will for all other aspects of school systems and performance.
What is an External Review of Governance?
The Department for Education has published guidance about reviews: external reviews of governance: what’s involved . The exact details however will vary, depending on who is commissioned to conduct the review and what is agreed between them and the individual school. Charges will also vary, but the DfE guidance suggests costs are likely to be between £1000 and £1500.
Who Can Conduct a Review of Governance?
The DfE guidance states: “we recommend that reviews are conducted by those with recent successful experience of leading governance and school improvement.” Many, but not all NLGs, have been trained by the NCTL to undertake reviews and are experienced in this work. The profiles of Greater Manchester NLGs indicate those who do undertake reviews. It is likely in most cases this will be chargeable, but this is a matter for individual NLGs. Charges will vary; DfE guidance is that they are likely to range from £1000- £1500).
Andy Kent (Greater Manchester NLG advocate)